I can feel autumn sneaking up on us already…
Although we’re still having our fair share of 90+ degree days, every 4th day or so, the nights cool off to be surprisingly crisp for this early in September, and I know it’s coming…
But the preservation work is just beginning. Whether it’s canning apple slices, smashing the garden cabbage into sauerkraut, or pulling the still-very-green tomatoes off the vine to ripen in boxes, I’ll be in the kitchen more than my fair share for the next few months.
When it comes to apple season, I always have a hard time deciding what to do with the apples because there are so darn many ways to eat them. (And my kids will probably never get sick of having apple puff pancakes for breakfast either…)
After we eat our fill of seasonal apples, I like to preserve what’s left. Cause who doesn’t love pulling a little bit of the taste of fall out of their pantry on a freezing February night, am I right?
While I do can homemade applesauce, we only need so much. Canning apple slices, on the other hand, gives me so many more winter-dessert options. Think apple pie, apple cobbler, apple crisp (and any other apple dishes that may satisfy a long-winter-night craving).
By the way, I never throw away my apple cores and peels… Read more here about how to make a homemade apple cider vinegar with the apple scraps.
Choosing the Right Type of Apples for Canning
It’s super important to choose the right variety of apples for canning. You want to end up with distinct and crisp slices, not mushy-almost-applesauce slices. If your canned apples end up mushy, it’s probably because of the type of apple you used. You can still use mushy canned apples to make puree or make a quick applesauce, but if you want crisp canned apple slices, choose your apples well.
Here are some tips for choosing the best apples:
(1) Go with apple varieties that are already naturally sweet (so not, for example, Granny Smith). Some sweeter apple varieties include Gala and Fuji.
(2) Stick with apples that have a firm flesh. Some examples include Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Gala, and Fuji.
If you’re dreaming of planning an orchard on your homestead, or even just planting one or two apple trees, you might want to check out Nature Hills’ special Heritage Collection of all sorts of fabulous trees, shrubs, and plants they’ve pulled together, just for my readers. (Pretty cool, huh?)
Choosing the Right Tools for Canning
If you’re doing any kind of canning, you’ll need a few special items in your kitchen. (I list my favorite food preservation tools here.) But trust me, it’s nothing to be overwhelmed by at all.
I’m not much of a gadget-kinda gal, but apples, well they’re deserving of a gadget or two. If you plan on doing lots of great things with apples in the many autumns ahead, I highly recommend a few unique, inexpensive tools that will make your job much easier, such as this apple slicer, an apple corer, or, even better, this handy apple peeler, corer, slicer, all in one. That little gizmo is ingenious and worth its weight in GOLDen delicious apples. 😉
Deciding How Many Apples are Needed for Canning
This is far from an exact science, so this is just my estimate for how many apples you need if you want to can apple slices. These numbers can vary depending on all sorts of factors, including the variety of apples used, the juiciness of your apples, etc.
Here’s an average for canned apple slices:
- 10-12 pounds of apples = 8 pints or 4 quarts of canned apple slices
- 1 bushel of apples = around 16-18 quarts of canned apple slices
Using Sugar Syrup or Honey Syrup?
I’m including a light sugar syrup recipe and a honey syrup recipe for you to use when canning apple slices. I personally prefer to use honey in my canned fruits (like my canned peaches and my canned cherries), but some people argue that a light sugar syrup will give you crisper canned apple slices. So feel free to experiment and try half of your canned apples with a light sugar syrup and half with the honey syrup to see which ones you like best.
It’s always hard to figure out exactly how much syrup you’ll need to make, so I’ve put down a basic formula, based on using 10-12 pounds of apples.
Recipe for Canning Apple Slices
You Will Need:
- Crisp, sweet apples (stemmed, peeled, cored, and quartered)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice plus 4 cups water (to prevent browning)
- Syrup (choose below either a light sugar syrup or honey syrup)
For a Light Sugar Syrup per 10-12 pounds of apples:
- 2 1/4 cups organic granulated sugar
- 5 1/4 cups water
For a Honey Syrup per 10-12 pounds of apples:
- 1.5 cups honey (this is my favorite place to buy honey)
- 5 cups water
Prepare your apples by getting them stemmed, peeled, cored, and quartered.
Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water. Slice the apples then place them in the bowl to prevent browning.
In a large pot, add the ingredients for your light sugar syrup OR honey syrup.
Add the apples to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, pack the hot apple slices into hot, sanitized jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
Ladle the hot syrup into the jars, covering the apples, but still leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
Eat your canned apples straight from the jar, over ice cream or oatmeal, or use them to make delicious pies, cobblers, crisps, crumbles, and more. They won’t last long!