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How To Can Apples

I kind of feel like apples don’t get the attention they deserve. Every fall, the whole united states goes crazy for pumpkin spice – and rightly so – That stuff is good! – but let’s not forget about the glory that is apples.

There are so many things you can make with apples! One of my favorite things is making apple pie filling to can. It’s super handy for quick desserts when we have impromptu company – or just feel like it.

But when I have three boxes of apples sitting on the kitchen floor waiting to be processed, I need something a little quicker than pie filling.

That’s where these canned apples come in.

just peel, core, slice, pack into jars, and you’re in business!

I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to pack apples in water to can them, and they would end up being really mushy, then a friend taught her how to can them without adding water so that they would come out firm, and stay intact.

The end result was fantastic! The apples came out of the jars firm, and almost crisp, which made them perfect for making apple crisp, and other apple desserts that use just apples as opposed to using apple pie filling every time. The options are limitless.

The best way to can apples

Needless to say, we started canning apples without water, and never looked back.

Note: There will end up being some water in the jars, from the apples cooking, and possibly, from water seeping in from the canner. This bit of water will cause the apples in the bottom of the jar to be slightly mushy, but it’s totally normal!

And if you’re looking for other winter canning recipes? Try these canned baked beans, and canned chili beans recipe. Since we have less garden produce to can in the winter, I like to do a lot of these types of recipes, making my own convenience food. It’s life-changing!


How To Can Apples



  1. Wash, peel, core, and slice apples. I recommend slices at least 1/2 inch thick. Thinner slices are more prone to turning to mush
  2. To keep apples from browning as you peel, place slices in a bath of lemon or citric acid water using 1 teaspoon of citric acid or 3 tablespoons of lemon juice for every quart of water
  3. Drain apples, and pack apple slices into sterilized quart jars, pressing them down to fit as many as possible, leaving half an inch of headspace
  4. Fit with lids and rings
  5. Place jars in a water bath canner, which has the rack inserted to protect jars from direct heat
  6. Make sure there jars are neither touching each other, or the sides of the kettle.
  7. Place a second rack on top of jars, and weight down with a large, clean, brick or rock.how to can apples
  8. Gently fill kettle with water, to 2” above jar tops.
  9. Place lid on canner
  10. Bring kettle to a rolling boil, and continue boiling for 20 minutes.
  11. Let kettle cool completely if possible before opening and removing jars to avoid breaking glass.

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    1. It’s to hold the jars down, since you don’t fill the jars with water, they’ll float if you don’t weight them down.

  1. Hi, This doesn’t seem to be a “normal” way of canning. No lids failing, not USDA approved from what I’ve seen? Do your apples turn brown? I’ve steam canned with great success, acid based only.

  2. Looks great – headed to my kitchen now!
    Curious? Do you have to peel them, or can you leave the peels on?

  3. I’m always worried when recipes are published under the “my mom used to do this” or “my grandmother did this and nobody died, so it must be safe!”
    This recipe does not appear safe from a best practices perspective and USDA has never approved this method of canning. It is dangerous and u safe. You should remove this recipe so as to not ive wrong information to people.

  4. I can’t wait to try this reci[pe. I’ve been looking for it forever. Thank you so very much for your wonderful website and all the information you post.

  5. I haven’t tried this but this is just what I’m looking for.. a way to can apples that are not all sugared up. I bet these would be great for popping out of the jar for baked apple chunks, which we like as a side dish at dinner.

  6. I am trying this as I type! We have always dry packed our green beans for canning and the taste is beyond amazing, so I have no objection to trying it with apples! When they come out, I’ll post again with the results! I find it odd that so many wish to adhere strictly to the USDA guidelines, which is fine and I’m not knocking them or that practice, however, pressure canners and the USDA were not around many years ago when wives had to preserve foods. I can recall my grandma canning green beans in a #3 washtub (boiling water method) for hours and hours and hours outside over an open fire. No problem! Everyone should follow their own thoughts and not shame someone if their method isn’t USDA approved. We all have the choice to try it or avoid it.

    1. I canned my apples and I’m blown away by them!!!! This is a super recipe and I will continue to preserve them this way! Thanks so much!!!

    2. There’s Thai thing called botulism that cannot be killed without a certain a acidity or temperature. The guidelines are there so botulism is not a threat. Your grandmother simply got lucky. If any botulism was in with the green beans, the hours of cooking would not have killed it.

      1. The nice thing about botulism is that it produces gas, so when you’ve canned something, you can easily tell if it’s not safe to eat if the can is no longer sealed. Apples are acidic, and especially with the citric acid that should prevent problems. For the green beans, that’s why a pressure canner is used rather than a water bath.

  7. Do you have to put a second rack on top of the jars with a brick on it or can you just can the apples with out doing this
    Thank you
    Penny Nigro

    1. I’ve done 4 batches now. Some have more water than others but its only from the fruit or any water that gets in while processing. Some of mine have 2 inches liquid and some have a half jar.

  8. I’m excited to try this recipe! Can this be done leaving the peel on the apples and tossing them in cinnamon before processing? Thanks for your help!

  9. Wow such an unsafe canning practice! And you might want to throw those jars in the fridge because they have lost more than half of their liquid…

  10. Thanks for post! I canned a boat load of apple slices last weekend and added lime juice ( didn’t have lemon juice) I thought it was required to acidify but it wasn’t after reading the guidelines). Well I opened a jar and they were mush so I stirred to make apple sauce ☺️. They were supposedly Granny Smith from the farmers market. Don’t know what happened maybe it was the lime juice. I will be giving your method a try! Thanks

    1. the lemon juice was to make sure the apples don’t turn brown.

      You can also add salt to the water instead of lemon juice, and it does the same thing. Been using that for years.

  11. This is called dry canning and is indeed safe, I use almost the same practice to can potatoes, Liquid is not necessary to preserve, Its a good seal that preserves. They look great!!


  13. I am 73 years old. grew up on a small dirt farm in South Dakota. Fokes had nine kids. I remember her coring and pealing apples, slicing them packing them into quart fruit jars. she would fill the jar with water, drop in two aspirin, screw on a lid and set it on a shelf. We had fresh apple pie all year round. None of the other kids remember that and they say it can’t be. Could I be right? Have you ever heard of aspirin used this way?

    1. Interesting, I know you can give cut flowers aspirin because of the sugar in the aspirin. I personally don’t trust aspirins for my health; however, I wonder if it worked because of the sugar content in the aspirin. I would have to think that only two aspirins would not be enough.
      Interesting, very interesting.

      1. Hmmm aspirin doesn’t have sugar, but it does have vinegar… it’s vinegar and salicylic acid. So maybe the apples were technically preserved by a pickling method, which doesn’t require heat?

  14. Help!! I water Bath canned my apples and when I removed the lid the apple jars were floating and there is no liquid are they still okay? I put in a teaspoon of lemon juice and use sugar water but there’s nothing in the jars or very minimal what do I do keep or toss

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