Look. I’m not saying mistakes weren’t made, I’m not saying we overbought fruit. What I am saying is I’m saying that I need more friends in Lancaster so I can go buy fruit throughout the summer and not have to pay hotel costs. Lancaster is about an hour and a half away from my house, so it’s not exactly close, but it is just far enough away that driving out there all the time for fruit might be considered “too much.” But all these apples are asking to be made into three amazing things, Apple Pie Filling, Apple Sauce, and Apple Butter. All of these are going into jars so I can enjoy them throughout the winter or use jars to barter for other craft items.
To make your life easier, I suggest ordering a really cool machine that peels and cuts it at the same time. This Peeler made my life so much better. It made everything look uniform and even. Also, my sister in law yelled at me because she has five (FIVE!) and I didn’t ask to borrow hers. How am I supposed to know she buys them at yardsales whenever she sees Pampered Chef stuff for cheap? Really? Who looks for things other than Toy Trains and Pyrex dishes at yard sales.
After you peel and slice the apples, drop them into a bowl or pot with water and lemon juice in it. You can use Ball Fresh Fruit but lemon juice works just well. This will prevent your apples from browning. Coldwater will keep them crisp until you’re ready to start working with them. If I’m not actively working on half of an apple, then I have it in a small bowl with cold lemon water. You do not need to do this, I just find it helps me keep my process going if there is a lot going on in the house.
I love the taste of apples with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. You can add allspice to this. I don’t because I don’t have it at my house usually. I have also used Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice instead of my own spice mix. For an extra kick, add cardamom to your spice mix. It just adds something unexpected.
Apple Cider can be replaced with apple juice or water. I find that apple cider adds more apple flavor, local cider is best. The time I used apple juice it was really sweet, this could have had sugar added, or I just forgot how sweet apple juice was. Both of these are possibilities. I don’t recommend using water, simply because there is nothing being added to it.
Finally, I use a mix of sugars for my apple pie filling. Brown sugar just adds something earthy to the mix that white sugar does not do. If you do not like brown sugar, use an equal amount of white sugar or maple syrup.
When making an apple pie fresh, I tend to use corn starch to thicken the pie filling. Sadly with canning, you cannot use corn starch. What you can use to thicken the pie filling is something called Clear Jel. When I first started making Apple Pie filling Clear Jel was only available by like 3 people on Amazon, none of them were prime and shipping was crazy. Now, everyone sells it through prime and it’s really easy to get. Make sure you order this. I have never seen this at the regular supermarket. I order it online once a year and only make that much filling.
To use Clear Jel, you mix it in with liquid, spices and sugar and cook it until thick. Once thick, fold in your apples.
Something important to note is that Apple Pie Filling will try to seep out of its jar if you fill it too high. It is super easy to get a false seal due to the stickiness of the filling. Before you put this in storage, make sure you take the ring off a mason jar and clean off any seepage and inspect the seal. The worst thing to happen is that apple pie is in your immediate future. Might I suggest apple crumbles?
If you are unfamiliar with canning, please stick to the standard mason jar lids and check out my Introduction to Canning tutorial.
Apple Pie Filling
- 10 cups peeled and sliced apples
- 4 cups Apple Cider
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice Bottled
- 3/4 cups Clear Jel
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Clove
- 1 teaspoon Cardamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger optional
- 1/2 teaspoon All Spice optional
- Cut, peel and core apples placing cut apples into lemon water while you work on all apples.
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and eight pint jars (or four quart jars)
- In a large pot, combine all dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients. Whisking well to incorporate while bringing it to a simmer. Stir to prevent burning on the bottom. Mixture will thicken as it cooks.
- When the filling is a smooth consistency add Apples and mix to combine.
- Leaving a 1 inch headspace on the jars, portion the apple pie filling into the jars.
- Wipe the rim of the jars before putting the lids on and moving to the water bath canner. Process for 20 minutes for pint jars and 25 minutes for quart jars.
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