Canning Apples for Pies

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Bonnie. It turned out really good. I sliced my apples into apple cider, an idea from my friend Effie, whose family owns a plant nursery and apple orchard where they sell hundreds and hundreds of pies every year. They peel and prepare apples on Wednesdays, soak them in their own apple cider overnight, and then make pies for the freezer on Thursdays.
I used my new super duper apple slicer (they sell them at King Arthur Flour and Williams-Sonoma) that slices either 8 wedges or 16 slices for pie. It made the job much easier and really works (the plastic center makes the apples go all the way through the slicer).
Apple Pie Filling
6 1/2 -7 quarts Apples -- peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups Clear Jel -- or cornstarch**
10 cups Water -- or half apple juice or cider
4 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
Bring ingredients except apples to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly like syrup. Turn drained apple slices into syrup and quickly pack into jars.  Add 3 tbsp bottled lemon juice to each jar.  Leave 1"-1 1/2" headspace; don't overfill or the filling will ooze out of your jars.
Process in a water bath 25 minutes for quarts or pints, add 5 minutes for 1000-3000 feet altitude.
7 quarts apple pie filling
**The original recipe called for 1 cup of cornstarch and water. I tried regular cook-type clear jel and half apple juice or cider and half water for the liquid.  I used Clemson's ratio of Clear Jel to liquid.
Try stayman, rome, golden delicious apples.
Cost Summer 2013: $6.72 or 96¢ per quart with purchased apples.
I had a little filling left over; I made some apple crisp and topped it with homemade ice cream.  After baking, and cooling just a little bit, the filling was a perfect consistancy and the apples were firm, not mushy.  Myrna tried a jar for apple crisp also, with good results.
Bonnie says her mother always canned apples, and then made juice for jelly from the peelings and coresUse it up,  do with less.


  1. I love all your little hints.. I will have to try this. I'm also looking for a recipe for fried apples like Cracker Barrel or Jim & Nicks. Thanks for sharing.

  2. found you on the Barn Hop link up. Good tip about the apple cutter. I don't know why I always feel that I have to be a hero and hand cut everything I can. Silly!

  3. I on the other hand want all the help I can get. Glad you found our blog.

  4. I love apple crisp, it's one of our favorite desserts. My aunt shared boxes of apples from her tree last fall & I made some apple pie filling as well as apple butter, sliced apples in light syrup, applesauce, apple juice, etc. You're absolutely right, the slicer/corer is an invaluable tool that saved us hours in the kitchen! (I also learned about ClearJel during that time.) Now I'm able to enjoy those processed apples for a quick dessert any time - love it! (Visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  5. Good evening can you tell me with your 6 to 7 quarts of apples is that considered a half of a bushel?

    1. Yes. It does depend on the size of the apples, smaller apples will have more waste. If you allow 3# of apples per quart, it will take about 21#.
      I have to say, it's very hard to give exact number here because the amount of waste can vary so much. I always set out some smaller jars to use if I don't get a full jar to finish the batch. Of course, what doesn't' fill a jar can be used without canning too.

  6. I've got to tell you that this past year is the first time that I have ever put up pie filling. I did not use your recipe but a similar one. I canned peaches and crab apples for pie filling with corn starch. The peaches are beautiful. The crab apples scared me, they pulled in and bubbled after sitting on the shelf a while. One of my friends came over and took a few jars, told me they were fine. Apparently crab apples have such a low moisture content that they suck all the moisture out of the corn starch and make it look kinda funky. LOL I thought it was going to kill all of us, but we survived.


  7. "Why can’t you use other starch thickeners other than Clearjel for the canned pie fillings?

    One of the main reasons is density. Other thickeners such as regular corn starch, wheat flour, arrowroot, tapioca, etc, might prevent heat from fully penetrating the entire jar being processed. Suzanne Driessen from the University of Minnesota Extension Service says that while botulism is not a high risk with pie fillings owing to the high acidity of most fruits that people will be using for pies, the density issues with other thickeners could prevent heat getting through to the center of the jar and killing off more boring (until you get them) nasties such as salmonella and listeria. As well, she notes, the quality with those other thickeners in home canned products just isn’t great. Many people reported getting results that are either lumpy, runny or both. After all their hard work, their home canned pie fillings were very disappointing and unappealing just from an everyday cook’s point of view.

    Here’s what she says,

    Canning apple pie filling using tapioca or cornstarch as the thickener is an outdated and risky method. Botulism is not a major risk with this product because of the high acid content of the apple filling. However, using cornstarch or tapioca may cause the filling to be too thick for the heat to penetrate to the center of the jar and kill spoilage organisms throughout the product, which is a food safety issue. Cornstarch and tapioca will also break down during the canning process and your pie filling will be runny which is a quality issue.” [7]"


Hi...we'd love to hear from you.
Comments are moderated before appearing...Thanks.