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How to Can Apples with Peels On - Easily

How to Can Apples (with Peels Left On) at Home - Easily

Making and canning your own home-canned apple slices, leaving the peels on is easy with these complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The canned apples will taste MUCH better than that over-sugared tasteless glop in the can from the grocery store, and by selecting the right apples, it will be so naturally-sweet that when you use them later in a recipe, you may not need to add any sugar at all. Perfect to use in many recipes later!

Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.

Now here's how you can, too!


  • Apples - An average of 19 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quart jars; an average of 12-1/4 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
    A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 19 quarts-an average of 2-3/4 pounds per quart. Of course, you can make fewer jars, or use pint jars instead.
  • Water, Sugar, apple juice or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, (to make a solution to blanch the apples and fill around the apple slices in the jars


  • vegetable/apple peeler
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter (I like the lid rack that holds 12 lids or you can pull them out one at a time with the lid-lifter that has a magnet from the almost-boiling water where you sanitize them. ($4 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)t)
  • Jar funnel ($4 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)t)
  • At least 1 large pot
  • Large spoons and ladles,
  • Canning jars (often called Ball jars, Mason jars or Kerr jars) (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - now about $12 per dozen quart jars (up 50% in 2 years!) including the lids and rings)
  • 1 water bath canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars of apple pie filling after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the apples

The most important step!  You need apples that are sweet - NOT something like Granny Smith's.  Yeah, I know you like them to eat fresh, but you'd have to add a lot of sugar. 

Instead, choose apples that are naturally sweet, like Gala, Fuji, Rome and always use a mixture - never just one type.  This year I used 4 bushels of red delicious and one each of Fuji, Gala and Rome.  This meant it was so sweet I did not need to add any sugar at all.  And the flavor is great! The Fuji's and Gala's give it an aromatic flavor! Honeycrisp and Pink Lady are also excellent, sweet, flavorful apples. you may want to use firmer apples - Golden and Red delicious tend to be very soft

Step 2 - How many apples and where to get them

You can pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.  You can also get them in large quantities for prices (in 2005) in the $14 to $20 range at the real farmer's markets, like the Atlanta-Forest park Georgia State Farmer's Market and orchards in the southeast of the U.S.  You will get about 14 to 18 quarts of apple pie filling per bushel of apples, depending upon bruises and size..

Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids

Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot apple pie filling.

Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.

Step 4 -Wash the apples!

Coring and slicing applesI'm sure you can figure out how to wash the apples in plain cold water.Step 6 - Core and Slice

You can use a knife, but the $5 corer/slicer you see in the photo is the easiest way to do it. The apple corer/slicer, available at almost any large grocery store, kitchen store, Bed Bath and Beyond, mall kitchen stores, Target and other local "big box" stores

With this or an ordinary knife, any slices that are between 1/4-inch and 1/2 inch thick will do.

apple slices - discard the core Then you can discard the core which has the seeds, stem and hard parts.


Here are the apple slices, ready for the pie filling!

These corer/slicers are fantastic.  Think about it; it makes six slices in the time you can cut one with a knife AND it cores. The one sold here is better than any I've seen in the stores because it has tall handles (so you won't knock your knuckles) and is washable in the dishwasher.   Click on the link below for more info or to order one.


Step 7 - Blanch/cook the Apples

It's pretty simple:  place 6 cups of sliced apples at a time in a large pot with 1 gallon of 

Boil each batch for 5 minutes after the water returns to a boil. You're not really "cooking" the apples - just blanching  and heating them.  Blanching means heating the at high temperature for a brief time to stop the enzymes that can cause the flavor to degrade during storage.  Raw packs (unblanched apples) make poor quality products.

Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Step 8 - Drain

Drain and keep the hot, cooked fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Save the liquid to use in step 10 to fill the void spaces in the jars!

Step 9 - Fill the jars with the apple slices

Pretty self explanatory.  Fill jars with hot slices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

A Jar funnel helps.  Gently jostle the jar and lightly press the slices to help them settle in the jar and reduce the amount of air space.

Step 10 - Pour the liquid over the apples in the jars

Fill them to within 1/2 inch of the top with hot syrup (see steps 7 and 8) or water. Wipe any spills off of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.

Step 11 - Process the filled jars in the water bath

Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 or 2 inches of water and boiling. if you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint and/or quart jars for 20 minutes.


If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, or what to use a Pressure Canner, see the tables below.

Processing directions for canning sliced apples in a boiling-water, a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in below

Table 1. Recommended process time for Apples, sliced in a boiling-water canner.

  Process Time at Altitudes of
Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000
Pints or Quarts 20 min 25 30 35

Table 2. Process Times for Apples, sliced in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.

  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Jar Size Process Time
0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Pints or Quarts 8 minutes 6 lbs/in2 7 lbs/in2 8 lbs/in2 9 lbs/in2


Table 3. Process Times for Apples, sliced in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.

  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
or Quarts
8 minutes 5 lbs/in2 10  bs/in2


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 1994.

Reviewed June 2006.


Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter - to remove lids from the pot of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lids- disposable - you may only use them once
  4. Ring - holds the lids on the jar until after the jars cool - then you remove them, save them and reuse them
  5. Canning Jar funnel - to fill the jars
Canning tools

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. "I understand the entire process with your well explained and illustrated directions. i have one question, do i discard the water i boil the apples in? or do i keep that water and use it to fill the jars with after the apples are packed tightly? if i am to discard the liquid the apples are cooked in, then do i just fill the jars with the apples with tap water??? thanks for your help :)"

    A. Step 7 tells you how to make a solution that you use to cook the apples in. Then in step 8 you drain the apples, and save the liquid to use in stee 10 to fill the air spaces around the apples in the jars!  You could also use fresh water, which is boiling hot, but I can't image why anyone would want to as that would dilute the flavor.

Ball home canning kit water bath canner

Home Canning Kits

See the seller's website for more information, features, pricing and user reviews!

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from apple pie filling to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You will never need anything else except more jars and lids!

Norpro 1951 Manual Food Strainer, with optional motor; (almost identical to Victorio V250, Villaware and Roma models, all discontinued)

See the seller's website for more information, features, pricing and user reviews!


Deluxe Food Strainer and Sauce Maker

See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!




Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

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