Monday, August 19, 2013

Adventures in Canning: Homemade Apple Pie Filling

In preparation for a friend's wedding, I decided to try my hand at canning apple pie filling.  Having the filling ready to go will save me lots of time the week of the wedding when I'm making the pies.  Since we had an overabundance of apples from our trip to Stuckey Farm, I decided to double the recipe, so we'd have plenty of cinnamon apples on hand for Fall to use in pies, crisps, cobblers, and fruit braids.  Honestly, it was much less work to double the recipe now then to do all the work twice.  We ended up with 13 quart jars!  Now, I won't claim to be an expert at canning - in fact, I've only done it a few times.  But with a little help from Michael, it turned out just fine.  Here's how Mama makes it:

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients: (for a double batch)

- 9 c. sugar
- 2 c. cornstarch
- 3 T. cinnamon
- 1 t. nutmeg
- 1 T. + 1 t. salt
- 20 c. water, divided
- 1/4 c. + 2 T. lemon
- 12 lbs. apples


1.  Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water bath.  Water should cover about an inch above the tops of the jars.  (again, we are not experts - some sites I've read say if the product is processed for longer than 10 minutes you can skip this step.  We did it anyway.) When ready to fill, remove jars using tongs and set on paper towels.  Do not set on a cold surface or jars may break.

2.  Peel, slice, and core the apples.  I bought this handy dandy little gadget for about $20 and I can't even imagine how much time it has saved me. (read my product review here) Pack the sliced apples into the jars, leaving about 1" headspace.  Try to pack them in as tightly as possible so your pie will be full of fruit, not just filling.

one chop later they're in perfect slices!

3.  In a large stock pot, mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 16 c. water.  Heat over medium heat until almost boiling.  In a separate bowl, mix 4 c. water, starch, and lemon juice.  When the syrup is near boiling, pour starch mixture in the pot and whisk quickly.  When the white of the starch disappears, ladle over apples, leaving 1/2" headspace.  Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles (I've read that using metal can cause the jars to break).

I poured in the syrup, allowed apples to settle some,
then added a little more syrup to get to about 1/2" headspace

4.  Place lids and bands on the jars and process in covered water bath for 20 minutes, making sure water stays above the lids of the jars.  (be sure to remove some of the water used during sterilizing the jars.  I'm pretty sure we've forgotten to do this every time we've canned things.  You don't realize it until a few jars in, then it all spills over!).  Since we were making so many jars, we processed the cans in two batches. 

5.  Allow jars to cool overnight, then remove rings and wipe any excess off.  Any jars that haven't sealed all the way should be placed in the refrigerator and used first.  (Tragic, I know.  It's like forcing you to make some sort of apple deliciousness.)

how happy does this counter make you?!
(I left it there for a couple days until Michael decided
we should find a better spot to store them.)

If you love this recipe, check out Making Mama's Kitchen cookbook, now available for pre-sale!!


  1. Tried your Apple Pie Filling. We got exactly 14 quarts without a drop to spare. Made one Apple Crisp so far and we like it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. John, So glad to hear it worked out so well! We are loving it so far, too! I've made lots of pies, crisps, and cobblers. We are hoping to go pick apples again soon and make another batch. I think they'd make great holiday/hostess gifts.

  2. Is the 12 lbs of apples the amount of sliced apples or the raw apples.

  3. I've used this recipe two years in a row and it has turned out delicious both times. Thanks for posting it.

    1. Glad to hear it! I just love this recipe. The apple pies/cobblers always turned out so well, and it cuts down so much of the prep time later on.

  4. What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing! Just a question. What is the shelf life for these?

    1. As long as it seals properly, it should last about a year.