Apple, to be exact! I’m still dealing with an abundance of apples around the farm. Not still picking them as I froze most of them earlier because I had apple butter up to my neck. Freezing them in gallon sacks put off “doing something” with them until I could catch my breath!!
Now that harvest is over, the wheat is planted and the days are cooler, I thought it would be a good day to clear a few sacks out of the freezer and experiment.
I’ve had my eye on an apple pie filling recipe for a while. Actually, there are LOTS of recipes for such but there seems to be a controversy over whether to use cornstarch or a product called “Clear Jell”. Since I couldn’t find any in the grocery store, I decided to use cornstarch…which is a further departure for me as we have “always made apple pies with flour as thickening” in our family. Tradition dies a hard death around here.
Don’t let the word “Canning” spook you. It might sound complicated but it’s not. Maybe time consuming the first time around but once you get the swing of this, you’ll throw this stuff together in no time at all AND have a wonderful pie filling at your fingertips! Without all that gunk the store bought canned fillings have in them.
PLUS, you can use this filling for apple crisp and cobblers and fried pies…as well as plain old yummy apple pie! Or even THIS!!?
Now don’t you feel all frontier womanish and self-sufficient?!!! Yay!!
One thing…I’ve frozen my sliced apples for years and made fantastic pies and cobblers FOR YEARS. Why change that now? I. Am. Running. Out. Of. Freezer. Space.
So I must make way for other “stuff” and since I have bushels and bushels of apples stored in the freezer…in spite of making gallons of apple butter already…something MUST be done with ALL of these apples! Futhermore, can I also can peach pie filling? How about blackberry cobbler filling? For that matter, I’m also wondering if rhubarb might work?
Here we go….
Get your hot water bath canning pot out, filled about 3/4 full of water and set on high heat. Bring to a boil while you….
Wash, peel (if you must!) and slice 6 lbs. of apples….good, firm, cooking apples.
In large pot mix:
5 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
In a large bowl, mix 5 cups water and 1 cup cornstarch with whisk. Pour slowly into the hot sugar mixture. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly to keep the cornstarch from sticking and clumping. Over low heat, cook till the liquid thickens.
Wash and sterilize quart jars and set in hot water to keep jars hot. Heat more water to sterilize the jar lids and bands. Now, everything is HOT.
Pack each quart jar half full of apples, ladle in the thickened sugar mixture to the top of the apples. Finish filling the jar with apples, packing them down good…not smashed in but fairly tight. You should have about 1″ apples from the top of the jar.
Remember to be careful with the hot sugar syrup. Hot!!!!!
Wipe down the top of the jar with a wet paper towel, using hot pad to hold the hot jar. Place a hot lid on top and screw down a hot band.
Carefully set the hot jar with a jar lifter (a lifter is NECESSARY for any kind of canning!!! Get one if you don’t have one. Trust me on this.) into the hot water bath cannning pot. It should hold 7 quart jars.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce heat and time the process for 25 minutes.
With the jar lifter, carefully remove each jar from the pot when processing is done. Set each jar on a wood cutting board or some towels to cool.
As the jars cool down, you should hear some light pinging as the lids seal. If, once the jar lids have cooled down completely and you can push the lid down in the middle, you’re jar didn’t seal. Stick it in the fridge and use it in a week or so…it’s still good!
I write the contents of each jar on the lid and date it.
To use the filling, make your favoriete pie pastry. Dump the filling in, dot with butter, top with pastry and bake about 30 minutes at 400º.
And there you have it. You are now qualified for the Martha Stewart Homemaker of the Year! Well, I think you’re wonderful and that should count for something?!