Sunday, August 28, 2011

Corn Free Caramel Apple Pie Filling - Canning for the winter

     When the weather gets milder here, it means you will not find me in my kitchen but out in my yard.  The past couple of weeks the weather here in Virginia has been pretty nice.  Now of course this week was an earthquake followed days later by hurricane Irene, but still.... before all that, the weather was beautiful.
     I went outside to prep a new garden bed.   I had been at it for hours when I took a break.  I had been staring at the ground so long that when I drank my water bottle and actually gazed up over my fence, I spied a groaning apple tree in my neighbors yard.
     I don't know why I hadn't noticed before.  I am not a nosey person, but I was missing the blatantly obvious.  My young dwarf apple tree was done giving apples for the year, and we ate all of ours.  There was none left for canning or dehydrating.  I had the idea that I should casually walk over and ask if I could pick some of her apples.  They are a family of three and there were way more apples than people to eat them.  But I chickened out, and sent my kids, who are not half as shy as I am.
     She enthusiastically gave my kids permission to take all the apples they wanted!  Wow!  What asking will do for you!  I picked about three bushels.
     Happy and giddy with our bounty,  it quickly soured to hot kitchen labor.   I made applesauce of course, but I decided to try something new---canned apple pie filling.
     We have made several pies and have loved them.  One quart jar was enough for one apple pie.  Next is an apple pie dump cake.
      With plenty of apple pie filling stored for the winter, I am back to being happy and giddy!
**Disclaimer- as stated by Food Safety, Clear Jel is the only approved starch to can with.  Cornstarch  is also used by many.  If you make this recipe using arrowroot starch, it is at your own risk and we accept no liability.**

I used the recipe from Squidoo.


About 6 pounds apples, peeled, cored, sliced
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup arrowroot starch
3 Tbsp lemon juice
8 cups water divided (6 cups/2cups)


Before starting, sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.

Have your apples peeled, cored, and sliced.  Pack your apples into the canning jars, leaving about
1 inch of head space.

In a large pan, mix sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and 6 cups water.
In a separate bowl, mix arrowroot starch, lemon juice and 2 cups of water. 

Over medium heat,  stir the sugar mixture until almost boiling.  

Stir in arrowroot starch mixture, and stir quickly until the arrowroot is blended and thickens. 
Remove from heat immediately, and ladle hot syrup over the apples, leaving about 1/2 inch head space. 

Gently tap down the mixture to remove the air bubbles.  

Put lids on and process in a water bath canner.  For pint sized jars process for 15 minutes.  For quart sized jars process for 20 minutes. 

I got about 4-1/2 quart jars filled.  

Cook's Notes
The original recipe called for 10 cups of water.  I found that if I used that much water,  the pie was too loose for me.  When cooked it never really thickened and set up firm.  I recommend playing with the water until you find your preference. 

The apples will rise to the top after you process them. 

* Please note as stated in the comments below that if you are doing long term storage that it is recommended that only Clear Jel be used safely.  


  1. I am so happy to have found this it looks fabulous! I have a bunch of apples just waiting for a purpose.

  2. I am glad you found us! I just went apple picking again with the kids and canned about 35 more quarts. My family just loves it! Happy canning!

  3. I, too, am trying to can without corn or gluten and have extra apples to use. I thought apple pie filling would be wonderful to have on the shelf during the year for quick and easy pie-prep. I was looking to use tapioca. However, I've come across several sites that state you should only use Clear-Jel (modified corn starch) in canned pie fillings recipes as this is the only scientifically tested and safe thickener. The U. of Wyoming specifically stated that tapioca, cornstarch and arrowroot were not considered safe canning thickeners. Have you found any qualified sources that can verify the safety of using arrowroot or tapioca in canned pie filling? Also, have you tried pressure canning any? I only have a pressure canner as I thought it would cover any canning needs.

  4. Thanks Wendy for bringing up this point. No. I don't have anything that is approved to replace the Clear Jel. I too read about canning the filling from the U. of Wyoming. It talks about it not reaching temperature and that being the major concern to kill any bacteria. I have searched for what the proper temperature might be to kill the bacteria, but as of date have not been able to locate one. I think that would be extremely helpful. Then pressure canning may be a better option.

    On a personal note, we eat our apple pie filling so fast that I was willing to personally can and use it. This is a personal decision of course. If you want to be on the safe side, then I don't recommend preparing large amounts of apples for winter storage, however it is a great recipe to take fresh apples and pack for gifts to be used more immediately. All my neighbors loved it and cooked the pie within the week.

    As for pressure canning this filling, I haven't. I do own a pressure canner but haven't used it for canning the pie filling.