An easy step by step tutorial for beginners on Canning Apple Pie Filling. A simple low sugar recipe lets you preserve apple pie filling in a water bath canner.
Fill a bowl with cold water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or 2 tsp of citric acid). Set up your workstation with a peeler, cutting board, sharp knife, and a bowl for the peels and cores.
Clean your apples, and peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. If using a hand-cranked peeler, put the apple on the spikes and lock the peeler into place. Turn the crank slowly, and the peeler will begin to remove the skin.
Place the peeled apple on a cutting board and cut down once the middle. You’ll now have perfect apple slices.
Using a normal vegetable peeler? Cut the top and base off of the apple and remove the peel. Core the apple and make thin uniform slices. Place the slices in the water/juice mixture.
Once you have a bunch of slices soaking, combine water and sugar (optional) and bring to a low boil. Because the NCHFP says you can use plain water, I felt safe canning these in only the lightest syrup. I did 6 quarts of water to 1 cup of sugar. I picked a syrup simply for the color preservation in the jars.
Cook the apple slices in batches in the hot syrup, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Transfer the cooked apples into your hot and sterile canning jars. Pro tip: I found that tongs worked the best for this.
Cover the apples with some of the hot water or syrup, allowing for 1/2 inch of headspace.
Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food.
Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).
Once the water is boiling, gently place your jars in one at a time using tongs (I prefer canning tongs, but you can use any rubber tipped tongs). Once your jars (typically 6-7 quart jars can fit in the canner) are completely covered with the boiling water, put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes (pints or quarts). For canning at different altitudes, check out this guide for adjusted processing times.
When the time is up, turn off the stove and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.
Pretty soon you’ll start hearing some “pops and pings” which are the sounds of the jars sealing. Yay!! You did it!
After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).
Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar.
You’ll need about 21 pounds of apples for canning 7 quarts of apple pie filling.
This canned pie filling can be frozen in wide mouth canning jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars to allow for expansion during freezer. Allow to fully cool in the jar before freezing.