Posted by: dinainsuburbia | October 5, 2008

Apple Pie In a Jar (or, what to do with all those apples I picked)

What a way to spend a Saturday night, peeling apples and watching over a boiling water bath for an hour!  Once I saw the recipe for apple pie filling in a jar, I knew I had to try it.  After all, what could be better on a cold (possibly snowy) evening, heated pie filling served over a bowl of vanilla ice cream?  I was also excited to have a purpose for the apples I pick every year- a tradition since John and I were married 5 1/2 years ago.  We go the end of September around my birthday.  John didn’t come with us this year, although I think we may go again if my mother-in-law visits sometime mid-October.

Typically, I make a few apple crumbles and give the apples away to friends and family.  Since I started canning/preserving this summer, I figured there would have to be a way to preserve the apples for the winter.

Here’s the recipe I used.  The recipe yielded 7 quarts.  I think after this go around, I am going to invest in a proper water canner.  The large stock pot I’ve been using leaks from the rivets when the water really gets boiling.  It was only $12, what did I expect?

4 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I used 3 teaspoons)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I have a nutmeg mill, so I’m not exactly sure how much I used, but I bet it was more like 1/2-3/4 teaspoon)

The recipe didn’t call for it, but I added 1/2 tsp all spice as well.

2 teaspoons of salt

10 cups water

6 pounds apples (I used an assortment, but I can’t remember which ones.. use a tart, baking apple)

3 tablespoons lemon juice ( I always use fresh)

1.  sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.


waiting to be filled with syrup

waiting to be filled with syrup


2.  Peel, core & slice apples.  Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Not wanting to peel/slice more apples than necessary, I did this jar by jar.  Basically sliced 3 apples, filled a jar, sprinkled with a little lemon juice so they didn’t brown, and moved on until all 7 quarts were filled.

3.  While filling jars with apples, mix sugar, spices, and salt in 8 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups of cold water, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Whisk until combined.  While sugar mixture is simmering, whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Bring back to simmer for 3 minutes, until cornstarch is incorporated.


apples with syrup, waiting for water processing

apples with syrup, waiting for water processing


4.  Ladle syrup into jars.  Free any trapped air bubbles by sliding knife along edges.  This took a while, and I wasn’t able to get all the air out (air gets trapped between the apple layers).  Just do your best, and shift the apples around to free as much air as you can.


jars after water-bath processing

jars after water-bath processing


5.  Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  Allow jars to cool in a draft-free area overnight.  You’ll notice the syrup darkens after processing.

That’s it.  Pretty straight forward.  I still have about 5 pounds of apples left over.  I might try to preserve some apple sauce, or if I’m really up to it, apple butter.


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