Canning Apple Pie Filling

I’ve posted the recipe before, you can find it at the bottom of this post.  I have some helpful tidbits to add now that I’ve been making it for a few years.  Stick with me here, canning pie filling is not as complicated as I probably make it sound.  Here’s what I wish I had known:

  • This year I bought a peck of apples and it made exactly 7 quarts.
  • The original recipe yields 7 pints.  So double it for enough sauce for 7 quarts.
  • 1 quart makes a small (8 or maybe 9 inch) pie.  For a bigger pie you might prefer 1 quart + 1 pint.
  • Based on the size pies you want, use the appropriate size jars. I.E. I can all quarts because I don’t like wasting lids or time processing and I don’t have big pie plates.  I process them longer than the 25 minutes called for, more like 35 minutes just to be safe.
  • I used pasteurized apple cider this year in place of apple juice. De-li-cious.
  • The key is to heat the apples all the way through. If you don’t do this they will shrink during processing and you will have a few apples at the top of the jar with way too much sauce.  To ensure the apples are heated through I do things differently than the book says.  Heating the apples takes the longest so I do that first.  Bring a big (i.e. wide) pot of water to boil.  Put a few cups of apples in at a time.  When they look somewhat translucent and cooked through scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a covered bowl to keep warm.  If you aren’t sure they’re cooked break one in half and check the middle.  Naturally, thinner slices heat through faster.  Once I’m in the swing of heating the apples I get the sauce mixture going.  It will take awhile to thicken and then all of a sudden it will be thick.  Use your best pot that doesn’t burn things easily and turn off the heat if it gets too thick.  When most of your apples are heated you can start dropping several cupfuls in the sauce.  Stir them around just enough to coat them, then use a slotted spoon or spaghetti spoon to scoop them out.  Let most of the sauce run off them back in to the pot, then transfer them to the jars.  When the jars are mostly full you can top off with a little sauce if you need to.  If your sauce is thick plenty of it will stick to the apples and spread out in the jar.
  • Any jars that don’t seal for me usually keep well in the fridge for several weeks.

Have you ever canned pie filling?  What kind?  Any tips to share?

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