Monday, October 24, 2011

Canning: Apple Pie Filling

I love keeping this apple pie filling on hand. It's just so easy to whip up a last minute dessert if you keep a stash of pie shells/dough in the freezer.

This is what we canned this year.
I also like giving this, along with a ziploc baggie of crumb topping (minus the butter of course) as a gift.

Apple Pie Filling
Peel and slice enough cooking apples to fill 7 quart jars.
I like Granny Smiths, but if you have a favorite cooking apple, feel free to try that.

1 stick butter*
6c. sugar
1c cornstarch
1/2tsp allspice
3tsp cinnamon
8c. water

Bring to a good boil, stirring constantly. It will be very thick.
Feel free to taste and adjust the spices as you wish. I add a few dashes each of apple pie spice and ground mace.

Pack your apples in clean, hot quart jars. Fill well, but only pack them to the neck of the jar. I prefer to use the wide mouth jars for this because it's easier to get a small spatula in there to remove the air bubbles. Pour syrup over apples, making sure it's gets all the way to the bottom (I actually start with a little of the syrup in the bottom - it just makes it easier). Remove air pockets as you go. Leave 1/2" headspace, wipe rims, fit on lids and rings, and process for 20 min. in a water bath canner after the water reaches a full, rolling boil.

A couple of things to keep in mind.
1) These are not complete canning instructions, so if you're new to it, check out basic steps before attempting this recipe.
2) I know - the syrup will boil out from under the lids after you pull them out of the canner and you'll have a mess on the towel and counter. Do not try to use less syrup the next time in order to keep this from happening. The 1/2" of headspace is very important for developing a good seal. If you fill the jars with less, they will not seal properly and you'll be left with a bunch of pie filling that will need to be re-processed. You may not figure out the seal is bad until a jar or two pops its seal later on in the cabinet. Yes - I know this from experience so trust me, fill to that 1/2" headspace. You can clean the outside of the jars, and anything they came in contact with the next day, once the jars have cooled down.

1 quart jar will make a standard pie. It will seem a little skimpy for a deep dish pie shell, but you can fill in a bit with some extra crumb topping if that's the only size pie shell you have on hand.

*Please read the comments, as I received a very good question with regard to the butter in this recipe.
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  1. First let me tell you what a lovely blog you have here!
    Now, I have a question. Is it safe to can these and only water bath process them since the syrup includes butter? I thought that if something included any fats, that it had to be pressure canned in order to avoid botulism. I have in the past just froze apple pie filling but would love love love to can it instead!

  2. Hi Kelly! Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for the compliment. I have to give all the credit to my lovely daughter Ri, who designs the blog for me.
    Now, to your question.
    I'll start by stating that I'm not an expert by any means, and recommendations my have changed since this recipe was originally printed. I got it from a friend. It was one of the recipes in the book that came with her canner. While her canner is not the newest on the market, it's not all that old either.
    We both use this recipe all the time and have never had a problem as long as we get the headspace right. I have had jars fail to seal if I left too much headspace. I will also add that the filling does separate over time, but we just give it a good stir, cook as usual, and we've never had a problem.
    If you are concerned about it, you could probably leave the butter out.
    I hope this helps.

  3. I did a quick check and what I found was that low acid foods like vegetables, beef, poultry, and seafood require pressure canning. High acid foods like fruit do not. I knew this already, but was trying to find out something specific about fats.
    Though dairy foods fall into the low acid food group, I don't know whether or not the amount of butter in this recipe would cause a problem. There is a stick of butter, but it's spread over 7 quarts, making it equivalent to roughly 1/2 an ounce (about 3tsp) butter per jar.
    I couldn't find anything that directly said fats in general required pressure canning, though most fat containing foods, like meat, would because the meat is low acid.
    You'll have to make a judgement call on this one. I'll probably continue using this recipe, but if you have any concerns, please feel free to try it without the butter.

  4. These look great! I have made canned apple pie filling not with butter but with corn starch and it is wonderful!

  5. Thank you Becky! I will be giving the recipe (as well as the Strawberry applesauce) a try this week. We have our 2nd bushel of apples that need to be processed. We already put up some regular applesauce and apple jellies (the jellies are made from the scraps, so now onto some more fun apple canning recipes! I think I am going to try some peach and blueberry applesauce as well as the strawberry by request of the children.

  6. Thank you Karen.

    Your welcome Kelly. I hope I helped.
    The blueberry idea sounds great. We sometimes put frozen blueberries in applesauce as a dessert or with breakfast, so this may be right up our alley.

  7. Oh Yum! Thanks for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

    1. You're very welcome. I love looking through your hop.