There is nothing quite like the fragrance of apple pie baking in the oven on a cold winter’s day. Although you can purchase apple pie filling, or take the time to pare and slice fresh apples, making your own pie filling ahead of time provides you with a quick apple pie filling at your fingertips. Spending a chilly fall afternoon paring and preparing fresh apples for winter pies is sure to be appreciated in the midst of winter.
Select firm, crisp apples free of blemishes and bruises. The University of Maine Extension recommends 1 lb. of tart apples to 3 lbs. of sweet apples for best flavor.
Wash the apples under cold running water to remove any insect or pesticide residue. Remove the stem and any fragments of leaves.
Peel and core the apples with an apple peeler.
Slice apples into 1/2-inch slices. Place in a mixture of 1 tsp. ascorbic acid and 6 vitamin C tablets per gallon of water. This prevents apple slices from discoloring.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar to the water and stir to dissolve. Boil for 5 minutes to create syrup for the apples. Add the apples to the syrup and heat through.
Fill sterilized canning jars with the apple slices and syrup. Apple slices should be completely covered with syrup.
Seal the jars and process in a hot water bath for 20 to 25 minutes. Process time begins when water boils.
Remove the jars with tongs and place on a folded towel in a draft-free area to cool. Check that cooled apples are sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If the lid remains indented they have sealed properly. Unsealed jars may be stored in the refrigerator up to one week.
Store in a cool dry area out of direct sunlight for winter use.
Use canned apple slices for making pies, but omit sugar from the recipe.