My family loves apple pie, but itâ€™s rather time-consuming to make and to be honest, I donâ€™t really enjoy peeling apples. Thatâ€™s the biggest reason I like canning apple pie fillingâ€”once itâ€™s made, we can simply pull out a jar to make a quick, no-fuss homemade pie. With a colorful piece of calico or ribbon tied around the lid, a jar of pie filling also makes a lovely little gift.
As with other home-canned foods, our homemade apple pie filling combines the convenience of canned food with the security of knowing that itâ€™s made with fresh, local ingredients and without the chemical additives and corn syrup we try to avoid. Itâ€™s usually cheaper than the supermarket version too, and can be easily adjusted to meet special dietary needs.
Thatâ€™s why, when a friend gave us some apples from their tree this week, our family spent an evening making a batch of pie filling. The younger kids got a kick out of cranking the apple peeler with my husbandâ€™s helpâ€”these gadgets are great timesavers when doing quantities of apples. The older kids washed and chopped the apples while I whipped up the sauce.
We used a recipe from Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything by Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer. Iâ€™ve enjoyed trying new recipes in this cookbook the past couple of yearsâ€”they are clear and easy to follow and the color photos are very helpful.
Apple Pie Filling from Saving the Seasons
About 35 medium apples
9 Â½ cups / 2.25 L water
4 Â½ cups / 1.1 L sugar
1 cup / 250 ml Clear Jel or cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Â¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
Mix spices, Clear Jel and sugar in large saucepan and add water. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice, if desired. Slice apples directly into jars, adding layers of syrup as you fill each jar. This helps eliminate air pockets. Leave at least one inch headspace. Tighten lids and process 25 minutes in boiling water. Makes 7 quarts.
- If you prefer to freeze your pie filling, simply pour into freezer containers instead.
- The authors recommend tart, firm, juicy apples for making filling; softer apples will turn to mush. Some good options include Cortland, Jonathan, Rome, Winesap, Stayman, Golden Delicious and Grimes Golden.