Canned Apple Pie Filling -- have questions

decemberdaisyOctober 4, 2010

Hi there!

I used the NCHFP recipe for Apple Pie Filling (with less ClearJel as recommended in past posts) to make several quarts of apple pie filling. Now that I'm done I have some questions for you experts! :)

Does anyone have a recommendation on how to prevent the siphoning off of syrup once the jars are on the counter?

I did allow the jars to sit the requisite 5 minutes off heat in the canner once the processing time was completed. I thought that would mitigate some of the siphoning, but whoa, was I wrong. About half of my jars gooed out all over the counter!

Also, some of the jars appeared to seal pretty well although they lost some syrup during the cooling process. I know I won't be able to really test the seal until tomorrow, but will they seal enough for me to store out of refrigeration, or should I reprocess them?

Lastly, would using less sugar be safe in this recipe (making sure the bottled lemon juice remained the same)? For example, using 2 or 3 cups sugar rather than the full 5 1/2 cups? Just curious for next time.

Thanks for your time!

Jill

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Does anyone have a recommendation on how to prevent the siphoning off of syrup once the jars are on the counter?

I assume you did these in a BWB rather than a pressure canner? Then it is boil over rather than siphoning. Siphoning is pressure related. In a BWB let them sit longer in the canner until they settle down. At least that way the mess is contained.

But the only time I had that happen is when I over-filled the jars or when the filling was too thick and needed to be thinned down a bit more. As the apples swell from the heat they force the liquid up and out of the jars. So less apples and more liquid solves that problem. But if the mixture is too thick to begin with then it is still going to overflow just like too thick applesauce does.

That is why we gave up on adding the clear jel in pie filling - even 1/2 the amount makes it too thick IMO. It's just easier to add our preferred cornstarch at pie prep time than deal with the mess. Plus if you don't add it then you can get more apples in the jar and thus into the pie. ;)

Dave

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Mine turned out beautifully making it less thick. The one inch headspace is critical. Did you follow that headspace ?
Then, the 5 min. wait helps. Not sure why yours still siphoned unless it was headspace.

Less sugar is fine. We even did some with Splenda and it was good. Just a tad of the aftertaste,but allowed me to have some this way.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 4:18PM
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macybaby

I just made a batch yesterday and need to make another today (ran out of clear-jel).

I have to make sure my apples boil for a full minute, and I make sure to leave a generous 1" head space.

BTW- I have the same problem if I'm not careful with apples in syrup. I leave a bit more room with them too. One problem I have with apples is they like to settle when I put them in the jar, so I have to be careful not to put in too many apples as they swell back up once I add the syrup.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 4:41PM
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decemberdaisy

Interesting! After most of my first round of jars from the BWB leaked on the counter I thought I had used too much syrup and not enough apples. The next round of jars I used a little less syrup and a bit more apple and really focused on making sure that the headspace was right. I still got goo on the counter.

I've got a 1/2 bushel more apples, so I'm going to try more syrup rather than less for the next go-round. I'll also use a little less clearjel and see how that goes.

Thanks so much!!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 9:28PM
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decemberdaisy

One more -- what about my question regarding the seals? Does it matter if they appear sealed properly? Should I refrigerate those jars that boiled over or reprocess them, or are they OK as is?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 9:34AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

They are ok. Just be sure to remove the bands and wash the jars well with hot soapy water. Focus on getting the area around the edge of the lid/jar as clean as possible as the syrup there will be grounds for mold to grow and that can break the seal. Store with the bands off as per usual.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 10:38AM
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macybaby

I have a bunch that were very sticky out of the canner. They have stayed sealed and fine and it's been two years. My apple tree produced every other year so I put up plenty to last. (I really do need to use up the last of those)

If you do not wash them well, the stuff stuck on the outside will start to mold and look really bad . . .

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 1:10PM
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misskimmie(z4b Central NY)

I just finished making a batch of apple pie filling. I also used the NCHFP recipe. I did not read comments so I did not modify to use less clear jel... I was very careful to leave one inch head space. Now all 7 quarts are spilling over. Is the batch lost?

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 4:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Is the batch lost?

Not if the jars seal well and you wash them down well afterwards. Otherwise you can always freeze the pie filling.

Dave

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 6:09PM
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countrycutter(5b)

I have been making apple pie filling, and all of the recipes that I've found either blanch or cook the apples before putting them in the canning jars. Why? The boiling water bath will do that, so blanching them seems to me to be an unnecessary step.

The recipes also all thicken the starch component (clear jel, etc) before putting it in the canning jar, but that should also thicken during the processing. The unthickened solution would fill all the cracks and crevices better. Why can't everything be placed in the jar first, then processed? If there is swelling, allow more head space. If shrinkage, don't allow as much head space, and so be it. I'm just for making things as easy as I can.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 12:02PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

blanch or cook the apples before putting them in the canning jars. Why? Why can't everything be placed in the jar first, then processed?

Because that would invalidate the processing time, require much longer processing, or result in under-processed food. Not to mention that you would get massive amount of boil-over as the uncooked apples swelled in the jars.

The pre-cooking forces much of the air out of the fruit so they swell less during processing. It also breaks down the cells walls a bit so the heat can penetrate faster. Uncooked apple slices would easily remain unheated in the middle during processing and the Clear jel wouldn't gel.

The calculated processing times are based on the food being properly pre-cooked and prepared BEFORE going into the jars. If you doubled or tripled the processing times to compensate for not doing that then you'd likely end up with scorched mush.

I'm just for making things as easy as I can.

When canning foods, shortcuts usually result in poor quality foods that are often unsafe to consume. Is trying to make things 'easy' really worth it?

If you want easy just freeze your pie filling. That way you can make it anyway you wish.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 12:18PM
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macybaby

that "massive amount of boilover" is no joke. I make sure my apples come to a full boil, at which point the batch will do a serious foam up in the pot. Once that happens, I know they got hot enough to release all the air in the fruit.

If you don't do that before you pack them, it will happen while processing. When you open the canner and find your jars floating because the release of air pushed all the liquid out of the jar . . . I've even had it happen with apple sauce if I did not make sure to get a good boil going ot release the air from the fruit. Apples are really prone to this. Though I don't do a wide variety of fruit, apples are the only one I know of that have a serious air retention issue.

It is also why when you bake a double crust apple pie, as it cools and settles, you end up with a big hollow under the upper crust because the apples lost all thier air.

That is one advantage of using canned apples for filling. Since they are already cooked, you can pile them high and when the pie is done, you still have a full pie as the apples did not have all that air to release. BTW - you don't need to cook the pie near as long with already cooked apples as you would with fresh.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 8:54AM
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countrycutter(5b)

Well, I tried it, and I didn't have any of the suggested problems. What I did find was that blanching causes some shrinkage of the apples, so you can get more in the jar. Using fresh apples, with shrinkage, I ended up with about 2/3 apples in the jar with the liquid, and the liquid was runnier, and there was no boil over.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 9:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You were lucky to not have any boil over. But that still doesn't address the safety issues.

How did you compensate for the now invalid processing time? For the under-processing?

If the apples weren't already heated when they went into the jars then at least half of the prescribed processing time was wasted bringing them up to temperature and they are only half processed.

So if you didn't add additional time - how much is unknown - to the processing then they aren't considered safe for shelf storage.

Why spend all the time, food, and effort doing it if they aren't fully processed and now subject to molds and spoilage?

Dave

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:06PM
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decemberdaisy

What I did find was that blanching causes some shrinkage of the apples, so you can get more in the jar.

Dave, I think that she said she did blanch them unless I am reading her comment incorrectly.

But now that I'm reading the comment again, I am wondering, countrycutter, did you try both methods (meaning the approved recipe + your own without blanching)? If you went "by the book" from the approved recipe how did you mitigate the boil-over?

Jill

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:22PM
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macybaby

maybe we need agreement on what is blanching. I put my apples in boiling very light syrup, and bring them back to a boil and only boil for maybe 30-60 seconds. That is all it takes to get the foam up. With the apples off my tree, this is needed, if you don't bring the water back to a boil, they don't release the air.

With the light syrup, it is boiling at a higher temp, but I've not put in a thermometer to check exactly what it is.

Since instructions to blanch are exactly what I do (though I may leave them in for less time) blanching will get rid of the excess air.

I've got a bushel of apples, I'll see if I can get pictures of exactly what my apples do.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:02AM
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