Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Easy Canned Apple Pie Filling - With NO Sugar

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.

38 comments :

  1. That recipe sounds good. My sister-in-law and I just made 24 quarts of the regular canned apple pie in a jar. She used regular sugar and I used sucanat. We both agreed that the sucanat tastes better. I am going to try this honey recipe next year. So are you still happy with the tattler lids? I am thinking of purchasing some and would like an opinion from someone who has used them.
    PS - I really enjoy your blog and I have gotten so much wonderful advice, cooking tips, etc.

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  2. I do love my Tattler lids. I have already used them several times. I hope to get more of them next year.
    Gina

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  3. Thank you for sharing ~ this recipe sounds delicious & I'm eager to try anything out that has honey in ~ we have an over abundance :)
    Have a lovely day
    Renata:)

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  4. Yummmmm!!!! That apple pie filling will be so tasty in the middle of winter!!! =)

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  5. What a conincidence. I bought that cookbook last week when we visited PA, along with some clear jel because I can't find it in Canada! So I guess I am meant to try this recipe. We had an apple sauce day yesterday and will do at least one more. We will also make a bunch of pies to freeze and dehydrate apple rings. I also looked for the Tattler lids while we were there, but couldn't find them, I almost emailed you to ask where you got them!
    blessings,
    Niki

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  6. I also use tattler lids. If fact I ordered their bulk shipment of about 250 or so last week. LOVE them!

    I can't wait to try this when I get more apples.

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  7. Nikki
    I haven't been able to find the Tattler lids in any store. I purchased online directly from the Tattler company. Let me know if you find a better distributor!

    Gina

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  8. Is this recipe written for canning? This looks to be the best one I've found so far on the internet, but I don't want to can something that isn't proven to be shelf safe. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Katie-
      I found this recipe in a cookbook. I have some jars that are still good after a year.
      Happy Canning,
      Gina

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    2. What about lemon juice? With all apple & peach canning recipes, you must add lemon juice. My Ball book (sugar recipe though), says 1/2c lemon juice.
      Also, you mention filling with water. Boiling water, cold water, amt of water? Won't this thin out the fillings?
      getting ready to do this and needed to know please. God bless

      Delete
    3. I've never added lemon juice to apple pie filling - but I'm sure it would be tasty. I used just a little cold water if the jars so that the apples would be covered.
      Gina

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  9. I made this last night and I'm wondering how thick the juice is supposed to be after it's processed? It tasted great before but I'm worried about it being watered down...

    Thanks! I love your blog!

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  10. I came across this recipe in searching for a no sugar pie filling. If I eat sugar or white flour I get migraines. We made 22 quarts of this recipe. It is so easy and so very delicious! I did blanch the apples first before mixing them all together and then filled the jars with the water I used for blanching. This one is definitely being kept in my canning recipes and will be my "go-to" pie filling recipe.

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  11. so do you not boil the ingredients before you put them in the jars?

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    Replies
    1. I do not. The processing time when the jars are canned is enough to soften the apples.
      Gina

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  12. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog the other day and I love it! I also made this pie filling and have the same question Lizzy has above...how think is the juice supposed to be after it is processed? If it stays watery, do you drain the apples before using them in pies, crisps, etc.? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. My apple pie filling was a little juicy but I didn't drain it. I usually use it for crisps and it has worked fine.

      But maybe different types of apples would change the results? I don't know. Maybe you would need to add a little more thickener to the juice after opening the jar.
      Gina

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  13. How full do you fill the quart jars before adding water?

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    Replies
    1. I filled the jars to about an inch to the top. The apples will cook down a little while canning. The water is too fill up any air spaces that might be between the apples. But don't fill too full because it can cook out.
      Gina

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  14. I am going to be doing this recipe, but I want to do pints. How long should I water bath them? I was thinking 20 or 25 minutes.

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    Replies
    1. I would probably do them for 25 minutes.
      Gina

      Delete
  15. Thank you! I also have the book this recipe came from. I like your version of it. I went apple picking this past weekend. I live in New York State, near Lake Ontario, so we have awesome apples. I can't wait to try this recipe!!

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  16. This recipe sounds wonderful!! Do I need instant or cook type clear jel?

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  17. Thank you for this recipe! It was so simple, and I LOVE that you don't have to cook the filling before canning. Genius.

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  18. How many quart jars does this recipe fill?

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  19. I thought that the jars needed to be hot to put in a water bath so that the glass doesn't break. How did you manage this?

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    Replies
    1. I put the jars in the canner before I turned the water on so the water was not heated yet. I brought the canner and the jars up to boiling temperature together.
      Gina

      Delete
  20. Just made this. Added 1/4c lemon juice. Blanched 7qt apples. Added ingredients then stirred and LJ added. I wanted a full batch so cut little over 7qt, only got 5 qt. Left 1in head space after added water. Seems great other than liquidy. Kept jars hot before filling.

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  21. What are the best kind of apples to use for canning or even this receipe and how many pounds of apples do I need for this and where do I find this clear gel I keep hearing about or can I just use regular flour if I can't find it

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    Replies
    1. I've used various types of apples. There may be a type that is best, but I have not did any testing. I don't know how many pounds this would take. I buy clear gel at a bulk food store. You can just use flour but clear gel makes a clear sauce.
      Gina

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  22. AHH! I filled my too much and now none of them will seal. 10 quarts! Anything I can do to fix it? Or should I just keep them in the fridge?
    Any help is much appreciated!

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    Replies
    1. Oh how frustrating. You can freeze them. Not as convenient as canned but at least it is not wasted.
      Gina

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  23. It's very frustrating when recipes aren't specific about ingredients. Your recipe calls for ClearJel but you don't say whether you use the Instant or the Cook. Can you please clarify?

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry. This should be the cooked Clear Jel.
      Gina

      Delete
  24. Hello I loved this recipe I made it last year. I used apple juice instead of water for extra flavor. I was wondering is clear gel equal to pectin?

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  25. No. Clear gel is a thickener like cornstarch but it results in a clear thickening - thus its name.
    Gina

    ReplyDelete

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