Apple sauce is a given when it comes to something to make with a large amount of apples. It's great in oatmeal, yoghurt, desserts and by itself as a snack. Apple pie filling on the other hand is a new thing to me. The concept of having pie filling readily available in a jar in my pantry seems a little too convenient (and dangerous). I mean, open a jar, dump the filling into a pie crust and you have a homemade apple pie? Good thing I now have six jars of it...
The apple pie filling was a little more finicky to make, and a little messier, but it would make a great hostess gift along with a readymade pie shell.
Yields approx. 6-7 quarts
14 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples (amount doesn't need to be exact as you add what you need to each individual jar)
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch or flour for thickener
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
10 cups water
In a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water and bring to a boil until bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
Pack jars tightly with apple slices leaving 1/2 inch room on top.
Now for the messy part (and it will get messy). Fill the jars with the hot syrup and remove air bubbles. I found poking the apples and inner sides of the jar with a knife helped to distribute the syrup, although it did sacrifice the overall "sliced" look of the apples. According to some canning websites, air bubbles are bad when it comes to canning, and can ruin the sealing process, so I made sure my jars were mostly bubble-free.
Process jars for 20 minutes in a canner.
Applesauce is a little easier to make and probably better for you with less sugar content. Eight pounds of apples (about 24) will make approximately six pints of sauce. I went for the original recipe this time, but have made flavoured variations before, such as ginger honey or maple.
Applesauce (from BHG's Special Edition Canning Magazine)
24 medium apples
2 cups water
Cinnamon stick or powdered cinnamon to taste
1 cup sugar
Core and quarter apples. Combine apples, water, cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25-35 minutes.
I don't have a food mill, so I just mashed the apples with a potato masher. I'm ok with having peels and chunks in my applesauce, but if you're not, press the apples through a sieve or mill and return the pulp to the pot. Stir in the sugar and 1/2 to 1 cup of water to make desired consistency. Bring to a boil and stir constantly.
Ladle sauce into jars, leaving 1/2 inch room on top, and process in a canner for 15-20 minutes.
So, there you have it. Two more ways use apples in case you ever find yourself with 20 pounds of apples. You could also make apple cake, apple tarts, apple chips, apple crisp...