The other day, I received an e-mail from Pam Zimbelman of East Grand Forks. She said she has a recipe for apple pie filling that can be canned and that it calls for clear gel. She was wondering if that meant clear gelatin or fruit pectin.
My response was that I’d never heard of gel or pectin being used in a pie filling, only jams and jellys. But I did send her a recipe for Apple Pie in a Jar, which was given a few years ago by Karla Miller of Grand Forks.
Usually each fall, I can a few quarts of Apple Pie in a Jar besides vacuum-sealing some cored, peeled and sliced apples for use over the winter. I’ve already done my vacuum-sealing (6 cups per bag, just enough for apple crisps) and hope to do a few "jars" in the not-too-distant future.
The "apple pie in a jar" just needs to be poured into a pie crust and deposited in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes before it’s ready to eat with some ice cream or a slice of cheese.
If you have any apples lying around that need attention, I recommend giving the following recipe a try. And during the holiday season, when time is at a premium, it can be a godsend if you’re planning on making an apple pie.
Apple Pie in a Jar
4½ cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons lemon juice
10 cups water
7 quarts peeled, cored and sliced apples
Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and water in a large saucepan. Place over high heat and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Cool slightly and add vanilla. Stir well. Then add lemon juice and stir well.
Pack apples into sterilized warm jars. Slowly sauce carefully over apples, covering them completely. Run a knife or spatula around inside the jar to remove air pockets and distribute the mixture more evenly. Leave ½-inch head space for processing.
Place jars in water bath and process for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and cool.
To use as pie filling, place the contents of 1 quart jar in pie crust and place crust over top. Seal edges and vent for steam. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.