If you have peeled, cored, and sliced apples stored in a root cellar or cool location, you can save time in the kitchen. You can enjoy canned apples as is, or add them to your favorite baked, simmered, or fried recipes.
Choosing Apples For Canning…
Any apple variety is fine to can, but sweet varieties are better.
The type of apple you choose is not important, it could be a red apple or a green apple, or even a crabapple.
Choose apples that are ripe, firm, juicy, crispy, sweet, or tart (or both!) for canning.
If you don’t want your apples to turn into mush, you shouldn’t can them soft. They’ll still be good for other things though, like applesauce, apple butter, and jams like cranberry apple jam.
Raw Pack vs. Hot Pack Apple Canning…
The raw pack method of canning apples involves peeling and removing the core from the apples, cutting them into the desired pieces, and packing them into jars without cooking them beforehand.
This sounds easy enough, right?
While you process your apples in the water bath canner, they will shrink considerably, leaving you with half-empty jars on the shelves.
You need to boil the syrup before adding it to the raw packed apples.
I really don’t like it when there are half-empty jars on my shelves because it means that I spent a lot of time and money processing them for nothing.
Although this may sound counter-intuitive, fruit actually tastes and holds its shape better when canned.
You can raw pack your fruit, but you should consider the points above.
I prefer the hot pack method when canning apples, especially since I need to boil the syrup anyway.
In the hot pack method, you peel the apples, remove the core, cut them up, and cook them with the syrup for just a few minutes.
This cooking method helps release air from the fruit’s tissue, which allows us to fit more into a jar. It also helps prevent the fruit from floating in the jar, and helps keep the shape and taste of the fruit.
Tips for Canning Apples
The freshest, most crunch apples for canning are local ones that have just been harvested. Apples that have been in storage for a while (like the ones you find in stores during non-apple season) are not as fresh, crisp, or juicy.
Types of Apples for Canning
Choose apples that are crisp and will not turn to mush when cooked. Some good choices for baking are Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Honey gold, Gala, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp. You might want to use a combination of different types of apples to get a more complex flavor.
Applesauce can be made out of slightly damaged or softer varieties of apples, such as Jonagolds, Macouns, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious.
Choose apples that are fresh and firm, without any bruises or insect damage. They should also have a strong apple aroma. If you want to fill a canner, you will need 17.5 pounds of apples for 7 quarts, or 13.5 pounds for 9 pint-sized jars. This will depend on the size of the apple pieces.
Decide on the Jar Size
You should can apples in a mix of quarts and pints so that you have the right amount for different recipes. For example, a quart-sized jar can hold 3 pounds of apples, which is enough to make an apple pie or apple crisp.
You can process both pint and quart-sized jars in the same amount of time, so you can feel free to mix them up in the canner.
Select a Preserving Liquid
You can preserve apples in sugar syrup, honey syrup, apple juice, white grape juice, or even plain water. This helps to maintain flavor and shape.
This recipe uses a very light sugar syrup, but feel free to substitute any of these options:
Syrup for 9 Pint Sized Jars:
- Very Light: 6 1/2 cups water and 3/4 cups sugar
- Light: 5 3/4 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Medium: 5 1/4 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- Heavy: 5 cups water and 3 1/4 cups sugar
- Light Honey: 7 cups water and 1/2 cups mild honey
Syrup for 7 Quart Sized Jars:
- Very Light: 10 1/2 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar
- Light: 9 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- Medium: 8 1/4 cups sugar and 3 3/4 cups sugar
- Heavy: 7 3/4 cups sugar and 5 1/4 cups sugar
- Light Honey: 11 cups water and 1 cup honey
Steps to Canning Apples for Storage
This canning recipe calls for apples to be peeled, cored, cut into chunks, slices, quarters, or halves. The apples are then preserved in shelf-stable jars using a water bath canner.
Step 1: Gather your canning supplies
You will need the following canning and kitchen equipment:
- Water bath canner with canning rack
- 9 pint-sized canning jars
- Canning lids and bands (new lids for each jar, bands can be reused)
- Canning tools: jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Kitchen scale
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large saucepot, large prep bowl, kitchen towels, large slotted spoon, tongs, peeler, knife, and cutting board.
Step 2: Prepare the canning jars
The text says to wash the jars, lids, and canning equipment in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Check the jars for nicks and cracks and remove any that are damaged. Set the lids, bands, and tools aside to air-dry until ready to use.
Put the canning rack in the water bath canner. Put the jars in the canner upright. Add water to cover the jars. Bring the canner to a simmer (180?F) for 10 minutes. Keep hot until you are ready to fill them.
If the manufacturer provides directions on how to prepare the lids, these should be followed. Pre-heating lids is no longer necessary, but if you want to do this for safety reasons, you can add them to the canner when you are heating your jars.
Step 3: Make the syrup
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water, set aside. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and let it simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and set it aside.
Step 4: Prepare the Lemon Water
To stop the peeled apples from going brown, dip them in either lemon water or an ascorbic acid mixture (like Fruit-Fresh) following the instructions on the container.
Mix 1 gallon of cold water with the juice from one lemon or 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice to create a lemon water bath.
Step 5: Prepare the Apples
You should wash the apples thoroughly under clean water before doing anything else to them. Once they are washed, peel and cut them into halves, quarters, chunks, or slices. As you work on the apples, add them to the lemon bath.
Step 6: Simmer the Apples in the Syrup
After the apples have been peeled and cored, add them to the pot of sugar syrup. Cover the pot and turn up the heat to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and let the apples simmer for 5 minutes.
Partially cooking the apples before canning them helps to remove the air from the fruit, so that it will be less likely to float or absorb extra liquid when processed.
Step 7: Can the Apples
Place a kitchen towel on the counter and use the jar lifter to remove a hot jar from the canner. Drain the jar and place it on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner so they stay warm.
Pick up the apples with tongs and put them in the jar. Pour the hot syrup over the apples with a canning funnel and ladle, making sure to leave a 1/2-inch headspace. To keep the syrup from siphoning out, make sure the apples are covered with syrup while still allowing for adequate headspace.
To prepare the jars, wipe the rim of each one with a damp towel to remove any residue. Center a lid on the top of each jar, and then place a band over the lid. Screw the band on until it is fingertip tight. Place the jars back into the canner, and repeat the process with the remaining jars.
Firstly, make sure that the water level is covering the jars by two inches then bring the canner to a boil. Secondly, processing in a boiling water canner for the times indicated in the recipe below. After that, letting the jars cool completely and then test the seals, label, and date. Lastly, stored them in a cool, dark location. Canned foods are best if eaten within a year and are safe as long as the lids remain sealed.
Syrup Options For Canning Apples…
You can choose to can apples in honey syrup or sugar syrup. If you prefer sugar syrup, you can choose from very light syrup to heavy syrup.
To make a honey syrup for canning apples, mix 1.5 cups of honey with 5 cups of water.
To make a sugar syrup for canning about 12 pounds of apples, combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has reached a boil, continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
To make a light syrup, use 3/4 cup sugar to 6 1/2 cups of water or…
To make a light syrup, mix 1 – 1 1/2 cups of sugar with 5 3/4 cups of water.
I prefer to use light sugar syrup. It’s more affordable than other syrups and it doesn’t affect the taste of the fruit.
The NCHFP has measurements for using a heavier syrup, if you wish to use one.
Preparing the Apples For Canning in Light Syrup…
The first step is to prepare the apples for canning. This is the most difficult and time-consuming part. Once you are finished with this, the rest is easy.
I begin by peeling just a few apples at once…
I then cut the apples into quarters, angling my knife to remove the core (which I sometimes use to make apple cider vinegar)…
Then, I slice each quarter in three…
Cut the apple into slices, and then cut the slices into smaller pieces if desired.
I keep a bowl of cold water with lemon juice close by to prevent the apples from browning.
I cut the apples into small pieces and put them in a bowl of water. I keep them underwater so they won’t turn brown.
Preparing the Canning Equipment…
I peel and core the apples while the water bath canner heats up on the stovetop.
I fill my canner with enough water to cover my pint jars by about an inch. I add the jars to the canner, setting them on the rack, and I let the water in the canner come to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, I lower the heat to keep it hot and let it boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the jars.
I add the lids and bands for the canning jars to a small pot and cover them with water. I set the pot on the stovetop and bring the water to a boil. I let the water boil for 5 minutes before turning the heat off.
I keep the lids and bands in the pantry until I am ready to use them.
Processing Apples In The Canner…
I add the jars of food to the boiling water in the canner and turn the heat back up to high.
I process both pints and quarts for 20 minutes.
I turn the heat off and uncover the canner 20 minutes after I started it. I let the jars hang in there for 5 minutes before I use the jar lifters to remove them.
After baking the cookies, I put them on a kitchen towel to cool down overnight.
How to Store Canned Apples…
After the jars have cooled, I check to see if they are sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid. If the lid is not moving, it means that the jar is sealed.
Jars that aren’t sealed can either be processed again (open the jar and remove some of the apples. Then clean the rim again and close the jar. Check your lid, you might need a new one. Then process again), or stored in the fridge.
I take the band off of the jars that are ready to be stored, so that I can see inside them better.
I wipe the jars clean with a cloth and set them on the shelf.
The apples will last between 12-18 months.
How to Use Canned Apples…
You can use canned apples in any recipe that calls for fresh apples.
I use apples in my favorite cake, or in an apple crisp, cobbler, or pie.
You can also put them on pancakes or French crepes, or add them to a bowl of ice cream or homemade yogurt and granola.
The possibilities are endless!