Small Business Saturday in Lancaster County


Small Business Logo2014Keith & I often wish we had more time for during the work day to get out and see what our customers are doing with all of those jars, lids, and candle making supplies that get packed into trunks, vans, trailers and trucks!

Well, this year, I managed to get out and explore so that we can do something a little different for Small Business Saturday. We’ve chosen a handful of local businesses who have chosen to support other local businesses – folks who carefully create incredible food products – mostly made with ingredients from our region, and those who create incredible bath & body products, candles, detergents & soaps using mostly natural ingredients.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the great locally made products that the industrious and creative folks of Lancaster County have to offer.

Lemon Street MarketBlogLemonStreet

In downtown Lancaster City, Lemon Street Market boasts an impressive array of food offerings from local artisans and crafters in our region including:

Linden Dale’s incredible Goat Cheese & yogurt collection and Fiddle Creek Dairy’s Swiss Yoghurt.Blog Linden Dale Farm Yogurt

The incredibly delicious Simply Ghee products.Blog-Simply Ghee

Carefully crafted sauces by Cortazzo Foods and Christina Maser’s Pantry.Blog-Cortazzo Foods Sauces Lemon street Market

Tasty sweet & savory jams, jellies & spreads and other preserved goods from Tait Farm, and Christina’s Pantry.Curdelicious & Tit Farm Lemon Street Market Specialty condiments and dressing and herb blends from Chef Tim, Happy Hal’s Jalapeño Relish, and Christina’s Pantry Hot Sauce.Blog Hals and Hot sauce

Honey from Stockin’s Apiaries and BeeBees All Naturals. Honey Lemon Street MarketAn amazing assortment of veggies pickled by the likes of Epic Pickles. Epic Pickles Lemon Street MarketThey also carry a green line of bath, body, candles & laundry products from Tandi’s Naturals, Christina Maser Soaps & Candles.

Fresh Vintage by Amy


Located on the square in Strasburg, Fresh Vintage by Amy carries Good Neighbor Candles and the complete line of Tandi’s Naturals, Christina Maser Soaps & Candles, along with her Preserves and a wide selection of other locally handcrafted items.BlogCollage - fresh vintage Amy


Lititz boasts a great gourmet cooking store that offers classes, local products from several local Lititz favorites including Curdelicious, local honey from Walt’s Bees along with products from Cortazzo Foods and Christina Maser’s Pantry, and Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op.Zest Lititz

Kauffman’s Fruit Farm

Located in Bird-in-Hand, Kauffman’s Fruit Farm not only offers an incredible selection of fresh local fruits, but their own home made fruit butters, additive air-dried Apple Schnitz, a wide selection of jams & jellies as well as locally produced honey.

Kauffmans collage

Many of these businesses, along with many more small businesses, can also be found at some of the local year-round markets; Lancaster Central Market, The Green Dragon Farmer’s MarketRoot’s Country Market. Visit-Lancaster-PA-Logo

To discover other exceptional Lancaster County businesses checkout

We encourage you to get out there and support your local small businesses, farmers, growers and crafters!

Do you have a favorite product or a business that you’d like included in our Small Business Saturday feature in 2015? Let us know, and we will happily add you!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014


Every year we put together some of our favorite things in hopes that you’ll find something perfect for someone on your list, or maybe something to add to your own wish list! We’ve expanded our list this year, adding some ideas for DIY gifts.  And for those of us that aren’t so crafty, or might not have the time to make your own, we have some ideas for you too! Psst…we are giving away a $50 credit to Fillmore Container to get you started on your shopping list – enter here. Happy shopping!

Gift Guide - Fillmore ContainerFillmore’s Best Sellers

We have lots of great things to choose from at Fillmore Container. Every holiday season, there are a few items that stand out as the favorites…here they are.
Water Bath Canner – Introduce someone to canning and get them the essentials.
Cherry Pitter – We love, love, love this handy tool. We even made a video about it!
Party Supplies – Oh, so many fun ways to dress up your party!Top Christmas Straws Lids Jars

Canning Books  – A library of resources for veteran canners or newbies. Right now, we are having a SALE on our book collection! Save $3 when your $30 product order includes a book! Use code book3 at checkout.
*While supplies last.Canning Library - FIllmore ContainerCandle Tools – A perfect hostess gift that will keep candles burning their best.
ReCAPS – Use as a dispensing lid, for fermenting, and so many other things.
Orchard Road Jars – Sleek new jars with pretty packaging.Orchard Road Canning jars empty closeBall’s Heritage Collection – Limited edition jars in blue & green perfect for a collector!
French Square – We use them for gifting homemade goods.
JarBox – Store or tote your preserves safely, in this plastic container.
Pantry Jars – These jars are so pretty, fun to customize, and very useful.HeritageHillCollectionFunnels – This might be the most useful kitchen tool you ever give someone.
Cuppows – Lots of fun new colors for sipping a drink from a jar.
BNTO – A regular guest in our packed lunches.

Fillmore’s Favorite Homemade GiftsDIY gift collage

If you are a DIY, make your own kind of gift giver, this list is for you.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Mulled Spices
Cranberry – Rosemary Vinegar
Almond Butter Crunch
Spiced Apple Rings
Grilling Rubs
Mason Jar Lanterns
Spice Mixes
Body Scrubs & Body Butters
Pear Vanilla Jam
Mason Jar Mug Cozies

Fillmore’s Favorite Gift Ideas

If you don’t have the time to make your own, but still want to give something just as special, one of these ideas will delight you.Gift Ideas 2014

Get your Ferment on!
Turn your mason jars into fermenting machines with the right parts from Fermentools.

Wrap up your Mason jar in a cozie:
Mason Jar Mug Cozies
Mason Jar Sleeve
Custom made Mason Jar Cozy

Something Sweet or Spicy for the Kitchen:
Spoonable indulgence in a jar!
Fresh Batch Jams
Infused Spreads
Sunchowder’s Emporium
Callicuts Spices
Born to Hula All Natural Hot Sauce 
Torchbearer Sauces

Pamper your Senses:

Sweet Grass Farm, The Joyful Bath, Lantern Hill Candle Works and Farm House Fresh have whipped up some glorious products. Have you tried the Pajama Paste! If candles are your thing the Outer Banks Candle Company and GreenMarket Purveying Co.  have archival styled products whose labels you won’t want to rip off!

If you didn’t find that perfect something here, you are sure to find something on one of our Pinterest boards.

Don’t forget Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 29, 2014!

We have some great local businesses here in Lancaster County, many of which sell our customers products. We’ve made a list of a few of our favorite Lancaster County crafted products and the Lancaster businesses where you can find them here. We encourage you to get out and explore your own local small businesses!

Very Merry DIY Gifting Ideas + 2 Giveaways!


We’ve been busy testing some new DIY holiday gifting ideas, and have enjoyed reading the ideas from our friend, Kate Payne, of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. Kate made raw live vinegar from fruit scraps and is gifting them in our French Square Dairy Jars. What a great way to eliminate food waste and make a unique gift for family and friends! You can win your own case of our French Square Dairy Jars and lids on her blog. (Photo credit- Kate Payne)RealVinegar- Hip Girl

There are many great ideas for homemade gifts that we thought it would be helpful to put them all in one spot for you. We hope these ideas will jump start a DIY gift frenzy.

Fillmore’s Favorite Homemade GiftsDIY gift collage

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Mulled Spices
Cranberry – Rosemary Vinegar
Almond Butter Crunch
Spiced Apple Rings
Grilling Rubs
Mason Jar Lanterns
Spice Mixes
Body Scrubs & Body Butters
Pear Vanilla Jam
Mason Jar Mug Cozies

Kate Payne has lots of other DIY holiday gift ideas too. Here are few that we really love!

Raw Live Vinegar
Homemade Infusions – liqueurs, extracts, and bitters.
Peppermint Marshmallows
Meyer Lemon Bath Salts

Don’t forget to think about some pretty ways to dress up your gifts! We have a few ideas on how to, wrap it up, and label it here. Labeling your gift is often part of the fun, especially if you do something really creative like chalkboard labels.

To help you get started on your gift giving projects we are giving away a $50 credit to shop Fillmore Container. Enter your chance below.

What are you going to make?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Tips to get Holiday Packages on Time


The holidays are right around the corner and it’s very important to us that you receive all your orders when you need them. Here are a fNew Shippment Snipew tips to help us ensure everyone’s package arrives on time.

#1. Order early to allow for unforeseen delays! Winter happens and weather trumps delivery guarantees with carriers. Peak holiday shipments also cause delays; allow extra time for UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages picked up or scheduled for delivery between Dec. 11 and Dec. 24, 2014.

#2. Use our shipping estimate tool to determine estimated arrival dates, and to determine which shipping method will work best for you. You’ll find the shipping estimate tool in your shopping cart. Check the UPS year-end holiday schedule here.

#3. Consider shipping black out dates for carriers. These are times when packages do not move, even if they have already left our facility and are taken into consideration in our ETA.

#4. Provide a valid email address when checking out to receive a shipment tracking email, and track the timeline for delivery once it leaves our facility.

#5. We celebrate the holidays too (plus the ever-popular year-end inventory reconciliation)! Please note that we will be closed on November 27 & 28, 2014, and December 25, 26, 30, 31, 2014, and January 1, 2015.

DIY – How to make your own Vanilla Extract


Have you ever wondered if it is cheaper to make your own vanilla extract?Blog-Vanilla Extract Funnel 2

We were quite curious about the real savings, and we’ve wanted to try making our own extract for a long time. We also thought that homemade vanilla extract would make great holiday gifts. Since we are in gift giving season, we thought it was the perfect time to test a recipe and determine the savings.  Here’s what we discovered.

Vodka isn’t a stock item in our home, so it was easy to start from scratch and figure the actual cost per jar. We wanted to use them as part of our Christmas giving this year so we made a lot! If decent vodka is a regular in your kitchen, you could whip up a small single kitchen batch whenever you had good vanilla beans on hand.

In my recipe research, I landed on 6 – 7 Vanilla Beans per cup (8oz) of vodka. Yep, it’s that simple!Blog- Vanilla Extract Supplies

What you need:

Bottles & lids
Sharp paring knife
Cutting board

Choose your vessels:

I wanted a variety and wanted to consider clear vs. amber and volume (some of our friends go through vanilla more quickly!).

I liked the UV blocking characteristics of our Amber Boston Round Jars (8oz) and their geeky polycone phenolic lids. They look and feel official. If you don’t need to see the lovely hue of your extract, these are the best choice. Amber Jars & Phenolic Lids

I also liked the ability to see those gorgeous Madagascar vanilla beans, so I chose 2 other clear jars – the 8oz Woozy Bottles and the 12oz Vinaigrette BottlesVanilla Extract Funnel Both of these had an opening that would fit with the Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer. I also wanted to use a lid with a plastisol liner to be sure the contents remained as fresh as possible.Blog- CT Lids and Dripper Plugs

Sourcing your Vanilla Beans:Blog-Vanilla BeansBulk is usually better, but it’s worth knowing that the source is also high quality. We took a tip from Marisa McClellan, of Food in Jars, and purchased the beans through Beanilla and were happy. Pricing was reasonable and shipping was fast (free if you spent enough), and the quality of the beans was impressive! They carry a wide range of beans, so you can have fun choosing which will work best for your plans.


A mid-grade, high proof vodka is sufficient. It is important to note that most vodka is gluten free. However, if gluten is a concern, you may want to reference this gluten-free vodka list.  If you don’t want to use vodka, rum is a good substitute.

DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe:

Start with clean bottles and lids.

Carefully slice the vanilla beans lengthwise. I like to keep the top part intact – they’re a little easier to handle that way and I think they look a little fancier.Blog - Splitting Beans

If you’re using shorter jars like the Amber Boston Round Jars (8oz), the bean will need to be cut in half. Blog - Splitting Beans for Amber Jars

Place the proper amount of beans into your jars, 6 – 7 Vanilla Beans per cup (8oz) of vodka.Blog - Beans into Jars

Using the funnel, pour the vodka into the jars, being sure that all vanilla beans are covered. Blog-Vanilla Extract Funnel 2

If you are using the Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer, carefully insert it and then cap it tightly. Blog-Dripper Plug ExtractGive each jar a good shake and store them in a dark place. It helps the process if you shake them every so often.

Blog - Vanilla Beans at workSavings:

What did it cost per complete bottle of Vanilla Extract?

Including the bottles & lids, vanilla beans and vodka, the costs are as follows:

I know I’d pay much more than this for a bottle of vanilla extract at the store. This was so easy to pull together, so much better than store bought vanilla and will look so much prettier once the kiddos lovingly create and attach their hand crafted tags and notes.


How to Make Your Own Mulling Spice


Mulling Spices -BlogOne of our favorite ways to welcome these shorter days, cold evenings and the Holidays is to make Mulled Apple Cider. Once the aroma fills our home, it suddenly feels warmer and the world is a better place!  In the past, I’d simply thrown a scoop of whole cloves and a cinnamon stick, perhaps a shake of ginger or nutmeg into my kettle and sometimes an anise star. I loved it that way, but not everyone enjoys having to avoid the spicy matter as they’re savoring the warmth of the flavors.

This year, we decided to make a Mulling Spice base. Why? All of the traditional flavors are there, and present in the ideal ratios. Now I just grab one jar instead of rummaging through my spice cabinet and I’m less likely to hear “Mommy, it’s too spicy!” Also, we’re containing the spices, so there aren’t floaters to deal with as you’re ladling or drinking. I’ve found that I don’t use as many spices because they are crushed and seem to be more effective in imparting flavor. Oh, and we thought some special jars filled with this would make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, hosts or coworkers!

Spice Collage - mulling

It’s always best to start with spices that are as fresh as possible. If you are doing these for gifting, we’d recommend finding a market that carries bulk spices, as you can usually get better pricing and they may offer higher quality or Fair Trade spices. If you’re a local, we would recommend Calicutts Spices or The Herb Shop at Lancaster Central Market.

The Mulling Spice Base Ratios:Mulling-Supplies

3 sticks of cinnamon
½ of a whole nutmeg
¼ cup of whole cloves
¼ cup of whole allspice

We gathered our spices, some jars and my mortar & pestle.  If you’re feeling rather testy, you could use a hammer or the back of an ice cream scoop to take it out on your spices, but it may be difficult to contain them. We did small batches because my mortar is small. It’s important to not overload your mortar or you will end up with more dust-size particles – not as nice. The goal is to break the spices…not to pulverize them, so you’ll need to pay attention to your pestle placement rather than using a random crushing action.

We used the mortar & pestle to break up the allspice and clove together.  crushing spices Blog

Then we crushed the nutmeg. Nutmeg- Fillmore ContainerBlog

We broke the sticks of cinnamon to fit the jar and just placed them on the top. Mulling Spices done- Blog

After capping the jars, they’re ready to gift! Mulling Spices ready to gift - Blog We used the 4oz jars since they’re a great gift-giving size. They hold a single batch of the recipe above – and will provide enough spices to do 3 -5 gallons of cider. You could send along a spice ball, or several squares of cheese cloth and baker’s twine to make it even more complete!

Wrapping Mulling Spices -blog

When we used it, I simply placed a couple of tablespoons of the mix and cinnamon pieces in some cheesecloth, bound it with bakers twine and tied it to the handle on my kettle to keep it out of the way during ladling.Mulling Spices at work - blog

Looking for more ideas for homemade gift giving in jars? Check out our Pinterest Boards!

Visit us at the PA Farm Show


FillmoreBooth at PA Farm Show2We are so excited to tell you about our plans for the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show! Last year was such a great success, that we’ve been hard at work recruiting some exceptional partners to join us in 2015. Fillmore Container’s Preservation Station will be on the Main Floor in the Family Living area of the Pennsylvania Farm Show at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, PA, January 10 – 17, 2015

Our presenters will touch on just about everything from canning and fermenting, to dehydrating and healthy Mason jar meals, and so much more. In addition to demos at our Preservation Station, many of our presenters will also be presenting at the Family Living Stage.

So, without further ado… here’s our PA Farm Show line-up.

January 10 & 11


Marisa McClellan, popular food blogger and author of Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint, will join us to talk about basic water bath canning tips and how to reduce the use of sugar by using other sweeteners. Marisa will also be available for book signing.

January 12 & 13


Amanda Feifer is the fermentation educator behind the blog She teaches classes on topics ranging from hot sauce and miso to sauerkraut and kombucha. Her fermentation writing has been featured on The Huffington Post and Food Riot. Keep your eyes peeled (and your vegetables unpeeled) for her upcoming book on vegetable fermentation (Fair Winds Press, 2015).

January 14

Buy Fresh Buy Local

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture along with Buy Fresh Buy Local will talk about how to find, choose and appreciate great local foods, and support the farmers and lands which produce them.

Pressure Canning

Penn State Cooperative Extension will teach the basics of pressure canning, including meats.


Daniel Gasteiger, top 20 garden blogger, newspaper gardening and food writer, and author of Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry it, Too, will share tips and techniques for dehydrating food. Daniel will also be available for book signing.

January 15

Mason Jar Meals

Robin Sue Joss, popular food blogger, at Big Red Kitchen, and the queen of Mason jar meals will share her secrets for making fast, healthy family meals, and tips for using Mason jars for storing and serving meals.

January 16

Buy Fresh Buy Local

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture along with Buy Fresh Buy Local will return to talk more about how to find, choose and appreciate great local foods, and support the farmers and lands which produce them.


Penn State Cooperative Extension will teach us everything we need to know about preserving Tomatoes.


We’ll continue to post updates about the schedule of presenters as well as send email announcements about our scheduled events (and giveaways) throughout the week of the show. If you haven’t signed up for our emails, now’s the time.

We hope to see you at the PA Farm Show!

Pear Vanilla Jam with Honey + Tips for Canning Sugar-free Jam


PearVanilla Jam in JarsRecently, Marisa McClellan, popular food blogger and author of Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint, stopped by our warehouse for a couple canning classes. We talked about how to make low or no sugar jam, using Pomona’s Pectin. The result was a splendid pear vanilla jam with honey (recipe below).

Here are a few tips we learned, and some video clips from the class.

Pomona’s Universal Pectin – This sugar-free, preservative-free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin does not require sugar to jell. It enables you to make jams and jellies with little or no sugar, allowing you to make a healthier version of your preserves. For those of us that love to jam, but are trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, Pomona’s is the way to go. Here’s what Marisa had to say about Pomona’s Pectin during the class.

Selecting Honey – When using honey instead of sugar it’s important to use a mild flavored honey with a delicate fruit, so the honey flavor does not overpower the natural flavor of the fruit.

Consistency – If you choose to use different sweeteners, remember that it will change your consistency and the yield of your finished product.

Enhancing Flavors – When pulling sweeteners out, it’s important to add in other flavors so that your jam doesn’t taste flat. In this recipe we used lemon and vanilla bean to build on the flavor of the pear.

Lemon Juice – Many canning recipes call for bottled lemon juice, this is an important step in the canning process and ensures a consistent acid level for preserving. When a recipe calls for lemon juice from a lemon, it is generally being added for flavor. Marisa discusses the difference between using bottle lemon juice and fresh squeezed in this video.

– Consider buying vanilla beans in bulk from Beanilla and Vanilla Products USA.  Here’s a quick video on how to split and scrape a vanilla bean. If you want a close up version on how to do this, here’s a great video from Marisa.

Pear Vanilla Jam with HoneyPear Vanilla Honey Jam-FC

Makes 5-6 pints

6 pounds ripe, thin skinned pears (like Bartlett or Bosc)
3 cups honey, divided
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons calcium water
2 tablespoons Pomona’s Pectin powder

Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 5-6 pints of jam (the yield varies depending on how much water the pears contain).

Wash, core and chop pears. Place them in a low, wide pan and add 1/2 cup water, 2 cups honey, vanilla seeds and beans, the lemon zest and juice, and the calcium water. Stir to combine and place on the stove. Set the burner to medium-high heat and cover the pot. Cook the pears, stirring regularly, until they are soft. This should take 35-40 minutes.

Once the pears are tender, grab a potato masher and break them down into a chunky sauce. Whisk the pectin powder into the remaining cup of honey. Bring the pears up to a simmer and stir in the pectin-spiked honey.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until the jam begins to thicken. Once it is thickening, remove the pan from the heat. Funnel jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them to cool on a folded kitchen towel.

Sealed jars are shelf stable for up to a year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 weeks.

Mason Jar Smoothie Recipes


We think drinks just taste better in jars, especially smoothies! We are sharing a couple smoothie recipes that feature some of our favorite autumn & winter flavors!Gingerbread Smoothie

But, before we get to that…we wanted to tell you about our friend, Kelly from Eclectically Vintage.  She’s created a yummy cocktail perfect for Ball’s Green Heritage jars, topped with our daisy lids here! We are giving away a $50 credit for Fillmore Container to one of her lucky readers. Check out her post to find out how you can win! Psst… we are also giving away some of these pretty green jars below, details at the end of our post!Ball Green Jars1

Okay, so now that you know you have two chances to win fun stuff from us, let’s dive into these fantastic fall smoothie recipes!

The Great Gingerbread SmoothieGingerbread Smoothie with text

What we loved about this one is that it starts out with a terrific blend of spices…so if you know that you’re not a fan of one of 2 of them, you can just try cutting back on the amount or eliminating it. While we enjoyed the recipe as written, the kids preferred it when we cut back on the ginger and cardamom.

Ingredients:Gingerbread Smoothie Blender

¼ cup sliced banana, frozen
7 oz. (about 1 c) 2% plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cardamom
1 cup ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a high-power blender and puree until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

Mulled Peach SmoothieMulled Peach Smoothie with Text

The combination of “fresh” from the peach with the mulled tones from the spices is addicting! As we put this post together, I’m still enjoying it. The little bits of crushed cinnamon that linger release a flavor that’s quite different than that of ground cinnamon. If you don’t think you will like that texture, simply use the ground cloves and ground cinnamon.

Ingredients:Mulled Peach Smoothie Blender

½ cup milk
½ cup ice
1 ripe peach, sliced (or the equivalent of frozen peach – substitute ½ of the ice for water)
⅛ tsp cinnamon (or about 1 inch of a crushed/broken cinnamon stick)
⅛ tsp ground cloves (or about 4 – 7 crushed/broken cloves)

Combine all ingredients in a high-power blender and puree until smooth.

Both of these recipes will yield about 1 pint…or 2 8oz jam jars…perfect for little hands and smaller appetites.

The original recipes, including nutritional data and more delicious seasonal smoothies can be found in Joy Manning’s article in Prevention.

You can serve smoothies in any Mason jar, or pour it into one of our Mason jar mugs for something new. We have an entire selection of Mason jar mugs ranging from 4 oz. to 38 oz.BerryShakes

Top it with any of our fun lids. We have a rainbow of color options! Choose from a few different styles – daisy, star, or straw hole.

Mason Jar Straw Lids, Daisy Lids and Star lids

Don’t forget to add a straw for sipping! We have lots of fun, seasonal colors!


The Giveaway

Of course, smoothies would also look great in Ball’s green pint jars! We are giving away 1 case of green pint jars and 6 daisy lids! Enter your chance below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to stop over to Eclectically Vintage to get a cocktail recipe for these pretty green jars, and for a chance to win a $50 credit to Fillmore Container!

Apple Pie Filling for Water Bath Canning


BlogCanned Apple Pie Filling Orchard Road JarsApple pie is one of my favorite things to make during these autumn months….along with Apple Crisp! I’d been wanting to can some Apple Pie Filling for a long time, but I was intimidated by my visions of the sticky mess and the large amounts of sugar. Honestly, I really don’t mind preparing fresh apples at the time of baking the pie, or crisp.  I always have happy helpers for such projects and usually have great apple choices into the cold seasons.

In this recipe I did not adjust the amount of sugar. However, I must admit that we will not be pouring out that pie filling and using it just as it is, because our family simply doesn’t enjoy that amount of sweetness. I actually used the partial quart of filling and doubled its volume with freshly sliced apples for a nice baked apple dish for our supper that night and my family loved it. I’ll plan on adding more apples when I use my filling to make my pies.

Most of the recipes call for crisp and tart apples – to balance the sweetness of the sugar and to hold up through the blanching, canning and then the baking. We’ve always been impressed with the quality and selection at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm, so that’s where I headed for my apples. I decided to go with a combination of Jonagold, Honey Crisp and Grimes Golden apples. These are great for baking and for snacking! Apple Prices - Kauffmans

After going through many recipes, I landed on the one from the National Center for Home Food Preservation as my primary – I like that it has the recipe for 1 quart as well as a canner full – 7 quarts.


1 Quart Yield

7 Quart Yield

Blanched & Sliced Apples 3 ½ cups 6 quarts
Brown Sugar ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp 5 ½ cups
Clear Jel ¼ cup 1 ½ cup
Ground Cinnamon ½ tsp 1 tbsp
Cold Water ½ cup 2 ½ cups
Apple Cider ¾ cup 5 cups
Bottled Lemon Juice 2 tbsp ¾ cup
Nutmeg 1/8 tsp 1 tsp

*Variations: The brown sugar and the cider create a rich deep color and more of a caramel taste which we love. If you wish for a filling with a little more clarity, you can use white sugar instead of the brown; and apple juice instead of the apple cider.


Prepare your water bath, clean jars and lids according to manufacturer recommendations.

Prepare and blanch your apples:

In a large kettle, bring a gallon of water to boil on the stove. (My pasta cooker worked well for removing the blanched apples quickly from the heat.) 6 cups ready to boil

Wash, peel, core and slice your apples to ½ inch thick slices. You may wish to use a fruit fresh (ascorbic acid) bath to hold your slices until blanching. I did not…my apples were so easy to prepare and I was able to get the 6 cups for blanching before browning occurred.

Blanch apples in 6 cups batches in the boiling water for 1 minute. Cooked apple slices

*Don’t blanch longer than 1 minute!apple mash
I got a phone call in the middle of my first batch…it only seemed like an extra 30 seconds, but they wen
t to MUSH!  My kids loved the naked apple sauce when they got home, but I had to blanch another batch. It’s important that your slices can still hold their shape or they will begin to break down or be too easily broken in the folding, canning and baking that will follow.

Continue blanching the remaining batches in a covered container.


Make your Sauce:

Combine the sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and cider (or juice) in a very large kettle. Cook on medium heat while stirring until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble. Add the lemon juice and with constant stirring, bring to a boil for 1 minute.

Remove the sauce from the heat, promptly fold in the apple slices and immediately fill your clean jars with the mixture. Be sure to leave 1 inch headspace. The contents will expand…so be very careful to not overfill! Apply lids and process in the water bath for the time indicated by the NCHFP for your altitude.Apples in Sauce

For Quart or Pint Jars:
25 minutes (1 – 1,000 ft)
30 minutes (1,001 – 3,000 ft)
35 minutes (3,001 – 6,000 ft)
40 minutes (above 6,000 ft)

When the time is up, turn heat off and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing jars. Carefully remove jars from the canner and place on a towel covered counter to cool. Leave untouched for 24 hours. Remove bands, wash off outside of jars and check seals. Refrigerate any jars that are unsealed.