Canned apple slices are incredibly convenient to have on hand to turn into quick pies, cobbers, crumbles, etc.
Some people just like to eat them straight out of the jar!
If you’ve ever wondered how some people produce apple-based desserts out of seemingly nowhere while doing ten other things, having home-canned apple slices is one of their secret tricks they’re not telling you about.
These directions are from the USDA Complete Guide.
Canning apple slices is one of those rare procedures where you have the choice of either water bathing, steam canning, or pressure canning. The pressure canning is not safer: it’s just an equivalent to the water bathing.
Please be sure to see additional info section after the recipe about good varieties of apples for home canning quality-wise.
Quantities of apples needed
Numbers are approximate guidelines.
On average, as a very rough guideline, expect to need about 1 ¼ kg (2 ¾ lbs / 6 large ) of apples per 1 litre (US quart) jar of canned apple slices.
- 8 ½ kg (19 lbs) of apples = 7 litres (US quarts) canned apple slices
- 5 ½ kg (12 ¼ lbs ) of apples = 9 x ½ litres (US pints) canned apple slices
- 1 US bushel apples = 22 kg (48 lbs) = 16 to 19 litres (US quarts) canned apple slices
A ½ litre (1 US pint) jar opened, with contents including any juice tipped into a weigh-scale pan, will weigh around 350 g (¾ lb).
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Water bath OR steam canning OR pressure canning
Headspace: 2 cm (½ inch)
Processing pressure: Only applies if pressure canning. 5 lbs (35 kPa) weighted gauge, 6 lbs (42 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
Processing time: Water bath OR steam canning, either size jar, 20 minutes. Pressure canning, either size jar, 8 minutes.
Canning apple slices
Walking through the USDA method for home canning apple slices.
Prepare a very large pot or bowl with acidulated water in it (by adding lemon juice or ascorbic acid. This is to prevent the apple going brown.)
Wash, peel, core and slice the apples.
As you work, work in such a way that peeled apple never rests for long outside the water, to prevent discolouration.
Put drained apple slices in a large pot.
For every 2 kg (5 lbs / 16 cups ) of drained apple slices in the pot, add ½ litre (2 cups / 1 US pint) of water. Bring to a boil, then start timing and let it boil for 5 minutes.
Pack hot apple slices into half-litre (US pint) jars or 1 litre (US quart) jars.
Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
Top up with the blanching water or if there isn't enough, clean boiling water (such as from a kettle, for instance).
Leave 2 cm (½ inch) headspace after the filling liquid.
Debubble, adjust headspace.
Wipe jar rims.
Put lids on.
Process in a water bath or steam canner or pressure canner.
Water bath / steam canner: either size jar for 20 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
Pressure canner: either size jar for 8 minutes. 5 lbs (35 kPa) weighted gauge, 6 lbs (42 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canners. See also if applicable: Dial-gauge pressures.
|Jar Size||Time||0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressure||Above 300 m (1000 ft) pressure|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||8 mins||5 lbs||10 lb|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||8 mins||5 lbs||10 lb|
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
- If you go the pressure canning route, don’t let the pressure go over, or your jars will really vent on you;
- If the apples you are using are more “fresh-eating apples” than “cooking apples”, be careful not to over-blanch them or you will end up with applesauce in the pot;
- It will seem that there is not enough water to blanch the apple slices in, but they will quickly give off a lot of water of their own.;
- No matter how much you debubble the jars, you will still frequently see bubbles in the jar after canning. There is not much you can do about it, so it’s not worth losing sleep over: apple slices are full of air, which is why they float in water. This is one reason it is important to blanch them first: to try to get a lot of that out.
Choosing the right type of apple
Take-away: Among apple varieties that old-hands suggest for holding their shape well after home canning are Fuji, Gala, Honey Crisp, Jonagolds, and Mutsu.
There’s also a general category referred to as Cooking Apples.
All types of apple varieties are safe for home canning, but the question arises when it comes to quality of result. When you are home canning apple slices, if you want to end up with clean, distinct slices in your jars you will want to use pie apples. If you use sauce apples, your slices may break down completely into moosh — use them for applesauce instead or another home canning recipe in which apples are boiled down, such as Apple Hot Sauce.
Often you will have apples that are “okay for pie”. This means most slices will stay together relatively well, though a few may break down. These will be less nice for pie, which is served in slices, but okay for cobblers and crumbles, etc., which are served by the scoop.
If your apple slices do break down on you after canning, it was owing to the type of apple. The resulting product is still safe, but when you go to use it, use for another purpose where puréed apple is needed.
According to old-hand canners, some of the apple varieties whose slices hold their shape well after home canning include Fuji, Gala, Honey Crisp, Jonagolds, and Mutsu. There are almost certainly others we have not heard of yet. But of course such a “quality of shape” pronouncement is entirely a personal preference and judgement, and ultimately up to you.
Canning apple slices raw pack
Google will certainly find you some bloggers saying that they “canned apple slices raw pack, and here’s how” (with the inevitable life-story directions too, no doubt.) But then the quality of bloggers’ food, cooking and canning advice overall is… shall we say.. uneven. It’s probably rare for a food blogger to come back and delete a recipe page, even if they’ve later decided the advice is bad, if that page is making ad money for them!
But then if you scroll a little further in the Google search results, you hear from old hands saying that the results of attempting a raw pack deliver bad results and do not fare well on the shelves in even short storage. (And who wants that, after all that work, plus expense if you’ve bought the apples).
Utah State Extension Service says they won’t even bother giving raw pack directions, as the results are just so bad, though they phrase it politely:
“Raw pack canning yields poor quality product; therefore instructions are for hot pack only.” Brennard, Charlotte and Kathleen Riggs. How to Preserve Apples. 30 June 2020. Accessed October 2021 at https://extension.usu.edu/preserve-the-harvest/research/apples
So, that’s why there are no lab-tested directions from credentialled sources for raw-pack canning of apple slices. The resultant quality is so bad — and who can blame them for not wanting the hassle of dealing with the inevitable consumer complaints!
This recipe comes from the USDA Complete Guide (2015).
- Apples – Sliced. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 2-7.
Serving size: 125 g, drained (about one quarter of a ½ litre / US pint jar, if 500 g went into the jar.)
Per 125 g:
- 74 calories, 0 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 2 points (while raw apple slices are free on Weight Watchers, processed apple slices probably aren’t).
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
Cooking from canning recipes
TIP! For fruitier pies, add a jar of home-canned apple slices to a jar of Canned Apple Pie Filling when making a pie.
Linda J Harris. Apples: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy. University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Publication 8229. 2007.
|↑1||Brennard, Charlotte and Kathleen Riggs. How to Preserve Apples. 30 June 2020. Accessed October 2021 at https://extension.usu.edu/preserve-the-harvest/research/apples|