Canning the Apple Season

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Here in Henderson County, we take our apples very seriously. As the top producer of apples in the state, you don’t have to go far to find the bountiful orchards brimming with locals and visitors alike this time of year as they pick their peck of apples and enjoy a nice cup of cider.

Canning is an excellent way to preserve those apples for months to come. Check out these tested recipes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and head to your favorite orchard this weekend and get a bushel of apples to start canning! These jars make great holiday gifts as well. If you’re new to canning, keep an eye out for hands-on canning classes at our office.

Apple Butter

Use Jonathan, Winesap, Stayman, Golden Delicious, Maclntosh, or other tasty apple varieties for good results.

  • 8 lbs apples
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2¼ cups white sugar
  • 2¼ cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves

Yield: About 8 to 9 pints

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Wash, remove stems, quarter and core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is ready for canning. Fill hot into sterile half-pint or pint jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Quart jars need not be presterilized. For information about presterilizing jars see “Sterilization of Empty Jars”. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints or Pints 5 min 10 15
Quarts 10 15 20

This document was adapted from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2015.

Applesauce

Quantity: An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13½ pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 14 to 19 quarts of sauce – an average of 3 pounds per quart.

Quality: Select apples that are sweet, juicy and crisp. For a tart flavor, add 1 to 2 pounds of tart apples to each 3 pounds of sweeter fruit.

Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Wash, peel, and core apples. If desired, slice apples into water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning. Placed drained slices in an 8- to 10-quart pot. Add ½ cup water. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning, heat quickly until tender (5 to 20 minutes, depending on maturity and variety). Press through a sieve or food mill, or skip the pressing step if you prefer chunk-style sauce. Sauce may be packed without sugar. If desired, add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of sauce. Taste and add more, if preferred. Reheat sauce to boiling. Fill jars with hot sauce, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.

Processing directions for canning applesauce in a boiling-water, a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in Table 1Table 2, and Table 3.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Quart Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 15 min 20 20 25
Quarts 20 25 30 35
Table 2.Process Times for Applesauce in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 6 lb 7 lb 8 lb 9 lb
Quarts 10 6 7 8 9
Table 3. Process Times for Applesauce in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Cannner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 5 lb 10 lb
Quarts 10 5 10

Harvest Time Apple Relish

  • 8 pounds apples (crisp cooking variety such as Honey Crisp, Cameo, or Pink Lady)
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar (5%)
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 8 pieces stick cinnamon (3 inches each)
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) finely chopped red Serrano pepper (about 4-6 peppers as purchased)

Yield: About 7 to 8 pint jars

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

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:

1. 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.

2. Rinse apples well, peel if desired for best quality, and core. Immerse prepared apples in a solution of 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid and 4 quarts of water to prevent browning. Coarsely shred with food processor or dice by hand and return to ascorbic acid bath as you work.

3. Rinse peppers and remove stem ends; trim to remove seeds then finely chop.

4. Combine vinegar, sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, ginger and red pepper. Heat while stirring to dissolve sugar; bring to a boil.

5. Drain apples and add to hot syrup. Bring back to a boil. Boil gently 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are mostly translucent. Turn off heat. Remove cinnamon sticks from relish mixture and place one piece in each jar.

6. Fill hot fruit with syrup into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace, making sure fruit is completely covered with syrup. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel. Apply and adjust prepared canning lids.
7. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Harvest Time Apple Relish in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Half-pints 10 min 15 20

Notes:  Peeling apples is preferred for quality. Refrigerate any leftover relish from filling jars and enjoy freshly made! Refrigerate the canned relish once jars are opened for use.