Fall is the perfect time for a great apple pie and this canned apple pie filling recipe is perfect for any apple recipe! It’s easy to make, easy to preserve and tastes absolutely amazing!
Fall usually means a fantastic crop of apples and in my home that means one thing; canned apple pie filling! I love a good apple pie recipe (Six Dollar Family) and this homemade apple pie filling is the star of any apple pie.
Canned Apple Pie Filling Recipe
Canning apple pie filling is one of my favorite things to can. Okay, I love canning food period because it provides a great way to have fresh produce when it’s out of season, but ya’ll, there’s nothing better than popping the seal on a jar of sweet homemade canned apple pie filling.
Seriously. My mouth is watering just thinking about the apples I have in the pantry ready to can.
What Are the Best Apples for Canning?
Before you make this homemade canned apple pie filling, you’ll know to know both what the best apples for canning are and what the best apples for apple pie are.
The reason behind this is two fold; one so your apple pie filling tastes the best it can and two so it holds up after the canning process.
Unless you use a strong, firm apple, the canning process and the heat it places on the canned apple pie filling will cause them to soften too much so you end up with mush.
Mmmmm…apple pie flavored applesauce. Now there’s an idea.
For canning, the best apples for canning are Jonagold, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Gala. I tend to lean toward Gala as I love their flavor if I am simply canning apple slices.
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?
The key to a good apple pie filling is the apples you use. For the best pie, use a mix of sweet and tart apples when you make your canned apple pie filling recipe. Using a mix of sweet and tart apples will create a flavor depth that is out of this world!
There are a lot of varieties of apples but some of the best apples for apple pies are Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Jonagold and Braeburn.
See the crossover varieties in the best apples for canning and the best apples for apple pie? Those are the ones you will want to make this canned apple pie filling recipe with.
I personally prefer to use a mix of Gala and Granny Smith for canned apple pie filling.
What Do I Need to Make Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling?
Just like most canning recipes (Six Dollar Family), this canned apple pie filling requires a few tools and supplies. I recommend that you make this in wide mouth pint size (16 oz ) jars like THESE (Amazon) so you don’t risk waste from leftovers that won’t fit in your apple pie.
Although why you would waste goodness like this, I am not sure. Waste is bad. Eat all the pie filling!
You will also need a waterbath canner (Amazon) with a wire canning rack (Amazon), a large heavy bottom pot (Amazon), a large mixing bowl (Amazon), a slotted spoon and an apple peeler/corer like THIS (Amazon).
If you don’t already have one, you will need a couple of the tools found in THIS set of canning tools (Amazon) as well.
What is Blanching?
A lot of canning recipes (Six Dollar Family) require you to blanch the foods before you can them. If you’ve never canned before, you may be confused as to what blanching is.
The short answer is that blanching partially cooking the food so the taste, consistency and appearance keep their properties during the high heat of the canning process. It is especially important for helping food retain it’s normal color.
When you blanch food, you cook it in boiling water for the time specified and immediately remove it to plunge into an ice bath. The ice bath stops the cooking.
Clear Gel Vs. Sure Jel
This canned apple pie filling recipe uses Clear Gel to help thicken it instead of cornstarch. Recipes with cornstarch are not always safe to can. Clear Gel will help to thicken your apple pie filling while still being safe.
Be mindful that you don’t use Sure Jel. They are not the same product and your final product will not be the same. Sure Jel is common in stores, however, Clear Gel can be rather difficult at times. You can find Clear Gel HERE (Amazon) if you have trouble in stores.
How to Freeze Homemade Apple Pie Filling
While I prefer to make canned apple pie filling, not everyone does. The good news is for those folks, this apple pie filling recipe can be frozen as well.
To do so, scoop the pie filling into freezer bags while warm – not hot. Allow it to cool completely before freezing flat. It can be helpful to use freezer bag holders like THESE (Amazon) while you’re filling them so you don’t spill it everywhere.
If you have never used them, I highly recommend them. They’re one of the few items I consider a must-have items for freezer cooking (Six Dollar Family). They simply make life so much easier!
How to Make Canned Apple Pie Filling
To can your apple pie filling, wash your jars with hot, soapy water. Sterilizing the jars isn’t 100% necessary as they will be sterilized in the boiling water bath. However, it never hurts to play it safe with home canned food so if you want to do so, heat the jars and enough water to cover them in simmer water until you are ready for them.
It is a good idea to at least heat the jars a bit so you aren’t risking the jar shattering when you add hot food to it.
While the jars do not need to be specifically heated before hand, your lids and rings do. This is for a lot of reasons, but mainly so the rubber on the lid softens. Without softening the rubber, you may not get a proper seal on all your jars.
What is Headspace in a Canning Jar?
When you fill your canning jars with your apple pie filling, you’ll want to leave around 1/” headspace to each jar. Headspace is the space between the top of your food and the top of the jar. It is also incredibly important to pay attention to.
Overfilling your jar can lead to funky looking food, siphoning, failed seal or even false seals.
How Long Do I Process Canned Apple Pie Filling For?
Once your jars are ready, process them in a boiling water bath canner for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, allow the pot to slightly cool, remove the jars using THESE jar lifters (Amazon) and set each jar on a towel lined surface.
Do not disturb them for 24 hours. As they sit, the lids will complete the sealing process. Listen for the sound of the beautiful pings as they do!
After 24 hours, check that all your lids have sealed. To do this, remove the rings and grab each jar by the outer edge of the lid. – with a hand held under the jar to catch it if the lid comes off. If you have any failed seals, refrigerate immediately, freeze, use immediately or reprocess the jars.
Apple Pie Filling for Canning
- Water Bath Canner
- Canning Jars
- Canning Rings
- Canning Lids
- Apple Peeler and Corer
- Large heavy bottom pot
- Slotted Spoon
- Canning head space tool
- Jar Lifter
- Fill a large heavy bottom pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Peel, core and roughly chop apples. Add apples to boiling water and blanch 1 minute. Remove, drain and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, Clear Gel, nutmeg and cinnamon in a heavy bottom pot with the water and apple juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Add the lemon juice. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add in the apples, stir well and remove from heat.
- Fill jars immediately leaving 1" headspace. Tighten lids and rings to fingertip tight and process in a water bath canner 25 minutes – or adjust for altitude – for both quarts and pints.
- 0-1000 ft: 25 minutes
- 1001-3000 ft: 30 minutes
- 3001-6000 ft: 35 minutes
- Above 6000 ft: 40 minutes