Finally! I waited and waited for my clear jel to arrive to make homemade apple pie filling. I even ventured out to the store and invested in an apple peeler (the hand crank, corer, peeler, slicer) which was SO worth it - I highly recommend one as they make peeling a snap (cost approx. $16-19) This recipe is a bit more involved as far as ingredients but, I had apple cider from making apple butter. I read a bunch of different recipes and did not like that many of them didn't narrow down how many apples you are to use. I took the time here to cut and measure how many apples I used and size I used so that maybe it will save you a small hassle... this recipe is a snap to make. I suggest that you bring all the filling ingredients (minus the apples) to a medium simmer and mix your clear jel and some of the cold water called for in the recipe together in a separate cup, then add to filling and bring to a boil (you don't want any clumps of clear jel in your filling/syrup) *If you DO get clear jel clumps, you can use an immersion blender to blend them away. Enjoy ~ Diane.
Homemade Apple Pie Filling
Yield: approx.4 quarts (or 8 pints)
12 cups apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
(I used 5 large jonagold & fuji apples and 6 small jonathan & gala apples)
3 cups sugar
1 cup Clear Jel starch**(see note below)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups cold water
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup bottled *lemon juice (plus additional if adding to water after slicing apples, see note below)
*Fruit Fresh (optional to lemon juice, see note below)
Peel apple slices and place slices in a pot of cold water with *fruit fresh or lemon juice, set aside and prepare filling.
Combine sugar, clear jel, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large pot with the cold water and apple cider. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Add the bottled lemon juice and cook for 1 minute.
Drain and add the sliced apples to the mixture, stir to combine and immediately ladle into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a long plastic knife or thin spatula. Wipe rims and cover with lids and ring bands.
Process (Quarts and Pints) in a water bath for 25 minutes (see notes for high altitude processing time). Let cool 24 hours and ensure lids have sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and use within a few weeks.
To bake a pie, simply pour it into a prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees until filling is bubbling or follow your own pie recipe for two crust fruit pies.
*Notes: Store sliced apples in a solution of water and *lemon juice (2 tablespoons lemon juice per large bowl of water) to prevent browning until ready to proceed with recipe OR add *fruit fresh to the water.
**Clear Jel - is a thickener/starch that is used in high heat canning - do not use any other thickening agent (such as flour, cornstarch or tapioca) Only use 'Cook Type' Clear Jel for this recipe.
Increase processing time for high altitude as needed: 1,001-3,000 ft 5 minutes, 3,001-6,000 ft 10 minutes, 6,001+ ft 15 minutes.
Recipe Adapted from USDA Home Canning Guide.
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home