How to Prepare Apples for Pies and Desserts: Canning Your Apples

If you happen to be fortunate enough to have access to loads of apples, then do yourself a favor and put some up for winter pies. If you like to bake at all, you will be happy to know that you have a good supply of ready-to-use apples suitable for pies, cobblers, and nearly all other apple desserts.

Here is what you will need:

  • Fresh, tart baking-style apples
  • A light syrup (made with sugar and water)
  • Colander
  • Paring knife
  • Apple peeler (optional)
  • Cutting board
  • Large cooking pot
  • Canning jars, lids and rings, jar lifter, tongs
  • Boiling waterbath or steam canner

Step One - Wash and Drain Apples

Wash firm, fresh, tart apples to rid them of dust and leaves.
Wash firm, fresh, tart apples to rid them of dust and leaves.
Drain them well.
Drain them well.

Step Two - Peel, Cut, and Core Apples

Peel (if desired) and quarter apples for easy slicing. Core them.
Peel (if desired) and quarter apples for easy slicing. Core them.
If making apple cider vinegar (more about that another time), save peels.
If making apple cider vinegar (more about that another time), save peels.
Slice apples into cooking pot.
Slice apples into cooking pot.

Step Three - Cook Apples in Light Syrup; Prepare Jars and Equipment

Prepare a sugar-water syrup of 1:3 (one part sugar to 3 parts water), enough to just cover apples. Cook 5 minutes, to shrink apples slightly.
Prepare a sugar-water syrup of 1:3 (one part sugar to 3 parts water), enough to just cover apples. Cook 5 minutes, to shrink apples slightly.
Meanwhile, check jars for nicks, cracks, and other problems. Wash in hot, soapy water. Scald if necessary. Wash lids and rings.
Meanwhile, check jars for nicks, cracks, and other problems. Wash in hot, soapy water. Scald if necessary. Wash lids and rings.
Set lids in a small pan and pour scalding water over them, or simmer them slowly in a saucepan of water. DO NOT BOIL! Leave them in the water until you use them.
Set lids in a small pan and pour scalding water over them, or simmer them slowly in a saucepan of water. DO NOT BOIL! Leave them in the water until you use them.
Ladle or spoon hot applesand syrup into hot, sterile jars, to within 1/2" of rim, with syrup to cover. (Apples may float.)
Ladle or spoon hot applesand syrup into hot, sterile jars, to within 1/2" of rim, with syrup to cover. (Apples may float.)
Adjust two-piece lids - snug, but not tight, and place jars in boiling waterbath canner rack.
Adjust two-piece lids - snug, but not tight, and place jars in boiling waterbath canner rack.

Step Four - Process in Boiling Waterbath Canner

Place jars in boiling waterbath canner, with 1" of water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil, and process pints and quarts both 20 minutes.
Place jars in boiling waterbath canner, with 1" of water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil, and process pints and quarts both 20 minutes.
Remove jars to a draft-free area on a board or towel to cool for 12 hours, or until thoroughly cool. Lids will "ping" and seal during this time.
Remove jars to a draft-free area on a board or towel to cool for 12 hours, or until thoroughly cool. Lids will "ping" and seal during this time.
Test lids for good seal (push on centers to see if they are sucked down properly), then wash jars to remove any stickiness from processing, and store in a cool, dark place.
Test lids for good seal (push on centers to see if they are sucked down properly), then wash jars to remove any stickiness from processing, and store in a cool, dark place.

Nice Idea...But Skip Microwave Method (Could Steam or Fry Apples)

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Comments 16 comments

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks

Great hub. I loved all the pictures. Some of our apples look like that first photo on the tree. They are not all perfectly round, and have all sorts of imperfections. Bow, my chimpanzee, sometimes has to be reassured that they are fine for eating, though they are not like store bought apples in appearance.

I don't can our apples, though, because we like them fresh better. My daughter is not a big fan of apple pie or applesauce, and I myself worry about eating anything processed, even if processed at home.

But you did make it look like lots of fun and very appetizing!


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

Aya, thank you! The apples in these pictures came from a friend, and were the best apples I have ever tasted. Alas, no one's fruit trees are doing particularly well this year, so there has been very little to share.

Besides canning them different ways, we put up a great quantity of apples in boxes last year, stored in a cool place, for fresh eating, and those lasted a few months.

I agree that eating processed foods can be a bad thing, so I try to keep it to a minimum, but our winters are sometimes eight months long, with snow on the ground from October through June. This doesn't leave much time for growing fresh food, without a hoop house or something similar, which I don't yet have. Our freezers are usually filled with meat, as we butcher for ourselves, and our dog is raw fed, so this is not much of an option for vegetables and fruits, either. I dry many foods, besides canning, and am convinced this is a great option for some things.


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 5 years ago from Hither and Yonder

This is a good idea. I like to can little apples whole, for eating with deserts in the winter. They come out tasting very much like cold baked apples.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

Terrific hub and very useful. I love the idea of using pictures to explain the process. I miss canning and use to do quite a bit with my great-grandmother. I have to agree that sometimes drying the food is a better option. My kids love the apples I sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and dry. Thanks for the post.


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 5 years ago from Plains of Colorado

Home canned fruit--What a difference between this and the commercial products, especially, I think, when it comes to what are called pie fillings! I will stick with what is on my shelves, and be grateful for the chance to prepare our own food.


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

Ivorwen, canning little apples whole is a great idea...as long as you're sure there aren't any creatures who have taken up residence inside the apples. One year, I had an infestation of earwigs and other insects, and had to spend time cutting all my tiny green apples, to check them. But it was worth it.

You're right about the baked apples. Cold canned apples can be delicious.


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

Tlpoague, those sound like precious memories of working with your great-grandmother.

That's a great idea about the cinnamon and sugar on dried apples. I usually leave my dried apple slices plain, as my kids are both sugar-sensitive, but that sounds fun for a change.


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

LiftedUp, how right you are about those pie fillings! I, too, am grateful for home-canned fillings that actually taste like food, not over-sugared, bland mush. :)


fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

Great Hub! the photos are beautiful and explanatory. Thanks!


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

Fucsia, thank you!


Darla 5 years ago

My Grandma used to can apples. She called them stewed apples. They were in a light syrup and sliced. She would put a jar in the frig and we would eat them cold. I also grew up with apple rings. You used to be able to get these at the store but I have not seen them for a long time.


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 5 years ago Author

Darla, I have made apple rings. They're fun for a change. We also enjoy the canned apples cold out of the fridge, as well as in baked goods.

Good memories!


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this hub. I am so glad I came across it. I enjoy home canning and this was an excellent tutorial for canning apples for apple pie. I did a lot of that kind of canning with my grandmother and children.


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 4 years ago Author

Mljdgulley, great memories, huh? And great food!


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 4 years ago

It is great food. I made an apple pie from my canned apples for Thanksgiving. It was gone in minutes


ButterflyWings profile image

ButterflyWings 4 years ago Author

Mljdgulley, I am so glad everyone enjoyed the results of your excellent planning and superior baking!

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    ButterflyWings117 Followers
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    Butterfly has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.



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