Thursday was a mad dash to get ready for chicks, with the expected arrivals coming Thursday evening instead of Friday morning. They are great fun!
The plan had been: get chicks at 7 am with K; come back here and do apples. The week brought a variety of adaptations to that plan. The apples were left over from the Friday prior, when we ended up looking at the garden and chicken tractor instead of canning. Because the apples had been waiting for a week and were getting eaten, I knew I had to get them done Friday, or there wouldn’t be enough left to justify the effort.
I started working on mine, and was finally able to head over to Ks, chicks in tow, to help her get her apples done. As I’ve been researching and looking for recipes, I’m trying to find some where she can omit the sugar. See my comments below on what I did, vs the recipe.
Apple Pie Filling in a Jar
4 1/2 c sugar
1 c cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
10 c water
6 lbs tart apples, washed, peeled and thinly sliced
Note: Slice apples into a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 quart of water to avoid discoloration. Drain the fruit well before packing in jars.
In a large pot, blend together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the water and lemon juice with a wire whisk. Cook and stir until bubbly and thick; remove from heat.
Drain the fruit well before packing in jars. Pack apples into clean, hot canning jars leaving an inch from the top of the jar. Fill with the hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and apply lids and rings.
Process in a boiling water bath for 20 -30 minutes.
Omit sugar and adjust:
1 c cornstarch
9 c water
All other ingredients same.
My comments: I used Jona Gold apples; K used Red Delicious. I have found the Red Ds to not be as firm, but I don’t think this is a big deal. I have canned all different kinds of apples, and they are all good. I also didn’t measure the lemon juice into the water since we had several bowls going.
I ended up this time with 19 quarts and 1 1/2 pint (jelly jar) of pie filling along with one 1/2 pint of juice, which I didn’t process this time.
You could, I suppose, use Fruit Fresh on the apples instead of the lemon juice in the water. I don’t, though, because lemon juice is cheaper and I usually have a lot on hand. Plus, lemon juice is a natural product. So, that’s my .o2.
When I make pie filling,** I’m usually using a box, which is about 40 lbs of apples. I have found that an apple peeler is a “must-have” for me. This makes my time peeling and cutting much easier, since, as you can see from the picture, it spirals the apple. Once the apple is off the peeler, I cut it in half and plop in the jars.
Another thing that is helpful is to fill the jars with a few ladle scoops of filling, then apples, then top off with filling. It just seems to go by a little bit faster.
When using an apple peeler, be aware that you get a lot of peels. I have mine saved in the freezer waiting for a resolution to my food processor issue. I may decide to go ahead and do the apple (peel) butter in the crockpot and then can. On the other hand, I really need to get a working food processor.
** A regular slicer/corer is good for canned apples. I don’t remove the peels in this case, but you certainly could if you wanted to. I have also made apple pie filling using the larger apples that come from the slicer, but it’s my feeling that you can pack more smaller pieces of apples (like what you get you from peeler) into your jars than you can get with the larger, sliced apples. We like more apples to juice, but if you want more juice to apples, the slicer is a good way to go.
You could also just do the liquid and add your apples when you are ready for pie, or you could do a variety of apple piece sizes. If you find your filling consistency is too thin, you could heat it up and add more corn starch; and/or you can add more apples to your filling. One of the things I looooooveeeeeee about canning is the variations you can come up with.
My plan for today is to use my apple pie filling to make a cobbler. It’s been a really crazy, busy week (with middle-of-the-night checks on the chicks), and my body is paying for it. My big stuff today is laundry, chick tv, and hopefully finishing up knitting the one remaining sock while I hang out in bed. Once I get that done, I’ll go looking for another sock pattern and get that started. I have yet to use my new set of circular needles, but since I also have a few 5 needle sets, I am going to have to figure out which pattern to do next!
That’s the plan. We’ll see if I can stay awake to get it all done.