October 5, 2010

Apples have never struck me as a farmstand item that needed to be canned. After all, Nob Hill Orchards and the amazing Susan Behling shows up at our little Broad Branch/Lafayette Elementary School market year round. Susan and George – they know how to store apples. As late as March, their apples taste fresh and crisp. I think there are at least 30 varieties, tho only a dozen or so appear at market each week.

Because there is no scarcity of good, local apples, I can always make a batch of applesauce if we’re having latkes or pork chops or some other food that begs for a side of that cinnamon-y apple goodness. Applesauce was the first recipe I learned in seventh grade Home Economics; consequently, I’ve never seen the reason to buy it ready made.

So, over the years, I’ve looked at recipes for canning applesauce or cinnamon-red-hot apple rings or other old fashioned apple pickles and preserves, and other than Apple Pie Jam, was not motivated. In fact, most years, I pack away the canning equipment October 1st and set my focus on holiday cooking.

This year is different. Eugenia Bone is to blame. I couldn’t get her recipe for Spiced Apples out of my head. And from now on, it will have a place on the pantry shelves. Brilliant – having the filling for a little apple turnover on the shelf! I love the stuff. It has a great texture, much more mouth-satisfaction than applesauce and a super fresh, just picked flavor that thrilled me.

There were a few things that went awry, or weren’t clear, in the recipe. Here are some notes.

You’re instructed to grate the apples on a box grater, peel and all, right down to the core. Or put the peeled and cored apples through the food processor to grate. I had a hard time understanding why I shouldn’t include the peel if I used the food processor, so left it on. This made quick work of six pounds of apples – the whole coring/grating part took about 10 minutes, total.

The trick to this recipe is in packing the jars. They need to be well-packed, and you’ll need to be sure to remove the air bubbles by pressing with this bubble remover,  or a knife, all along the inside of the jar. Be careful about headspace. Be meticulous about wiping the tops of the jars. I had some siphoning in my first batch and I think it was caused by a big air bubble that popped the seal and spilled over during processing.

I also opted not to save the apple juice for granita, as Ms. Bone suggests, but put it right back into the syrup for a double dose of apple goodness. (I did taste some of it first and it was the BEST apple juice I’ve ever had. Really made me wonder if I should be canning apple juice.)

I loved these apples spooned into 5″ circles of pie crust, folded over into half moons and crimped, then baked for 30 minutes. The perfect little hand pie.

On a whim, I added half a jar to a big saute of red cabbage, onions and red wine vinegar, for a sweet and sour kraut that rocked.

What would you do with a jar full of crispy, spiced apples?


Spiced Apples
slightly adapted from Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone
Makes 4 pints

6 lbs. mixed apples – a blend of sweet, tart, firm, and sauce apples
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp Citric Acid – Fruit Fresh

Line a large colander with a clean cotton towel and place it over a big bowl.
Wash the apples and cut around the core in large chunks.
Put these large apple pieces through the food processor’s grating disk.
Scoop out the apples and press them into the towel lined colander.
Sprinkle 1/4 c sugar and the spices over the apples and gently mix with your hands.
Gather the towel and squeeze the grated apples well, but not obsessively. You’ll have 2-3 c liquid.
Pour the apple juice into your preserving pot or a large stockpot. Add the remaining sugar.
Bring the sugar and juice to a boil and add in the apples, stirring to coat.
Bring the mixture up to a big boil for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
To each sterilized pint jars add 1/2 tsp Fruit Fresh and pack well with the apple mixture. Leave 1/2″ headspace.
If you have packed the pints properly, you will have little or no apple left in the pot.
Wipe the rims, place the lids and rings, and finger tighten.
Process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.  Check the seals the next day and reprocess if necessary.


46 Responses to “Spiced Apples in a Jar”

    • Cathy

      I’m sure the Fruit Fresh is used to preserve the color (although it still is a dull brown – from the cinnamon) and I imagine lemon would work. The recipe calls for citric acid, perhaps to keep the apples from tasting lemony?

  1. Paige

    OMG your little hand pies look amazing. I am going to show this post to my son tonight (he’s 6). He’s going to BEG me to make it!!! Thanks for the awesome tips and recipe!

  2. cathie

    The little pies look amazing!!! Think I may try it!!! Looks hard, but sounds easy.

  3. Barb Chamberlain

    Sounds terrific. I found you through FoodinJars.

    I cut every corner I can in a recipe that doesn’t affect the results. Would it be radically different if you didn’t press out the juice and cook it first with the sugar, but just tossed it all in together?

    I know boiling sweet/sugary juices creates a bit of syrup but wouldn’t that form anyway? You’re squeezing the juice out and mixing it back together, which feels like an extra step one might be able to skip.

    (I may try this and post results but if anyone knows, that would be great to know in advance.)


    • Cathy

      Barb, I think the reason the sugar and juice need to be cooked first is to avoid overcooking the apples. Hope you make it! I love these apples.

  4. Talia

    I made these last week and they were divine! We got 4.5 jars out of the recipe. We added the extra half jar to cabbage and onions with vinegar and it made a perfect side dish for pork chops. The remaining 4 are sitting on a shelf waiting to be given away as Christmas gifts, although part of me wants to keep them all to myself to use all winter long. Mmmmmmm. I love your blog and all of your wonderful ideas!

  5. heather

    I am so looking forward to making this so I can add it to my ‘what to make with apples” list! Thank you for posting.

  6. Annisa

    Thanks for the great recipe! I just made it and it was very easy. BUT . . . I messed up. I forgot to add the citric acid and the pints are already processing. Does this mean I’ll have to use it all right away or will it still be okay to store for the future?

    • Cathy

      Hi Annisa, The citric acid keeps the product nice and fresh, as well as fresh looking. I would use your jars in the next three months, and make another batch that will keep for a year.

  7. tara

    could you, in theory, just use sliced apples instead of grating them for more ‘apple pie’ size slices to pour into the crust? or is there a specific reason that you can think of to have the apples grated??

    • Cathy

      I think you could make apple pie filling with sliced apples, but would guess you would need to add liquid. Because these apples are grated, they exude a lot of moisture, and you even squeeze them a little -not something you want to do with sliced apples.

  8. Tess

    What do you think of combining the apples with cabbage after squeezing them out and canning that together? Could i augment the juice with apple juice if i don’t have enough?

    • Cathy

      Hi Tess, I think adding cabbage will fiddle with the acidity, and may make the combination unsafe for canning. Cabbage, other than sauerkraut and kimchee (both lacto fermented) isn’t really suitable for canning. After all, it’s one of the vegetables that would have been kept cold in the root cellar over winter!

  9. GENNY

    Hi I am looking for a receipe to can apples. Either in chunks of apple rings. Please help me. I have a llot of apples that I don’t want to go to waste. Everyone I talke to will not give up their receipe. I love the ones u can buy injars AUNT NELLIES.

    • GENNY


  10. Nina

    I want to make these apples using 1/2 pint jars. I made the recipe last year using the pint jars – it was devine!!! Is the water bath cooking time the only thing I need to adjust in the recipe? Has anyone else made it in half pints? A pint of apples is just too much for my husband and me to finish after the jar is opened.

    Thanks for a reply. I’m making the apples tomorrow. I post how they came out.

  11. Vera

    What size do you cut out your pie rounds, and how many handpies do you get from one pint?


    • Vera

      Oops – I see they are 5″ rounds – so just need to know how much you put in a round and how many handpies do you get from one pint.


  12. Vera

    This is a wonderful recipe and makes up into the best little handheld pies. I pressured canned mine according to the canner’s book in order t not heat up the house so much.

    Very good. . . very convenient.

    Thanks for posting.

  13. Valerie

    Do you think that it would be ok to double this recipe? I have a lot of apples and this would be a great time saver.

  14. April

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog, this looks like a wonderful idea, my grandma would always can apples and apple sauce but never a grated version, that is a wonderful idea I have so many apple recipes that call for shredded apple that jars of them would be very handy. One of these days I really need to learn to can! 🙂 Great post!

  15. Autumn

    I just came across this recipe on my search for something new to do with apples and i have to say im totally sold on it and have gotten thumbs up from the family as well. i love that the apples still have a crunch to them. super delicious. thanks for posting!

  16. Janet

    Good morning. I just wanted to let you know these are the best things in the world! When I am making cinnamon rolls or cinnamon swirl bread, after putting the cinnamon and sugar layer on the dough, I add a layer of these before rolling up. OMG. Can I just say, to die for! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  17. Veggietater

    Thanks, I made a few physical changes but loved the recipe. I just cored the apples, cut them into rings (slices) and added a few slices of fresh beet for the red color I remembered as a kid, awesome!

  18. GENNY

    Hi. Thank you for your reply, however I am looking for a receipe for candied apples, like the Aunt Nellies in a jar.



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