My apples are from a local apple orchard but I am excited that I finally planted a couple of apple trees this year so, hopefully, I will have apples of my own in a few short years.
I’ve been told by the people that own the apple orchard, that mixing more than one variety of apple together for cooking makes for the best flavor. So that’s what I do.
This year, Jonathon, Lurared, and an unknown red apple from my neighbor is what’s in the mix.
What ever apple you use for pie filling, just be sure it holds it’s shape when cooked so you don’t end up with applesauce.
Usually, it takes about one quart of apple pie filling to make an eight or nine inch pie. I usually put mine in pint sized jars though only so that I can use it to make crisps or cobblers and have the option of adding other things like frozen berries that I have from my garden as well.
Additionally, I no longer have a houseful of people living with me so, if I just want to make a small recipe, I can easily do that without wasting half a jar of filling.
Imagine the possibilities! Apple pie (2 crust, one crust, or crumble topped), apple crisp, apple galette, apple sundae, drizzled with caramel sauce . . . it really is endless!
So here it goes . . .
First, you will want to prepare your canning equipment if you are planning to can your filling instead of freezing it. A hot water bath should be started so it will be boiling by the time you finish cooking the apples.
Also, make sure your jars are sterilized and lids are in a pan of hot, but not boiling, water.
To make the filling:
Peel and core 12 pounds of apples. Then cut them into slices. Some people use a peeler/corer for this. When it comes to apple pie filling, I like my slices a little thicker. I feel they stand up better to the cooking and canning process, and hold their shape better.
But each to his own on that one.
I do use the peeler/corer, but I only use the peeler part of it, then cut and core them myself.
You can put the apples in a bowl of cold water with lemon or ascorbic acid if you like to keep the apples from browning while you peel them. But, I only do that if I’m doing more than one batch of this.
You will need either a really big stock pot or divide the apples into 2 pans to cook, which is what I do. It’s just easier to work with a smaller amount.
Mix together 4 cups of sugar (I have been using organic sugar but you can use white sugar, brown sugar, or a mixture of the two), with 1/2 cup flour, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This will draw out some of the moisture from the apples before you start the cooking process.
Add 1 cup cold water and bring to a boil. Cook for about a minute.
Add the juice of 2 lemons and bring to a boil again bringing the temperature of the apple mixture to at least 190 degrees.
Then start filling your jars. I use pint jars but quart sized jars can be used as well.
Leave about an inch headspace, run a knife around the inside of the jar to force out air bubbles, wipe the rim with a clean, wet cloth, and top with lids and rings.
Place the jars in the hot water bath and process for 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts. Start timing after the water returns to boiling.
Remove and let sit till cooled and sealed. The lids should not flex in and out when pressed with a finger. If your jars do not seal you can reprocess with new lids or refrigerate and use within a few days.
If you choose to freeze this instead, just put the filling into freezer containers in the desired amounts, squeeze as much air out as possible, and freeze.
I’ve made this both ways and both are delicious!
Apple Pie Filling For Canning Or Freezing
- 12 pounds of cooking apples peeled, cored, and sliced into thick slices
- 4 cups organic sugar (white or brown or a mixture of both works too)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup cold water
- the juice from 2 lemons (to make 6 Tbsp)
Prepare the apples and place in a large stock pot or divide all ingredients into 2 separate pans for more manageable amounts.
Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together pour over the apples. Stir to mix.
Let sit for about 30 minutes for juice to release from the apples.
Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil and cook for about a minute.
Add lemon juice and return to a boil and cook till it reaches 190 degrees.
Fill sterile jars leaving 1 inch head space. Run a knife around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe rim of jars with a clean damp cloth and top with lids and rings that have been in a pan of hot, but not boiling, water.
Process in a hot water bath 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts. This recipe will make 11 or 12 pints of filling.
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