Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Pie Filling

Recently I discovered how to can Apple Butter and how easy it really is. It did take a little trial and error but I will talk about that more on the Apple Butter post. However the canning portion of it was really easy. The other day I saw a recipe for Apple Pie Filling and thought that that would be something neat to make as well. My ultimate goal is to make some baskets of things for Christmas gifts that would include Apple Butter and now Apple Pie Filling.

Tacoma Boys down the road had Fuji Apples on sale for $.60lb! So I went in yesterday and picked up 22 lbs worth of apples. I should have taken a pic of them but since I hadn't planned on blogging about it, I didn't :/ I wasn't looking forward to slicing all of those apples with my little apple corer/cutter (I have a version of this: Apple Corer and Divider) as I still needed to be able to peel and that was going to take forever! Not to mention, that apple cutter REALLY doen't work all that well. I don't know if you've ever used one before but you shove it down to the counter but then have to flip it over and shove the pieces through to get it to cut the rest of the way. I usually end up cutting my fingers in the process. And it takes FOREVER.

I asked around on my JBLM Natural Mamas group on fb (I <3 these ladies) and a great gal (I feel old using that word but it seems to flow well) offered to have me come over and use her peeler and she'd help me out with it (a version of her awesome peeler: Back to Basics Apple and Potato Peeler). So I hung out and sliced apples over at her house while Gideon occupied himself playing with her kids' toys. Let me tell you something. That peeler is SO EASY to use! I will have to be getting myself one next year! She did tell me that she's heard the Pampered Chef one works even better though, so I will probably look into getting that one and spending the extra couple of bucks for it.

I went home with probably 5 gallon ziploc bags full of sliced apples! Yay! I threw the first bit in for apple butter and then started in on the pie filling.

By the way, I debated a lot on how I was going to do the pie filling because a lot of recipes called for cornstarch as the thickener however I also read that the USDA only recommends clear jel/ultra jel to be used as a thickener. I looked all over and couldn't find any so after some debate with Christina (she's the lady who let me use her apple slicer) I decided I would just go ahead and use cornstarch after all. It seems to be a popular thickener and obviously people aren't using clear jel often if it's so difficult to find. 

I also had a jar issue as I didn't want to spend a fortune on jars. Lowes has their canning supplies on sale for half off but of course our store is completely out. Actually he told me all of the stores in the area are out. I tried getting Walmart to price match but they were out of the Ball brand and wouldn't do it with the Kerr brand. By the time I figured all this out though I was out of quart jars and didn't have time or the desire to drive back to Walmart to buy their Kerr jars... So I just ended up using the 1 pint jars that I had on hand and i'll give away two at a time to people... Of course i've now run out of those too and still have apples left so I will be going to the store tomorrow to pick some more up.

So here's the recipes I was looking at Crunchy Meets Diva and Our Best Bites. For the most part I used the first recipe but I did end up using some apple juice in it as well as water. I also combined my spices and used the Cinnamon Blend from Pampered Chef that I had. I actually bought it awhile back at a random party I had gone to in Korea and didn't know if I would really use it much but now I use it in my Pumpkin Bread Recipe and now all of my Apple recipes. I will definitely be buying some more though 'cause i'm almost out!

I started my water so that my jars were nice and warm and mixed all of the dry ingredients, water and juice in another pan for the sauce.

I opted to cold pack (I think this is what it's called) my apples in the jar instead of mixing them into the sauce then adding them in the jar. If you look at the two recipes above, one was done one way, one was done another. I did however blanch about half of the apples just to see if I could tell the difference. When I started putting the apples in the jars, the blanched ones were a lot easier to stuff in there compared to the fresh cut ones. I stirred the sauce till it was thick and poured it into the jars (1 in headspace) tapped them, stuck a plastic stick in and rubbed it around, then put the lid on. I screwed the band on fingertip tightness then put them in a water bath canner for 20 min.

Me sneaking an apple

Water should not be boiling when you put jars in

Boil for 20 min with lid on

If you don't have one of these picker upper things, they're awesome. Get one

Pulled them out after 20 minutes then let them sit on the counter till they popped. It took a little bit but they should all be popped within an hour. 

Remember when I mentioned I blanched half the apples and put the other half in raw? Well I could tell a difference in the end. There was more apples in the jars that I blanched first and more juice in the jars that I put in raw apples. In the future, I will be blanching the apples cause you don't want too much juice.

This was the blanched apples - more apples

This was the raw apples - more juice


4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon P.C. Cinnamon Blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • juice from 1 lemon sliced
  • 6 pounds apples

1. In a lg pan mix sugar, cornstarch, spices, water and juice. Bring to a boil and cook until nice an bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
2. Sterilize jars, lids and rings and make sure they're warm when adding ingredients.
3. Peel, core and slice apples if you have not already done so.
4. Place apples in pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain into collander and leave sitting until ready to use.
5. Pack apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1 in. headspace.
6. Fill jars with juice and gently remove all air bubbles.
7. Place lids on jars and process in water bath canner for 20 minutes.
8. Remove and wait for pop!

If you're new to canning or making pie filling, good luck! Please share if you make them for gifts. I would love to see pics if you have them too!

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