Apple pie filling for pies? Who needs that. No crust necessary here, this lady's filling goes straight from jar to mouth. Unfortunately, this childhood, now adult-maintained autumnal habit has lead to some severe cases of sugar rush, especially if an entire pint is consumed. Oops! For this reason I drastically reduce the sugar content of the filling and replace the majority of it with apple juice or cider. Better for the waistline and I'm not bouncing off the wall like a four year old post trick-or-treating.
Thanks to the some handy dandy help from Norma MacRae's Canning and Preserving Without Sugar, I was able to concoct a recipe that made me feel much better about eating my quart...er half pint of filling straight from the jar.
Please do feel free to actually use the filling for pie, or do like me and just eat straight from the jar. There WILL be juice leftover after you transfer the apples to their jars and pour over enough liquid to cover, but save and have nummy apple cider to sip while you await your 20 minute canning period. As always...bon appétit!
Apple Pie Filling
8 cups of apples, cored and sliced as for a pie (I leave the skins on)
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/2-1 c. dark brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice…I would avoid stevia)
3 cups apple cider
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Sterilize pint jars in your canner for at least 10 minutes prior to canning.
Combine the cider, sugar, water, vinegar and spices in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Cut and core the apples to your liking and dump them into the the stock pot filled with your liquid ingredients and return to a boil.
Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes stirring often.
Remove from heat and pack apples, draining them briefly, into pint jars and pat them down to squish out air pockets. Once all the pints have been filled and thoroughly smooshed down add the liquid, again using a knife to knock out any air pockets that might be hiding amid the appley goodness. Wait a few minutes before sealing them to allow the liquid to settle and add more liquid to the jars to reach the liquid point about 1/4 inch above the tops of the jars.
Clean the rims with a damp paper towel and apply fresh lids and screw top and process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes.
After 20, remove the jars from your canner and leave them covered with a towel undisturbed for 24 hours.
When they have cooled and "popped" tap to ensure the jars have sealed and store in your special "canning" collection spot.
When the winter blues role around pop a jar and enjoy a lovely little spoonful of fall amid wind and snow.