I can't remember how the idea of canning pie filling came up, but I knew that sometime this fall I would re-purpose the Ball jars we used to create the centerpieces at Bonnie and Nate's anniversary party:
They are quart-sized so they're too big for jams or jellies, and I'm confident in my made-in-bulk soup abilities, so we decided on apple pie filling. It will be so nice to just whip out a jar and pour it into a pie crist when we have guests over or just feel like an apple pie. Huge time saver!
Right after I took that canning class at UR's Center for Culinary Arts, I wanted to buy all the canning supplies we used, but I thought I should wait a few weeks to make sure I'd use them before just buying them on impulse. But once we planned this day, I went on a mission to find a pot, canning rack, and this awesome tool/utensil set from Ball. We used all those items today, and I sent Bonnie home with her own set of tools to use later.
I put 7 quart-sized Ball jars in the canning rack, and added that to the stock pot full of water. I let them simmer for an hour or so to make sure the jars were warm when we added the ingredients. The internets told me that if we poured hot filling into a room temperature jar, it would crack. That wouldn't end well for anyone, so I thought we'd avoid that part.
While they were simmering, Bonnie and I chopped up our apples. I got about 6 lbs. of Jonagolds - enough to fill 7 jars, which conveniently is how many the canning rack holds. It's funny how recipes work out that way. :)
When all the apples were chopped up and the jars were out of the water bath, I filled each with a crapload of apples. I thought for sure we cut way too many apples, but it was just the right amount!
Then we made the ooey-gooey filling in a saucepan:
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. salt
- 10 cups water
We used a plastic knife (for the same reason we boiled the jars before added ingredients - cold knife+warm jar=explosion) to work out any air bubbles and then added the seals and lids to the jars.
***We should have put them on tightly for their water bath, but my memory failed me and I thought we were supposed to put them on loosely until after they were sealed. So we did this next part twice, and I hope it doesn't affect the results. The first time the lids were loose, the second time the lids were tight.
Once the lids were on, we put the jars back into the water bath and brought the water up to a boil for 20 minutes to seal the jars. Take the jars out of the water bath and let them cool. It may take up to 24 hours for you to hear the popping sound of the seal, but some of ours were sealed within an hour or so.
Here's the finished product:
Stay tuned for BFF Project Day: Part II - Crafty Signage