Country Living Series

Monday, July 6, 2009

Canning apples

Skip this post if the domestic arts bore you, 'cuz it's all about canning apples.



Someone gave us a box of apples. I could either make pie filling or applesauce. I went for pie filling.



It was a hideously hot day for canning, but (ahem) federal regulations require that the ambient temperature be at least ninety degrees before you're allowed to can, in order to maximize the discomfort in the kitchen.

I started by washing some quart jars. Wasn't sure how many I'd need so I washed a dozen. And yes, you can use old mayonnaise jars (second from right, front row).



Out came the handy-dandy apple peeler. This baby will peel and core an apple in about twenty seconds. That includes the time it takes me to retrieve an apple out of the box at the beginning, and removing the core from the peeler's prongs at the end (I looked at the clock).



The result are "apple slinkies," as my kids call them.



Next, blanche the apples (dip them in boiling water for a minute or so), then drop them in to a pot of cold water with a little lemon juice added to keep them from browning.



Cores and peels. Wish we had pigs, as they'd love this stuff. The chickens are still too young to handle it. As it is, it all went into the compost pile.



Next, the "sauce" part of the pie filling, made with sugar, corn starch, apple juice, and spices. Cook until it thickens.



Drain the apples and pour the sauce over them, then fill the jars with a wide-mouth funnel.



I used up about half the box of apples and got eight quarts of pie filling. For apples, I can use a boiling-bath canner.

Frustratingly, my biggest pot only held seven jars, so I split the eight jars between my two smaller pots.



Oh yeah, don't forget to do the dishes while the pie filling is processing.



To make a pie, roll out a crust, pop open a jar of pie filling, pour it into the pie crust, and bake. Voila. Wonderful on a cold winter's day.



I'll finish processing the rest of the apples later.

44 comments:

  1. I have the same dandy apple peeler/corer, and the kids fight over who gets to turn it!

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  2. Yum! Now I have something else I can do with all the apples we pick in the fall. Would you be willing to share the sauce recipe? I'm one of those people that if I don't have exact measurements, i may just put 1/3 cup of baking powder in the cookies.

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  3. The filling for the apples consists of:
    5 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups cornstarch
    1 T cinnamon
    1 t nutmeg (optional)
    2 1/2 cups cold water or apple juice (I use juice)
    5 cups apple juice

    Cook and stir until mixture thickens. This makes enough filling for about eight quarts of apples. The processing time is 30 minutes boiling-bath.

    - Patrice

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    Replies
    1. I see here that it says boil apples for 30 min but it doesn't say nothing about that at the top. Just put the apples in boiling hot water for a few seconds and dip in cold water. So wondering which one?

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    2. The boiling bath is referring to the hot water bath you put the filled jars into after you've made the filling.
      -Make filling
      -Fill jars.
      -Seal jars.
      -Process in a hot water bath (in a canner) for 30 minutes
      -Check seals when cool.

      Delete
  4. Rebel ConservativeJuly 9, 2009 at 6:51 AM

    Federal regulations prevent you canning fruit at home unless it meets a certain temperature??? Seriously...?

    I love the blog and your WND column Patrice :)

    Best wishes from the UK.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You can make jelly from the apple peels (and cores), too - I can't find my recipe right now, but 3 different ones came up when I googled "apple peel recipe". We've also eaten the peels as "applesghetti" with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top then warmed in the microwave or oven-the kids like it and it's a bit healthier than storebought snack food (ha).
    Christa

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  6. Wow, I was so happy to find this recipe! Do you have any more canning recipe posts and if so, how do I find them on your blog?

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  7. I accidentally used to much cinnamon and nutmeg. Six months later I found a jar that wasn't sealed properly. Opened it, and the apple pie filling was perfect. Turns out cinnamon, nutmeg and the rest are perfect preservatives, anti-bacterial, anti-fungi, anti-inflamitory, anti-bochalism, anti everything. No I didn't use the can of apples, but I did want to take them into the univ for testing out of curiousity.

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  8. Hey I just came across your post. Its apple season here in MD and we have a rear-end load of apples we are going to attempt to can. I've been doing some reading and some of them have you cooking the apples for a bit prior to the canning. I like that you blanched yours. Do you think it makes any difference? Also do you change you cooking time for the pie at all or just wing it? Thanks

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  9. For "intentscamping":

    I've never cooked my apples before canning, but blanching helps them keep their whiteness (especially since there is a delay after peeling, when they start to turn brown). Blanch to whiten the apples, then spritz some lemon juice to keep them white(ish) until you can them.

    I don't change the cooking time for the pies at all.

    Happy canning!

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  10. Hi Patricia! thanx sooo much this info.. quick question.. the filling recipe says:

    2 1/2 cups cold water or apple juice (I use juice)
    5 cups apple juice

    so? actually, you're using 7 1/2 cups of juice w/the rest of the ingredients

    Blessings to you and yours!
    Cheryl

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  11. Thanks so much for the help. I use the cores and peelings to make jelly. Place in crockpot for 8 or so hours on high and let them use the liquid and sure jelly to make so fine jelly. Add favoring or cinnamon to your liking.
    Thanks again.

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  12. Is it possible to use something other than corn-starch? Like flour maybe? Just checking, because I can buy cornstarch, but I can't make it myself and I just love to be able to make it all myself, know what I mean?

    Thanks for all your many inspiring "how-to" posts. It makes it so much less intimidating for me.

    Gracie Wray

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  13. Gracie, any thickener should work for making pies, but I'm not sure about canning pie filling using flour as a thickener. I'm not saying it **won't** work, I'm just saying I have no experience with it. The advantage of cornstarch is it dissolves thoroughly and doesn't make lumps, as with flour. The advantage of flour, as you point out, is we can grow/make it ourselves.

    An alternative is just to can sliced apples in syrup, and then when you want to make a pie, drain the apples and just make a pie as you would with fresh apples, i.e. mix the slices with a bit of flour, sugar, cinnamon, etc.

    - Patrice

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    Replies
    1. I don't use flour OR cornstarch- they are not stable with canning and the results can be runny,gloppy or lumpy (see http://www.food.com/bb/viewtopic.zsp?t=344364). You can use clearjel, or other modified corn starches. They are kind of expensive, and the use isn't necessary. I can without any thickeners. When I bake the pie, I add a little tapioca to the bottom crust, or mix it into the fruit.

      Delete
  14. how long & at what temp do you bake the pie?

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  15. 375F. Put foil on the edges and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until done. Before baking and putting the foil on, I like to lightly brush to pie dough with milk - it seems to help brown the crust nicely.

    - Patrice

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  16. Please reconsider canning apples this way. Using cornstarch in home canning is not recommended by the USDA. You may have been canning apples this way for many years without bad results, but your readers need to know that there are risks involved. Botulism should not be taken lightly. Please go online and do some research, then decide if you can live with the risks. Thank you.

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  17. For Anonymous above: ClearJel has corn starch in it. As I understand it, it's not a safety issue, it's an aesthetic one, as normal cornstarch can separate over time. We always eat up our apple pie filling within the year anyway so it has not been an issue.

    The sky is not falling. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, Anonymous--Nov 12th has a point. According to recent expert opinion, cornstarch is a problem in canning.

      http://www1.extension.umn.edu/food-safety/preserving/fruits/canning-apple-pie-filling/ page dated 2011

      It says there is a spoilage risk due to problematic heat transfer (from the thick product) when using products other than ClearJel to thicken canned items. ClearJel is pretty special sounding. It is described at http://www.pickyourown.org/ClearJel.htm

      When it's available in my area, I'm going to snag some as it sounds interesting (note: there are two kinds, canning uses the Regular type, not the Instant.)

      Me? I think I'm going to try this recipe. I'll halve it and make a pie to eat and one or two for the freezer.

      Thanks for your work here. I appreciate your efforts. I'll be back to see what else looks tasty another day.

      Delete
    2. Oops- responded too early. I replied above re the cornstarch vs clearjel. Clearjel is not widely available in stores, but is online. Just not worth it IMHO, and I say this with about 2 cups left unused in my pantry.

      Delete
  18. I just tried canning your apple pie filling recipe with fresh Michigan apples. My jars look fabulous - thanks for the sauce recipe - that helped a bunch. Great idea. I can hardly wait to see more of your canning recipes.
    Also bought 2 of your simplicity books (one for a friend. great web site.

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  19. Thanks, Denise! Glad the pie filling worked well. One thing I should have mentioned is a little spritz of lemon juice over the blanched apples will keep them from turning brown. Happy canning!

    - Patrice

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  20. I was just wondering how many apples (about) to make your 8 jars of filling ? Iam new at this and dont have a clue on how many to peel. Thank you !
    Tammy

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  21. Tammy, a rule of thumb is about four apples will fit in a quart jar. Obviously it will depend on how big the apples are as well as how tightly you pack the jars, but that estimate seems to work well. So for eight jars of filling, I'll peel about 32 apples.

    - Patrice

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  22. My friend and I used this recipe, and I have had multiple people tell me it was the best applie pie they have ever had! I will use this recipe everytime...thanks!

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  23. Thanks, Jessie. I agree, it makes for a wonderful pie filling. Wish I could take credit for inventing the recipe, but I can't -- it was an ag extension recipe I picked up years ago when we lived in Oregon. Credit goes to them.

    - Patrice

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  24. I know this is an old post, but what type of apples did you use?

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    Replies
    1. I believe they were Galas, but not sure. Most any crisp apple can be used in canning. Apples like Red or Yellow Delicious don't give good results because they're too soft.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  25. Hi--writing to you today from Penguin, Tasmania, Australia. . .I spent the afternoon coring and peeling apples I 'borrowed' from the neighbour's (she said I could!) using the nifty corer/peeler/slicer tool (I've had it 15 years, and it's the first time I've really used it!), and as I write this I have 6 litre jars cooking in the water bath. I think it would be good to add the cooking time to the actual recipe you've written at the top (I found your cooking time, but only after scrolling down thru comments for awhile!) In terms of mistakes I made, I think I cooked the sauce too long, so the volume reduced significantly and it became very thick. I should have turned off the sauce right away. Easily remedied by adding more apple juice and stirring for awhile to blend it into the thick sauce. Can't wait to see how it turns out! I loved the idea of doing pie filling instead of applesauce. Applesauce is so. . . . pedestrian. . . . but apple pie is so decadent and yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome, Marji! It always astounds me how we can communicate with people from so far away via the internet.

      Ironically this post was put up when my blog was still fairly new and I didn't have too many readers. I had no idea how popular canning apple pie filling would be! I know more about blogging now, and try to include necessary info, such as processing time, whenever I put up a post about canning.

      Glad your pie filling turned out successfully. I just love the stuff, personally.

      - Patrice

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  26. I had some of the sauce left over. I put the apples in the jars first and then added the sauce (didn't read the directions very well). Anyways, can I refrigerate the left over sauce and heat it up to use again??
    Thanks so much for the recipe!!

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    Replies
    1. Putting the apples in the jar first shouldn't be a problem, so don't worry about it. And yes, it's fine to refrigerate the leftover sauce and heat it up for next time.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  27. If I were to use a pressure canner what instructions or processing times should I use?

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  28. If I am using a pressure canner how long should I process the jars?

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    Replies
    1. Dan, while theoretically it's possible to process apples in a pressure canner, it really isn’t necessary.

      The whole idea of canning is to preserve food in an *edible* state. Over-processing something, such as putting fruit in a pressure-canner, will certainly preserve it; however it will render the food so mushy and unappetizing that it could be considered unpalatable.

      Apples, like most fruits, are high in acid but fragile in structure. Applying high pressure will break down the fruit into mush. However fruit and other high-acid foods will preserve beautifully with a water-bath, as long as proper guidelines are followed.

      At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have some inexpensive canning ebooklets available at this link...

      http://selfsufficiencyseries.com/

      ...that should answer almost any canning question.

      - Patrice

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  29. 5 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes. both pints and quarts.

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  30. When I have all those peelings and cores I put them in water and cook then strain for apple juice to make apple jelly.

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  31. I made 2 batches today and used my juicer to juice the cores and replaced some of the water wit it. I also cut down my liquid to 8 cups as my apples were freshly picked and extra juicy. Turned out nicely.

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  32. I made 2 batches today and used my juicer to juice the cores and replaced some of the water wit it. I also cut down my liquid to 8 cups as my apples were freshly picked and extra juicy. Turned out nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  33. onebirdiema@verizon.netDecember 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Hi! I AGREE 100% about the federal regulation for conditions for canning being as uncomfortable as possible. Temp is only one way! How about crowded kitchen b/c of four or five other canning projects underway? Besides the 'humor' the recipe is close to something I'm looking for, and I'm impressed by your website. I live in suburban small holding hell just outside of Washington DC and wish I had more -- space! End of complaints. Must go put up apples! Rede Batcheller, Alexandria, VA

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  34. May I add your Blog about canning Apples I am posting a free recipe for Strawberry Apple Butter and I think your blog might be helpful in canning this apple butter. Post me back a response asap if you could Thanks!
    Dawn:)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and thank you for asking first. If you send me a link when you post, I'll cross-link to your blog.

      - Patrice

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