Thursday, September 29, 2011

apple pie filling!

Canning Apples

Filed under The Kitchen

Apple Pie Filling in A Jar
Crystal Miller

24 cups of peeled, sliced cooking apples
2 1/2 cups honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg optional
1 tsp. salt
10 cup water
1 ½ cups Clear Jel (not the instant clear jel)
( )
3 TBS lemon juice

In a large saucepan combine honey, cinnamon, nutmeg salt and water. Heat on medium heat until hot but not boiling. Slowly add Clear Jel using a whire whisk to mix and stir until smooth. Add lemon juice.

Place prepared apples in a very large bowl and pour syrup over them. Gently stir apples and syrup together.

Fill jars with the apples/syrup mix leaving ½ inch of head space at the top of the jar.

Wipe the jar tops with a clean cloth and put a new lid on the jar. Put a ring on the jar and adjust to finger tightness.

Can in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. This recipe will make 7 quarts of ready to go apple pie filling that will fill and 9” pie plate. For an additional options you can also use this to make cobbler.

canning applesauce

Canning Applesauce

I get a large pot to hold my apples. I put a little water in the bottom to keep the apples from scorching. I fill with the apples and set them on the burner on about medium heat. I let them start cooking. As they cook they breakdown and soon have the look of applesauce. This can take a bit of time. If your temps are too hot you will scorch the apples. So turn down the burner if you need to and stir often. Once all the apples are well cooked and look like they should I test the applesauce to see if it needs to be sweetened. Sometimes I have used apples that were so sweet nothing else was needed. Sometimes I have had tart apples (I know there are types of apples better suited for sauce than others but typically I am just thankful for whatever type they are and work with it from there! ~smile~).

If you find you need to sweeten your apples I recommend a natural sweetener. I have used honey before and am always happy with that. One year I added a can of apple juice concentrate to my big pot of sauce and it sweetened everything up just perfectly.

The last added touch is optional but something we enjoy and that is a bit of cinnamon. I can’t give you amounts because I have no idea how many apples you are working with. Even if I did, I probably still could not tell you because I just sprinkle, stir, taste and don’t worry too much about it. Remember when adding any spices, “less is best”. Add a small amount and test. You can always add more but you can’t take it away.

Now you can either freeze your sauce or can it. If you are going to freeze it put it in zip type bags or reusable freezer containers (glass or plastic) and put in the freezer. If you want to can your sauce then you will need canning jars (pints or quarts), new lids and rings and a pot large enough to hold your jars and cover them with water.

For canning, fill about half full your canning pot with hot water and put on a stove burner to heat up. Wash the jars and fill with hot water to sterilize and heat the jar. When your sauce is ready fill hot jars with hot sauce to within one inch of the top of the jar. Apply a brand new lid and a ring (you can reuse rings). Screw down the lid and using a jar lifter put the jar of sauce into your pot of hot water. After all jars are full (or your canner has all that it will hold), fill the canner with hot water and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and let the jars boil in the water for 15 minutes for pint jars and 20 minutes for quart jars. If you are at higher altitudes you need to boil for longer periods (for altitudes 1000 -3000ft add 5 minutes (to the original times given), for 3000 -6000 add 5 minutes to pints and 10 minutes to quarts and for 6000+ add 10 minutes to pints and 15 minutes to quarts).

When the time is done, lift out the jars and let them cool to room temp. You may hear pinging and popping sounds as each jar is sealing. When the jars are cool you can touch the lid and to make sure it feels tight and well sealed. Remove the rings, wash and dry them for later use. You can store the jars in a cool place and enjoy through the winter!

Making your own pumpkin puree from Fresh Pumpkins

Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree from Fresh Pumpkins

I planted smaller size pumpkins that were meant for pies. The big ones you get in the grocery store this time of year are not really pie pumpkins. I have heard that they tend to be stringy and not too tasty. Pie pumpkins are sweeter.. so my suggestion is if you want to do this at home see if you can locate some pumpkin varieties that were grown for making into pies (maybe farmers markets or health food stores).

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I processed 4 pumpkins on this day weighing a total of 33bs. Here is how I did it…

The first pumpkin was about 8lbs.

I started by carefully cutting it in half..

Then cleaning out the insides by scooping with a spoon until all the seeds and insides were gone. Make sure you save the seeds.. I will show you at the end how to roast them.. I did all 4 of them this way..

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Then it was time to cook them. I have a 14 quart stock pot and that was big enough to hold half of them. I would have used my big canner pot for the job but at the time it was sitting on the stove simmering beef broth. So I did the cooking in two batches. I added a couple inches of water in the bottom of the pot, cut my pumpkin halves in half again to get them to fit in the pot. I brought the water to a boil, put the lid on, reduced the heat and let it basically steam until the pumpkins for fork tender. This took about 45 minutes..

When they were done cooking I pulled them out of the pot and put them in a bowl.

Then I began to peel them. The peels come off pretty easy at this point. You can use a knife to loosen the peel and take it off…

But what I found to be the easiest way is to use the same thing I use to peel potatoes.. a cheese slicer .. if you have never peeled potatoes with one of these little guys.. you should.. once I tried it, I never went back to a regular potato peeler. I found the skins came off quick and easy this way..

After peeling, it was time to puree… I used my food processor. You could also use a hand blender. But the food processor made very fast work of it all…

After all the pumpkin had been processed I had a large bowl full of puree….

Which I bagged up into quart size bags. I ended up with 5 ½ quarts of pumpkin puree…

Now you can freeze this. You can not safely can pumpkin puree. It is too heavy and dense and can not get hot enough to be able to can safely so it must be frozen.

This puree can now be used in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes! You can do this or I even cook it and then dehydrate it. There is a wonderful website for this. Go to