What can be more satisfying than seeing your pantry shelves filling up with food that you’ve canned with your own hands? Not much, I’d submit, but there’s something extra special about canning pie filling. It’s like making convenience food, and you can use gluten-free recipes to do it.
Once you’re done, it just sits on the shelf, and literally all you have to do is open a jar and dump it into a pie shell when you’re ready for it. Hey presto! You just made homemade apple pie from scratch!
Needless to say, I’m excited about the onslaught of Fall apples, and the opportunities to buy in bulk through local food co-ops, because there’s nothing like being able to pop open a jar of home-canned pie filling during the dead of winter to make a quick dessert. Yeah, that super easy blackberry crumble I was making back in the summer? That’s gonna turn into apple crumble this winter.
Isn’t the change of seasons, and seasonal food amazing? Your taste buds never get bored!
This is a recipe I picked up during my days in the Amish community. (No, I wasn’t technically Amish, but an outsider would never have known the difference. My dad thought it was the pathway to heaven back then – but that’s another story for another time)
Amish food has a well deserved reputation for being delicious, and when it comes to canning and preserving, they really know their stuff. I’m blessed to have spent much of my childhood learning from them and now, being able to pass that on.
So, are we ready? Here we go!
Home-Canned Apple Pie Filling Recipe
- 12 cups sugar
- 2 ¼ cup Clear gel (my amish friends use cornstarch, but according to Ball, it’s not safe)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 quarts water
- 6 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 12 quarts of apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
Mix first five ingredients together in a large stock pot.
Stir in water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Add apples and lemon juice. Stir well.
Fill clean jars leaving half an inch of headspace.
Wipe rim of each jar before capping with new lids, and clean rings.
Process in a water bath canner for 25 minutes.
1 quart jar fills a 9” pie shell.
Makes 14 quarts.
A brief overview of waterbath canning:
(You can see an overview of canning methods here.)
Waterbath canning is essentially boiling jars of food in a large stock pot. Your pot needs to be taller than your jars by at least three inches to allow for a rack (or, in a pinch, kitchen towel), on which to set the jars so that they are not in direct contact with the source of heat, and also, to allow for two inches of water over the jars.
You will place the jars in the water bath canner, and add water ideally of the same temperature as the contents of the jars to at least a two inch depth above the jars.
Timing of the canning process begins when the water comes to a rolling boil.
After the processing time is over, it is very important to cool the jars carefully. If lifted from the canner immediately, the jars could explode upon contact with a any cool breeze.
Sounds scary, I know! To tell the truth, I’ve never personally had one explode, it’s just important to take precautions when dealing with hot glass.
If you can’t let the canner and jars slowly cool together, let them cool as much as you can, and then remove them them, making as sure as you can that there are no stray breezes coming through, while shielding yourself with a towel. Place on another towel, and finally, cover the jars with yet another towel to minimize chances of cracking glass.