I love a quick and easy dessert recipe! There's nothing like homemade apple pie. You can save a lot of time with a store bought pie crust and store bought canned filling, but there is something magical about a homemade apple pie with fresh apples.
If you are fortunate enough to have an apple orchard or farmers market or co-op near you where you can pick your own apples–you should stock up. There are many different things you can do with your fresh apples.
Of course you want to be able to preserve your apple sauce, apple butter and who could forget your own apple pie filling. You will be able to find so many resourceful things you can do once you learn the canning process. You can use a pressure canner or just a large pot depending on the method you choose.
Does canned apple pie filling need to be cooked?
Canned pie filling actually IS cooked if you think about it. It simmers on the stove top to cook the Clear Jel (preserving liquid). That's all it needs.
The process is simple. You are going to combine your ingredients on the stove till it's cooked and thickened. Once this gooey sauce is thick you will add your apples and just cook a few minutes to heat through. Some recipes have you put the fresh apple slices in the jars and top with the gooey sauce, but I like to have everything nice and hot in my jar for canning to make sure my jars seal well. You can always modify the steps, but it is really best to get your apples heated up in the sauce portion of your pie filling.
How do you make canned pie filling taste homemade?
If you want to make an apple pie with store bought canned filling you can actually dress it up a little to give it a more homemade flavor. Adding your own spices is the best thing. This recipe calls for a few specific spices, but you can add your own flavorings as desired. Other additions include Allspice (use sparingly), Ginger, Nutmeg, and Brown Sugar.
Canned Apple Pie Filling Recipe
This recipe starts with fresh apples! It's a must! Don't substitute with sliced, previously canned apples or frozen apple chunks.
If you are brave enough to go apple picking or pick up a few bushels from the farmers market lets talk about what you need to do with them. For a large amount of apples, I really recommend getting a handy kitchen tool that is not just an apple peeler but one that also will slice and core the apple at the same time.
You can order these online, get them in the local store, and sometimes even find them at the farmers market near the apples. It attaches to the counter top with suction and you can turn the handle to simultaneously peel and core the apples. It's a fast way to get this job done! Of course you can make apple pie without this gadget but if you are going to be processing dozens and dozens of apples you will be so glad you invested in a quality apple peeler/slicer/corer.
Equipment- What Else Do I need to Can Apples?
These items are the must-haves to properly can your fruit:
- Water bath canner
- Canning funnel, lid lifter, and jar lifter
- Ladle and bubble tool
- Canning jars, seals, and rings
- Vegetable peeler or sharp knife
- Apple peeler/corer/slicer optional, but very helpful
- Large pot
If you have a canner it will make the canning process simpler because even my largest stock pot that is tall enough to cover the jar lids doesn't hold very many jars. So you will either have to have several pots of water going or do them in several batches.
Have a Helper!
The step that is going to take the longest is the peeling, slicing and coring of your apples. There are several ways you can do this but it helps to have a second person. Here are the two main ways to prep your apple pie filling for canning:
Method 1: I recommend you get the apples into a bowl of cold water and just let them hang out while you get your water bath started. You need to prep your jars, lids and rings and you also need water ready for submerging your jars when they are filled. If you are going to use a water canning method start boiling your water. Once it is a slow simmer you can add your jars, upside down and you lids and rings. Let these hang out and simmer while you work on your ingredients.
Method 2: Another way is to just add the lemon juice and spices and toss the apple slices around so that the lemon juice keeps them from browning. Meanwhile, have your helper get the water bath canning products started. Either way, you do have to work steadily and it's not a good time for a break from the kitchen! 🙂
Water Bath Canning Prep and Equipment
In general you will need your canner, a small pot for heating up lids, and then the simmer pot for your filling. Have your canning tongs (or jar lifter), a few clean towels, and some oven mitts handy.
Keep your water bath at a low boil (simmering). The easiest way to heat up jars is just to use your canner and submerge jars for a minute and let them heat up. Then, use tongs or your jar and lid lifter to get the cans out of the water. Dump any extra water out and set them on a towel on the counter top, next to your skillet with your delicious apple filling. I also like to set them upside down on a kitchen towel. You do not have to get every drop of water out. After all, your canning mixture has lots of water content! Just make sure the jars don't have any large amounts of water inside.
Use your funnel and start ladling your filling into the jars. Do not over fill your jars, leave about a one inch headspace. Go just to the base of the jar neck or the bottom thread of where the lid screws on. Once you have all of your jars filled, use a chop stick or skewer to slide around the edges of your jar to remove any air pocket. Then use a towel or pot holders and screw bands and lids on well.
Once your water bath is back up to a boil you want to use your jar lifter to carefully lower your hot jars back into the water bath on top of the rack. Make sure you have space between your jars for the water to get all the way around each one. You want to have about 2 inches of water above the tops of your jar lids.
You want to have the jars in your water bath for 25 minutes. If you are living in a locations that has an altitude above sea level you want to check the recommendations for time adjustments for increased altitude. You can find a chart online and make sure you know the altitude where you are living.
Make sure you keep this information handy and store it with your canning recipes for future reference.
- 6 quarts peeled, sliced apples
- 5 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups Clear Jel - See note
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon. cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 5 cups apple juice
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- Mix your spices and add to a large glass bowl.
- With a large cutting board or counter top apple peeler/slicer/corer, Peel and slice apples into large chunks, one to two bites each. If you have smaller chunks mixed in, that's fine.
- Add all to a large glass bowl. Discard peels and any other non-usable parts of the apple. You can submerge apples in water, or go ahead and coat with the spice mixture while you prepare your water bath canning supplies. Having a second person prep the water bath canner and jars while you are slicing apples is preferred!
- Add all apple slices into the bowl and toss with the nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice. Do not add flour to this mixture, since you will be using Clear Jel and canning the apples. The spices and lemon juice will keep apples from browning.
- In a sauce pan, combine sugar, Clear Jel, apple juice and water and stir to combine well. Heat this on Medium heat and keep stirring until it you see air bubbles starting for form. Lower your heat to low and keep stirring. Keep a close eye on it because you want it to thicken but not burn. Keep stirring until it is thick.
Prepare Canning Supplies:
- Start your water bath canning process, or prepare jars to pressure cook. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on your pressure cooker for time, or process 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, adding 5 minutes for each ADDITIONAL 1000 ft you are above Sea Level.
- See specific instructions in this blog post for how to set up a good canning process on the stove! You will need a large water bath canner, a small sauce pan to heat up lids, and your pan containing the apple pie filling.
- Remember, Jars must be hot prior to any form of canning, to avoid breakage.
- Filling must be hot as well. After you bring your mixture to a simmer, allow your apples to sit in the hot mixture for a few minutes while you prepare your jars.
- Once your boiling is done you want to turn off the burner and let the jars sit for 5 minutes. Then lift the jars up so that the little notch on your rack rests on the top rim or your water pot. Let them rest here for 5 more minutes. Then, carefully remove your jars from the hot pot and set the rack on a dishtowel.
- Use a towel or potholders and take the jars from the rack and set them on another towel to cool, leaving space between them for proper airflow.
- Allow them to cool at room temperature for at least 12 hours. I like to let mine rest over night. You want to make sure your lids "pop in" and after 12 hours you can unscrew the rings and make sure your lids are sealed on and won't lift easily.
- Home canning is a laborious project but can be so worthwhile if you are on a path to being more self sufficient.
Note: a pressure canner is not the same pot as a pressure cooker or an electric pressure cooker. If you have an electric pot make sure you check your manufacturers instructions carefully and only use pots that say they are made to can.
Amount Per Serving Calories 792Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 20mgCarbohydrates 205gFiber 9gSugar 189gProtein 1g
How to bake a Southern Apple Pie
With our canned apple pie filling recipe you can make sure you have a great filling. With canned filling you can store it in the pantry for up to eighteen months. You can make all sorts of apple desserts with your homemade apple pie filling. From apple crisp, apple hand pies, and apple turnovers you can use your quarts of apple pie filling in any number of different ways. It is a lot of work but you will have what you need when you are ready to bake pie. There are many versions of apple pie, we want you to be prepared to make a “Southern Version”.
You of course need a crust and you can make an easy one from scratch or you can always opt for store bought if you are tight on time.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1–2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups Crisco
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 egg
- ½ cup ice water
- Use a large bowl to combine your dry ingredients with a whisk.
- Use a fork to break up your Crisco and add it in in chunks, breaking it up into pea size balls to mix in.
- In another bowl combine the liquid ingredients including the egg. Once it is blended well, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and use your hands to fold it in. You do not want to knead this dough, just gently combine.
- Once it is combined well and sticks to itself push it into a ball and wrap the ball in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. You can do this step ahead of time and store the dough in your refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Take it from the refrigerator and you are ready to roll. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a nice flat surface and lightly the flour the surface and the rolling pin.
- Roll the dough into a circle that is larger than your pie pan, 12-14". Transfer it gently to your pie pan and press into the sides. Trim the excess from the edges and roll that to form your top crust on top of the pie filling.
- Place the top crust on and crimp the edges together.
- Place your pie pan on a cookie sheet you have lined with parchment paper. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Watch to make sure the edges do not burn, you may need to cover the edges with foil. Let it bake until the filling is bubbling.
- Take it out of the oven and you must let it rest for 1-2 hours. You want it to set up and you do not want to burn your mouth, trust me, let it rest. Then you are ready to serve and eat. If you are having a nice dinner or event we like to serve this on a cake stand like the rustic wood cake stand I bought on amazon.
- This pie is perfect for apple harvest time or any time of year. Since you can preserve your filling you can have fresh pie any time of year. Use fresh fruit to make your own pie filling and you will have a crowd pleaser for sure. Let us know if you like to go apple picking and try this canned apple pie filling recipe!
Amount Per Serving Calories 310Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 23mgSodium 540mgCarbohydrates 67gFiber 2gSugar 19gProtein 7g