Stepping in quick from a busy day of applesauce making (again!) to share a new way that I found to make canned apple pie filling.
My usual method for apple pie filling called for cooking a glaze, tossing in the sliced apples, packing in jars and canning. This new method skips the glaze/sauce. It still takes quite a while to peel all those apples but I think the work of making apple pie filling is worth the convenience of having a quick apple crisp available at any time.
The other benefit of this recipe is NO sugar! It uses only honey for sweetener. I found the recipe in Healthy Choices - a cookbook with no white sugar or white flour compiled from recipes shared by readers of Keepers at Home magazine. I adjusted it a little, including cutting the recipe in half since I didn't have any bowls big enough to mix the full recipe in.
One note - DO NOT fill the jars full! The first time I tried this, over half of the jars did not seal. My mom reminded me that apple pie filling jars should not be filled full. With this method of using water, there is no air space and is even more important not to fill the jars full. The second attempt at this recipe, I only filled the jars with water up to the shoulder of the jar, not to the neck. This time the jars sealed very well.
The original recipe called for flour for thickening. Flour made the liquid cloudy. I preferred clear gel, a thickener similar to corn starch but better for canning.
This year, my apple pie filling was much softer then last year. But I'm assuming it was because my apples were very ripe. I used Golden Delicious apples and probably should have chosen a firmer apple. But no one in my family will complain if their apple filling is completely mush. We LOVE apple desserts.
Apple Pie Filling for Canning
Adapted from Healthy Choices
6 qt apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup flour or clear gel
1 cup honey
2 T cinnamon
1/2 T nutmeg
Toss dry ingredients with apples. Stir in honey. Fill quart jars. Fill jars with water - but NOT to top of jar. Water bath can for 30 minutes.
To serve, dump into a casserole dish and sprinkle with any apple crisp topping recipe. Or try this frozen crisp topping. Then bake.
Or dump into a pie shell and bake.