I love apple pie, but it takes so long to make it that I often choose to make something else instead. My mom used to make apple pies and freeze them, which is a great idea, but still a lot of work. Recently I discovered you can make the apple pie filling now, can or freeze it, and then when you are ready to make apple pie, all you have to do is make the crust! I can handle that.
Fall is the perfect time to pick up a box of apples for less than grocery store prices. I went to a local orchard and bought 20 lb each of Gala and Fuji apples for only .50 a pound.
Some of the fancier apples cost more, but I have found Gala and Fuji apples to make great cooking apples. They are great just for eating too.
If you are going to freeze the apple pie filling, wash and dry your freezer containers.
If you are going to can the apple pie filling, sterilize the canning jars, screw bands, and lids. I run mine through the dishwasher while I am getting my apples ready, and they are still hot when I am ready to use them.
Fill your boiling water canner with water and set it on the stove to start heating the water.
18 c. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
10 c. water
3 tbsp. lemon juice
In a large sauce pan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add salt and water, mixing well. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens. Remove pan from heat and stir in 3 tbsp. lemon juice.
Pack the sliced apples into the sterilized canning jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Fill the jars with the hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Wipe the tops of the jars and gently remove air bubbles in jars by running a non-metal narrow spatula around the inside of each jar. Place lids and screw bands on jars. Process jars in boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and let them set on a towel on the counter until they cool off. Test lids to make sure they have sealed.
If you would like to freeze your apple pie filling instead of canning it, make the syrup in a bigger pot and after the syrup has thickened, stir in the apples and cook until apples are slightly tender. Pour into prepared freezer containers, and let cool before placing in the freezer.
Note: 18 cups of apples will make approximately 6 quarts of apple pie filling. One quart jar of apple pie filling will make one 9-inch apple pie.
And if you don't have one already, invest in a tool like the Apple Master. It makes peeling, coring, and slicing apples a breeze.
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