Let’s Can Apples

by JR Coffey

The smell of cooking apples seem to say Fall.  It is that smell and taste that we want to capture in the canning jar.  I believe Fall is one of the busiest times in regard to canning and preserving.  Many fruits are in during the Fall season, including grapes, apples, pears, plums and figs.  Let’s get started canning! 

The varieties of apples are endless.  I prefer Golden Delicious to can for Baking, Ginger Gold for Apple Chutney, Winesaps, Grimes Golden or my favorite Northern Spy for applesauce and apple butter.  The early apples such as Summer Rambo and Transparent are good for sauce and cooking as well.  I use the same apples for pies as for sauce.

Apples for Baking

1 gallon apples, peeled and quartered

1 C. sugar

1 t. Fruit Fresh

Mix sugar and fruit fresh and sprinkle over apples.  Cover and let stand overnight.  Next morning, pack apples into clean jars, leaving ¾” headspace.  Add hot water to juice left in container and dissolve sugar and divide liquid among the jars.  Add more water to fill jars to within ¾” headspace.  Wipe jar rims, seal and process (cold pack) 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water bath.  Do half gallon jars 15 minutes.  Do not process too long or they will turn to sauce instead.  Golden Delicious are excellent canned this way.

A slight variation is to use 2 to 3 pounds sugar for a 5 gallon container of prepared apples.  To serve, put your apples in a casserole dish.  Sprinkle with about ¼ C. brown sugar and dot with about 1 or 2 T. butter.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 60 minute.

Apple Pie Filling

Please see Peach column for my pie filling to can recipe.  Just add 1 T. ground cinnamon per double batch of glaze for each ½ bushel of apples.  This will can 14 to 16 quarts each time.  You could add some apple pie spice (1 to 2 t.) instead of or in addition to the cinnamon.  Some also like about a teaspoon of vanilla as well in apple pie filling.


Apple Sauce

My late grandmother could never keep applesauce.  She open kettle canned it as well as many of her fruits.  When we started water bath canning it, we had no issues keeping it.  I guess it was not getting hot enough to keep properly.

Use a Good cooking apple.  Peel (optional, if using a strainer device), core and slice apples.  Use approximately 1 quart water to a 12 quart kettle of apples.  Cook until apples are soft.  Put through food mill or strainer.  If you peel the apples, you can use a stick blender as well to puree’ the apples.  For chunky applesauce, just go to the canning step without straining.  Add sugar (1/4 to ½ C. per quart of sauce).  I cam mine without sugar.  Fill jars, leaving 1” headspace.  Seal.  Process (cold pack) 15 minutes in boiling water bath.  For large families, do half gallons 25 to 30 minutes.


Apple Butter 1 (Oven Method)

I have over a dozen different apple butter recipes so I am giving just three.  First make your applesauce and then continue below:

18 C. applesauce

1 C. cider

9 C. sugar (less if sweet apples are used)

3 T. ground cinnamon

Bake in oven at 325 degrees 5 to 6 hours.  Stir about every 30 to 45 minutes.  You can partly cover the roaster so you don’t have to clean the oven!  Fill jars, leaving ¾ “ headspace.  Seal and process (cold pack) 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes 6 quarts.


Virginia Apple Butter (Crockpot Method)

Some may ask why I call this Virginia apple butter.  The difference is that in Virginia no cider is used in apple butter and it has a red color rather than a dark brown color.  Also in Virginia, oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves are used to spice the apple butter.  Count your spice drops!  You can easily over do it with the spice oils.  I count mine on a little sugar. You can double or triple this if your crockpot size allows.

8 C. applesauce

2 to 4 T. cider vinegar

4 C. granulated sugar

2 t. ground cinnamon

½ t. ground cloves

½ t. ground allspice

Cook applesauce, sugar and vinegar on low for about 24 hours.  Stir about every 3 to 4 hours.  Blend spices with some of the apple butter and add to the remaining apple butter in the crockpot.  If you want to use the spice oils, omit all ground spices and use 2 drops oil of cinnamon and 1 drop oil of cloves.  Count drops with an eye dropper!  Can as directed under oven method. Makes 6 pints or 12 half pints.


Apple Chutney

This is another Virginia recipe and it is reduced from my book, Country Canning II.

7 ½ C. apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 ½ C. green peppers (diced)

1 ½ lemons, peeled and sectioned with seeds removed

1 ½ garlic cloves

6 T. candied ginger (Booth’s Corner Farmer’s Market or Trader Joes are good sources for this)

6 T. chopped pecans or almonds

1 ¾ C. + 2 T. dark raisins

3 T. yellow mustard seed

3 C. cider vinegar (White House, Heinz or Musselman’s Vinegar are best)

1 ½ pounds light brown sugar

Combine all ingredients and cook slowly for about 30 to 45 minutes. It should thicken and darken almost like apple butter.  Fill clean jars, leaving ¾ “ headspace.  Wipe jar rims, seal and process (cold pack) 15 to 20 minutes in boiling water bath.  Makes about 12 half pints.


No Sugar Added Apple Butter

½ bushel cooking apples

1 gallon cider

Cook all together until soft.  Put through food mill or strainer.  Either cook down in oven at 325 to 350 degrees or in a crock pot.  This can take about the same as in recipes 1 and 2 with sugar.  You can add 1 ½ T.  ground cinnamon and about a teaspoon of ground cloves to this amount or spice to taste or leave them out if desired.  Can as directed under recipes 1 and 2 with sugar.  Makes 6 to 8 quarts.


Big Batch Jelly

I have used this recipe for years.  I use this for apple jelly, crab apple jelly, apple cinnamon jelly and grape jellies.  Crab apples are in now as well and why I share this one as well.  For apple cinnamon, add ½ C. red cinnamon candy to the heating juice.

2 quarts prepared juice

2 boxes powdered pectin

5 pounds granulated sugar

A slight variation is:  8 C. prepared juice, 2 boxes powdered pectin and 11 C. granulated sugar.

Make according to Dry Pectin Method.  Process (cold pack) 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water bath.  Makes 14 to 16 half pint jars.

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