Apple Pie Filling

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Tuesday was (technically) my first official day off from my previous job, and the first day for me working on the Farm! Yes, I’ll be back and forth for a while as we’re transitioning, but the day was exciting none the less!

Rj and I celebrated by making and canning Apple Pie Filling from the still 3/4 full lug of Golden Delicious apples we had from the last FFA fundraiser.

Canning Apple Pie Filling with Zurcher Farms: Tips & Tricks -Recipe included!

Our recipe was pretty easy. We modified it from the one found here. Though I admit a different type of apple would have probably been better, we used what we had. I reduced the amount of sugar because of the super sweetness of these apples. This filling was (in my opinion) not too sweet with the perfect amount of cinnamon. We will definitely use it again, perhaps with pears next time, and blows the store-bought apple pie filling out of the water. The recipe can also be frozen, but the texture of the apples suffers.

Step 1. Clean your kitchen. Seriously. Don’t follow my example, we dove in head first with no real planning, or more accurately I came home to Rj peeling apples with a recipe pulled up on the tablet. Don’t let the photos fool you, I had to creatively position my camera so you didn’t see all the dishes, mail, and folded laundry on my counters. (We currently have six kids under 7 (2 bio, 4 fosters) in our home. Don’t judge.)

Step 2. Get your canning stuff out. (See list below for must haves.) Start water boiling for processing and wash your jars and lids. We boiled our jars for 15 minutes, then moved them to a preheated oven at 215 degrees to sterilize and keep warm, but some people simply put their clean jars in the oven and skip the boiling step. You MUST have your jars warmed before you fill them and put them in your canner, otherwise your jars might explode – and who wants to clean that up?

Step 3. While the jars are cooking and water is getting hot, peel your apples. Rj started out with a potato peeler, but I thought just using a knife was quickest- to each their own. (Or if you have an apple peeler/corer like this Johnny Apple Peeler by VICTORIO VKP1010, Cast Iron, Suction Base” target=”_blank”>one, you will fly through these steps a lot faster than me!)

After your apple is peeled, either slice up the apple manually like I did, or check out this awesome multi-purpose Easy Grip Apple Slicer/corer Mango and Potato Slicer for Home Made French Fries Complete Bundle with Garlic Crusher Much Easier Than a Press” target=”_blank”>apple slicer. If you are going the manual route, I recommend looking at this how-to article, it has revolutionized how I slice! (who knows –  you could be doing it wrong your whole life!) We sliced the apples about 1/2in thick.

Peeling Apples and Sterilizing Jars

Step 4. Fill a pot with your water (we doubled this recipe), sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch. Mix well and start to heat. After it gets a little warm, stir constantly. It WILL burn as it thickens. Once its at a roiling boil, cook for one minute, then remove from heat. At this time you can add your lemon juice, or Fruit Fresh (citric acid).

Step 5. Put your lids is a small pan of water and put on high heat to bring to a boil.

Step 6. Pull your jars out of the oven (it helps to have them on a baking sheet) and stuff with the raw apple slices. DO NOT fill too full. They need to be below the lip. Not at. BELOW. Our first batch expanded too much and didn’t seal. I’m kind of worried my first batch of apples may be a little mushy because I had to process them twice now.

Step 7. Ladle the hot mixture into your jars with a funnel. Use a spoon handle or knife to get rid of any air pockets and get the sauce all the way to the bottom of the jar. Do not fill too full. This seriously is worth repeating.

Step 8. Once full, wipe the rim of your jars with a damp clean cloth, then dip your finger in some water and wipe it along the rim to double-check for any particles that may prevent a good seal. Take a lid out of the boiling water, place on the jar, and screw on the ring, finger tight.

Step 9. Put the jars in your water bath and add more water until the whole jar is covered. Turn up the heat until the whole thing comes to a roiling boil. Then set your timer for 20 minutes. (If you start your timer from when you place your jars in the canner, the food will not reach the right temperature and could spoil.)

Step 10. Take your jars out of the bath and set out to cool. Resist moving them around a lot or even wiping them down if your hard water left a foggy film on the glass at first, this will wash off later. Moving them at this point can jeopardize the seal. Also, don’t set your hot jars directly on your countertops if you have formica. It can make your countertops bubble.

Apple Pie Filling
Finished Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling Recipe:

  • 6lbs Apples (peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 thick pieces)
  • 4 1/2 cups Sugar (we used closer to 4 and it was plenty sweet)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1o cups water
  • 3 tbls Lemon juice OR 10 tsp of Ball Fruit Fresh Produce Protector 5oz (Pack of 1)” target=”_blank”>Fruit Fresh (we used the fruit fresh)
  • 3 Drops yellow food coloring (We did NOT add this. I happen to be incredibly allergic to red and yellow dyes – which is a subject for a whole other post… adult onset allergies, who knew?)

Recipe states that it makes 6 quarts, however we doubled this recipe for a 3/4 full canner. Our apples to sauce ratio was a little higher, which was fine with us. We ended up with about 14 quarts worth in the end. Don’t feel you have to triple the recipe if you’re on the border between 1 to 2 batches or 2 to 3. You can stretch the sauce for probably another half batch worth of jars if you pack them tightly full of apples.

If you’re just starting out canning, I would recommend the following items:

  • Quart or Pint Ball Mason Regular Mouth Quart Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12” target=”_blank”>Jars (any brand is fine – can usually find at most stores)
  • Lids and Bands to fit (either wide mouth or regular, bands are reusable)
  • This Tool Set really makes the job easier!
  • Canner(s)
  • Or just get it all at once in this kit
  • And this thing is definitely not required, but awesome. Once you’ve canned awhile you’ll understand why. It’s such a pain to get the lids apart when they’re boiling.

Happy Canning!

Our goats really enjoyed all the apple peelings and cores! It was a nice winter treat!


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– Nicole

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