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.

Are you getting our emails?


Have you signed up  to receive the latest news, ideas and deals from Fillmore Container? Fillmore email

We send all sorts of goodies, like recipes, how-to’s, tips, events, coupons, and giveaways! You can expect us in your inbox once or twice a month (unless we have some really exciting news that we just can’t wait to tell you about!).

Sign up for our emails here. Be sure to check the boxes for the topics that you want to hear more about, so we only send what interests you! Don’t forget to check the box to receive special deals, coupons, and giveaways! We wouldn’t want you to miss out on any savings!Preference Center



ReCAP Mason Jars Pour Caps in Blue + a Giveaway


We love the reCAP pour caps! There are so many ways you can use them; salad dressing, pancake mix,  spice mixes, drink topper, vegetable stock dispenser, travel mug, and fermenting.  With reCAP, you can easily shake, pour and store right from a mason jar. The caps are made with BPA-free recyclable plastic, and are made in the USA.

ReCap’s come in regular mouth and wide mouth sizes. The caps are currently available in pink, silver and black, AND the reCAP folks just announced they are adding BLUE! In celebration of the birth of the new blue reCAP, you have a chance to win a wide mouth reCAP BLUE pour cap (not yet available for sale) and an original regular mouth reCAP silver pour cap.reCAP Blue Cap and Silver  Enter below.

The smart folks at reCAP are also working on some other fun projects – the reCAP Flip Cap! You can learn more about the reCAP Flip Cap on Kickstarter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Food in Jars Canning Classes and a Giveaway


Marisa McClellan author photoWe are just about a week away from our canning classes with Marisa McClellan, popular canning blogger and author of canning books, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round and Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces.

Marisa is coming to Fillmore Container on Saturday, October 11, 2014 for two canning classes and a book signing, and we still have some seats available!

Canning Class – Honey Sweetened Pear Jam (10am – 12pm)
Join us for a morning class about how to reduce, or eliminate sugar in preserves while making two versions of Honey Sweetened Pear Jam – register here.

Canning Class – Preserving Tomatoes (1pm – 3pm)
Talk tomatoes with us during the afternoon class. We’ll be preserving some really beautiful heirloom tomatoes two very different ways – register here.

Book Signing (3pm-4pm)
Marisa will be sticking around to sign books and answer preserving questions.

The Giveaway
For those of you who aren’t local, and can’t attend we are giving away Marisa’s latest book Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces.  Marisa will personally inscribe the book for the winner. Enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recipes for the Waning Garden


Autumn Tomato BannerAs the trajectory of the sun shortens the day for our gardens, it feels good to be preserving those last harvests! The performance of gardens can vary greatly from one autumn to the next, so what you made last year with your garden clean-out might not suffice this year.

We’ve gathered some preserving recipes that will help to use up those late harvests! Many of these have some flexibilities mentioned in the recipes – optional herbs and ingredient swapping.

SalsaFall Tomatoes

Spicy Green Tomato Salsa from Michelle Peters at The Tiffin Box

How to make Thick Tasty Canned Salsa  from Linda at A Gardener’s Table.

Garden Salsa

Roasted Garden Salsa from Tammy at One Tomato, Two Tomato 

Pickled Green Tomatoes and Green Tomato Chutney from Marisa at Food in Jars

The following recipe was featured in September’s Newletter from Nancy Wiker and Martha Zepp at our local Penn State Extension Office and it caught our attention because it offers some choice for the preserver! Developed at the University of Georgia, Athens. Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Department of Foods and Nutrition, August 2013.

Recipe: Choice Salsa

For some years cooks have been looking for a formula that allows them to can salsa using ingredients they enjoy. It is still not safe to take your fresh salsa recipes and put them in jars, but the following recipe gives you the choice of the amount of onions and the amount and types of peppers you choose. Those liking hot salsa will choose jalapenos and hot chili peppers while those with milder tastes will use bell or mild banana peppers. It is very important that you use all of the lemon juice to control the acidity of the product. Martha questioned the developer of the recipe about the amount of tomatoes in relation to the peppers and onions and was assured that the salsa had a good tomato flavor.Small Peppers


6 cups peeled, cored, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes
9 cups diced onions and/or peppers of any variety (See notes below.)
1½ cups commercially bottled lemon or lime juice
3 teaspoons canning or pickling salt

Yield: About 6 pint jars.

Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Procedure: Wash and rinse pint or half-pint canning jars, keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s directions.

To prepare tomatoes: Dip washed tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins split. Submerge immediately in cold water. Peel off loosened skins and remove cores. Remove seeds and chop (¼ to ½ inch pieces).

To prepare onions: Peel, wash, core and dice onions (¼ inch pieces).

To prepare bell peppers: Wash and core bell peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes before dicing (¼ inch pieces).

To prepare hot peppers: Wash and remove stems of hot peppers. Keep or remove as much of the seeds and membranes as you wish, depending on the “pepper heat” of the salsa that you desire. Dice peppers (¼ inch pieces).

Combine prepared ingredients in a large pot, add lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer salsa for an additional 3 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent scorching.

Fill the hot salsa into prepared hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. If needed, remove air bubbles and re-adjust headspace to ½ inch. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and bands.

Process half-pint or pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes at altitudes up to 1000 feet; 20 minutes at altitudes between 1001 feet and 6000 feet; 25 minutes at altitudes above 6000 feet.

Notes: This is a fairly acidic salsa, but was tested with a wide variety of tomatoes, peppers, and onions to ensure the necessary acidification for boiling water canning and still allow for some consumer choice in the ingredients.

The peppers may be sweet bell peppers (of any color) and/or hot peppers.

The purpose of the commercially bottled lemon or lime juice is to standardize a minimum level of acidity in the recipe. For safety reasons do not substitute vinegar for the lemon or lime juice. Do not use bottled key lime juice.

Do not alter the proportions of tomatoes, vegetables and acid because that might make the salsa unsafe when this canning process is used. The chopped tomatoes and diced peppers and/or onions are to be measured level in dry measuring cups; the lemon or lime juice is measured in a liquid measuring cup. The recipe was not tested with other vegetables for flavor or acidity.

JamFall Tomatoes

Tomato Jam  by Sean from Punk Domestics

Honey Sweetened Tomato Jam by Marisa of Food in Jars.

Spiced Tomato Jam   by Maurita at Get the Good Stuff!


Garden Relish with Cucumbers & Green Tomatoes by Diana, Southern Food Expert at AboutFood


A Good Use for Thick Skinned Little Peppers   by Linda at A Gardener’s Table

A Few Fresh Eating Versions – Any of the above could be eaten fresh, but may taste better if the tastes have had more time to play together. Here are a few that work well when either your harvest or your amount of time is too small to bring out the canner.

Garden Fresh Salsa  from Attainable Sustainable

Tomato Jam for Grown-Ups!  by Karon of Larder Love

For more tasty preserving recipes from some of these creative authors, check out our Canning Library!

Visit our Tomato Tomato Pinterest board for even more ideas!

Homemade Relish is a Game Changer for Pulled Chicken or Pork BBQ


Crockpot Pulled Chicken with RelishThe cooler weather and our rather intense family schedule was the catalyst for this easy meal, but it would really be a great main course for any time of the year! From summertime picnics, to holiday potlucks, or an office luncheon, this is sure to become a favorite.

We have some “excess” relish in our home – result of recipe testing and an abundance of produce. While it’s painful to consider the eventual end of grilling season, this is a great way to allow the flavors in your lingering jars of relish & BBQ sauces to shine! I’ve even added some salsa remnants. This recipe uses Chicken – which works well for our family…kids prefer it over pork and it yields about a pint of chicken broth which I can freeze for later.


4 lbs boneless chicken breast
½ to 1 pint relish
10-12oz BBQ sauce

Add about 4 pounds of boneless chicken breast into the crockpot (nothing else – just the chicken!), cover and let cook on high for about 3 – 4 hours. Crockpots and Slow Cookers can vary greatly, so I’d recommend checking it at 3 hours so that it doesn’t get too dry.

When cooking is complete, carefully poor off the broth for use later. (I’ll freeze mine!)

Shred the chicken to your liking and turn the crockpot on LOW.

Add 1/2 to 1 Pint of Relish.

Add 10 – 12oz of your favorite BBQ sauce. (We used “Larry’s Original BBQ Sauce” from Currituck BBQ Company which we purchased while on vacation.)

Mix and place the lid back on to retain warmth.

Serving options are endless! Serve on a roll, scooped onto tortillas, over your favorite rice, on a mound of mashed potatoes, atop a baked potato or even heaped on a bed of mixed greens!

For more ideas on preserves in action, check out our Pinterest board.

Canning Classes at Fillmore Container with Food in Jars on October 11


Marisa McClellan author photoMarisa McClellan, popular canning blogger and author of canning books, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round and Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, is coming to Fillmore Container on Saturday, October 11, 2014 for canning classes and a book signing.

The classes are perfect for both those curious about canning but overwhelmed by the process, along with the canning enthusiast interested in learning new tips. Marisa will forever change the way you think about preserving your herbs and produce.  Her approach to smaller batches of ingredients, reducing cooking times, and switching out canning pots in favor of others are just some of the concepts she will discuss. Here are a few things we learned last time she was here.

The Classes

October 11th 10am – 12pm
Honey Sweetened Pear Jam
FIJ DemosThis canning class will offer a hands-on approach on how to make two varieties of Pear Jam.  Marisa will demonstrate how to reduce, or eliminate sugar in preserves by using Pomona’s Pectin. At the end of the class each attendee will take home their own jar of freshly made jam. Register here.

October 11th 1pm – 3pm
Preserving Tomatoes

This canning class will offer a hands-on approach on how to make two varieties of tomato preserves – whole peeled tomatoes and Marisa’s most popular recipe, Tomato Jam. Marisa will explain the basics of preserving tomato based preserves. Everyone will go home with their own jar of whole peeled tomatoes and tomato jam. Register here. (Note: If tomato season comes to an abrupt end and tomatoes aren’t available for the class, we will explore chutneys instead!)

October 11th 3pm – 4pm
Meet & Greet with Marisa McClellan

If you can’t make either class, but you’d still like to get your book signed. Join us for a meet & greet with Marisa McClellan, the author of Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint. (no registration required)

Marisa’s books are available for purchase here, or you can buy a copy the day of the classes.

Hope to see you there!

Is it OK if my water bath canner or canning rings are rusty?


We won’t tell you that rust is good, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for your canning supplies.

Water Bath Canners & Racks:

If you’re using a typical agate water bath canner, chances are, it has many stories to tell and the battle scars to prove its usefulness. Sadly, while they are light and easy to handle, they are prone to chip and then the rusting starts. I still use mine – and they have a little rust.Rusty Canner

That’s OK…just be sure that your rusty spots are not going to interfere with its performance and safety. Use your common sense…if the handles don’t feel secure or if there is weakness in any area of your canner, it’s time to replace it. One of these days, I’ll need to replace mine, but not quite yet! (When that time comes, there are many creative & useful ways to re-purpose old canners or racks!)

I just needed to replace my canning rack for my large water bath canner, as it was just too visually rusty and so easy to replace. I’d also found that a cake rack or a rack made of bands worked better for the wide range of jar sizes I’d been using. It didn’t have dividers and gave me more flexibility in spacing my jars.Small Canner Cake Rack

As you can see, it also has a little rust – the result of canning with it at the Farm Show last year and not being able to properly dry it between batches.

Canning Rings:Canning Ring Storage

A little rust on the outside of your rings isn’t a bad thing. However, you do want to stay away from the rings that become distorted or have rust on the inside or any part that will be in contact with your lid or the jar. If the rust is against your lid or jar, it may not interfere with the sealing process, but it will likely transfer rust onto your lid or jar…which will not look very nice- especially if you end up gifting or sharing those goods.  Here are some ideas on how to re-purpose those old rings!

Here some tips on avoid that pesky oxidation!

The best way to avoid rust is quite simple…to limit the contact with water or moisture. Sounds easy, right?

Don’t forget to empty and clean your canner & drying rack in a timely fashion.

I’m not sure what your order of operations is when you’re canning, but mine usually is worked in with something else. So, after I remove the last batch of jars from the canner and set them lovingly on the counter to cool, I’m on to cleaning up the mess that I made or getting supper ready, laundry, email, helping the kids…anything but hauling that hot canner of water out to the worm pile. Thus, it sets there with water in it until the kids go to bed. I know, it’s not ideal.  I’ll try to do better! Please note, though…it is important to let that water cool down enough (cool enough to touch) before handling it…it’s not worth getting burned in the effort to deter rust.

Don’t forget to remove those rings or bands from your sealed jars.

This should be happening anyway for safety purposes, but this is just another benefit of removing them. Rusting bands on jars can make it difficult to open the jars and quite simply looks bad.

It is possible (especially during prolonged water bath times) that some contents exited the jars and would be deposited on everything in your canner. When you know this has happened, it’s particularly important to wash them in warm soapy water.

Dry everything thoroughly!

Most canners and all racks and rings/bands have curled edges or tight joints that hold water…making it impossible for even the best towel dryer to remove.  I will often put my oven on warm and place my washed and towel dried water bath canner, metal rack and metal bands into the oven for a warm bake to ensure that the moisture is driven out.Drying Canner in Oven

The Trouble with Tomato Soup


We’ve gotten many requests for tomato soup recipes for canning…and our responses may have seemed a little elusive. Well, the reality (until further research changes the recommendations of the National Center for Home Preservation) is that you just might not be able to safely can your favorite “heat & eat” tomato soup. There are a couple of pressure canner tomato soup recipes out there, but you will still have limits on the ingredients and not everyone can or desires to do pressure canning.

Here are just a few of the things that stand in our way of canning that perfect tomato soup:

  • Recipes for tomato soup vary greatly – some folks like a creamy soup, others a more broth based soup. Creamy soups do not freeze well, nor can they be safely canned. It is unsafe to can products that include flour or butter – often used in creation of the roux – for the purpose of giving soups that creamy taste & feel.
  • Other ingredients like peppers, celery & onions also vary and can have a significant impact on the pH of the final product to be canned. It’s important that the ratio of these items in your recipe has been properly tested and recommended by a trusted authority.
  • The length of time required to safely can tomato products (as recommended by the NCHFP) is rather extensive. In addition, dense tomato products require longer processing times (in order for the heat to sufficiently reach the core of the product) and/or the practice of using smaller, sometimes less efficient sizes of jars. This issue becomes amplified when thickening agents are used – even if it’s Clear Jel. The viscosity of the product will determine how the heat penetrates into the product even under pressure canner conditions.  We just can’t argue with thermodynamics!

There is hope! If you’re going to make a homemade tomato soup, why not make it awesome…and allow yourself some flexibility?

Our suggestion… simply put up some good “Tomato Base” in your pantry or some roasted tomatoes in your pantry or freezer.Tomato Soup- FillmoreContainer

When you crave some tomato soup, grab your tomato product of choice, whip up your roux, add your finishing spices and create a masterpiece! You’ll be pleased with the results, and the time in which you were able to do it!

Our favorite is a creamy soup – and I know I’ll not be canning it, or freezing it in its final form. But we will be enjoying incredible homemade tomato soup!

However you decide to treat your tomatoes when framing for soup will vary depending on the season, the level of tomato bounty, the time you’ve got, the space you have in your freezer, the abundance of other fresh ingredients like herbs, onions, garlic & peppers and the final destination for your preserved tomato goodness.

What to do with very large cucumbers – Cucumber Relish!


Super large cucumbers are often hard to transform into crispy pickle spears, and are often quite seedy, but still have much potential! I recently had some very large cucumbers. My initial plan was to pickle them, but their seedy nature was making that difficult. So, we changed things up a little. After I washed and trimmed them, I used my mandolin to slice as much of each cucumber as I could until the seeds began to interfere with the crispness of the slice. All of these nice slices were transformed into Maw Maw’s Cucumber Salad which we’d shared earlier. Yum!MawMawsCucumberSaladCrackerJar

I took the remaining cucumber parts, sliced them lengthwise and scooped out the seeds. These were then cubed for relish! I like a relish in which all of the players can be identified, so removing the seedy watery parts helps to maintain more texture.Cubed Veggies for Relish

As it turns out, I knew that I’d be short on Peppers for this recipe, so I washed & cubed all of my peppers first to see what ratio of the original recipe I’d be able to make. I ended up with only half of what the recipe called for.

Cucumber Relish – a small batch or a half batch.

Based on the recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving 

This recipe makes 4 Pints.  (You might notice that I only have 3 Pints and a 12oz Jar – I used a small portion as an ingredient in a crockpot chicken meal.)


5 cups cucumbers
2 cups green bell peppers
2 cups red /yellow bell peppers
½ cup onion
¼ to ½ cup pickling salt
1 ½ cup white vinegar
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tbsp. celery seeds
1 ½ tbsp. mustard seeds

Clean, seed (as appropriate) and finely chop the cucumbers, green & yellow bell peppers and onion.

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the cucumbers, peppers, onions, and the pickling salt and cover it. Let it set in a cool place for about 4 hours.

Transfer into a colander in the sink and rinse thoroughly with cold water for 4 minutes. Drain well, gently press more of the excess water out with your hands, set aside to drain further. Cucumber Relish Rinsed & DrainingPrepare water bath canner, jars & lids.

In a large non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds & celery seeds. On medium heat, and while stirring, bring to a boil. ucumber Relish BrineAdd cucumber, pepper & onion mixture and while stirring, return to a boil. Reduce heat, but maintain a gentle boil for about 10 minutes.

Scoop the relish into warmed canning jars, allowing ½ inch of headspace. Cucumber Relish Up CloseRemove any air bubbles, wipe rims clean, lid the jars and apply rings only to finger-tip tightness.

Place jars into the prepared water bath canner. Adjust water level if needed (you should have at least an inch above the jars) so that the jars are completely covered throughout the process. Bring to a boil and process jars (8oz and 16oz) for 10 minutes.  When the time is up, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing them from the canner.

Place hot filled jars on a towel lined counter to cool untouched for 12 hours. When jars have completely cooled, remove rings, test the seal and store in a cool dark place. If any of your lids have not sealed, refrigerate it and enjoy right away! Cucumber Relish Sealed in Orchard Road Canning Jars