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Nothing says fall like a good crisp apple. I love the way an apple fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. The way they perfume the air, promising delectable delights. And it means I get to can up a new batch of homemade apple pie filling in my pressure canner. My father-in-law adores apple pie and it's my responsibility privilege to provide the apple pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. You can water bath apple pie filling, but I prefer pressure canning apple pie filling because it's much faster and uses less water, and it's much faster, did I mention is was much faster?
My favorite apple in pies and applesauce is the Gravenstein. I planted my own this year, but will have to wait a few years for a large crop. Thankfully, my parents have an ancient one in their field. .
My original apple pie filling recipe used cornstarch, but the cornstarch does break down after time. The jars I use for Christmas baking were fine, but by the time I hit spring, they were a mushy runny mess. They still worked, but the crusts were a bit soggy in the pies.
The batch I made with the ClearJell® already has a superior viscosity, ClearJell was first used by professional bakers and I can see why, plus canning apple pie filling with clear jel is the only safe approved canning thickener. I confess, I used to do canning apple pie filling with cornstarch, but it's not considered safe nor did it hold up. And there's to much precious time and work to waste on a recipe that's not safe and doesn't hold up.
Here's the version I did this year using the Clear Jell®. It makes 4 quarts or 7 pints of apple pie filling.
(Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving )
12 cups sliced, peeled, and cored apples
2 and 3/4 cups raw sugar
3/4 cup Clear Jel.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3 and 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
Place peeled, cored, and sliced apples in boiling water for 1 minute, working 6 cups of apples at a time. Blanching keeps apples from becoming mushy when canning. With a slotted spoon, place apples in a bowl and cover.
In a large stainless steel pot, combing sugar, ClearJel®, spices, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (don't use a hard boil), stirring constantly, and cook until it thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice and boil for 1 minute, constantly stirring.
Remove from heat and fold in apples. Ladle apple pie filling into warm prepared jars. Wide mouth work best for this recipe, but narrow can be used.
Leave 1 inch headspace, run a spatula down the inside of the jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim with a damp clean towel. Center lid and screw bands down until tight. Place jars filled with apple pie filling in a hot water bath for 25 minutes.
I have to confess, I licked the side of the syrup pot before washing. We have to taste test right? It was soooo good. When ready to bake your pie, pour one quart apple pie filling into pastry lined pie plate (my grandmother's flaky pastry recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to make)
Place your top crust, cut slits for steam escape, crimp edges, and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. What's your favorite apple or dessert? Do you prefer to water bath or pressure can your apple pie filling?
Update: I used to pressure can this but without being able to find a tested time for pressure canning, only water bath process my pie filling now.
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Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.