It’s not been a good year for apples around here in regards to sales. I’ve really only seen Gala apples on special, and those prices were still unimpressive. Even at the farmers market section, it was slim pickings. Thankfully, I found Honey Crisp apples for a good price considering the variety, so I bought a 34 pound box.
Having home canned pie filling on my shelf is a gift to myself all year. I make cobblers, pies and hand pies. Remember tv dinners from back in the day, with the little apple pie on the side of salisbury steak? Use your canned pie filling for an unexpected treat on your family’s dinner plate too.
I still have blueberry, blackberry and strawberry pie filling tucked away, but I’m down to only a couple jars of apple pie filling. Sadly, I neglected to can peach pie filling this summer, but I can’t go without apple pie filling. This year I decided to do half cranberry apple and half just apple. (I canned 16 quarts total) Not only are the bright berries festive in the jars, but they add a pop of tang to the sweet, rich apples. A jar of this would make a fun Christmas gift too. . . hummmm. You could mix the dry ingredients to the topping of this cobbler, and pair it with the pie filling in a festive bag. Come to think of it, one of my friends reading this post should expect me to show up with this at her door next month.
This recipe uses Clear-Jel, which is a modified cornstarch tested safe for canning. Do not add this thickener to the mixture when it’s hot – follow the instructions, otherwise you will end up with little balls of Clear-Jel in your liquid and will be forced to strain it out and start over. Don’t ask me how I know . . .
I’m buying a box of raspberries from Azure Standard this month, and intend on canning up some pie filling with that fruit as well. The frozen fruit prices on blueberries and raspberries are fantastic on that site. I bought blueberries this summer, made blueberry pie filling, blueberry juice, and canned blueberries in a light lavender syrup. I froze some as well. If you happen to purchase from them, please consider using my share code, LauraMacklem1. This doesn’t cost you any money, or commit you to anything, but rather gives me credit allowing me to purchase their items and review them for you. Azure Standard issued a statement that because of supply issues, the prices of their frozen raspberries will be going up, so I would order now if you are interested. Currently for a 20 pound box, they are only $2.22 a pound for raspberry pieces.
For the apple juice in this recipe, I add water to my apple scraps to make a juice instead of buying commercial. I can leftover juice for future pie filling recipes, and make apple scrap cider.
Canned Apple Cranberry Pie Filling
Yield, 7 Quarts
5 1/2 quarts apples, peeled and cut into chunky slices
1 12 oz bag of cranberries
5 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups Clear-Jel
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
8 cups sugar-free apple juice (I make mine from apple scraps)
3/4 cup bottled lemon juice, plus 2 TBSP more for treating apples
Prepare apples by peeling, and cutting into chunky slices. Place in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice or citric acid to prevent browning while prepping.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook apples for one minute, then plunge back in cold water.
Mix Clear-Jel, sugar and spices, then add apple juice. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. You need to stir almost constantly to prevent the Clear-Jel from gumming up and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Add lemon juice then bring back to a boil. Add the apples and cranberries. Fill quart jars, leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
I know what you are going to say – that much head space is not approved. However, Clear-Jel expands and the filling ends up oozing out of your jars if you don’t leave ample head space. When you pull your jars from the canner with 1 1/2 inch of head space, they will end up being completely full due to expansion, but no oozing. I suppose this is a rebel method, which I learned from The Kneady Homesteader. It works.
Clean the rims of your jars well, and secure lids and rings. Water bath can for 25 minutes.
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Can I substitute Ocean Spray cranberry juice for apple juice?