Canning apples is a great way to preserve the fresh flavor to enjoy throughout the year. Learn how to home can plain apples slices, quarters, or chunks for your food storage shelves.
Although apples can be stored in a root cellar or cool location for a long time, having peeled, cored, and sliced apples ready to go can be a time saver in the kitchen. Canned apples can be enjoyed right out of the jar, or added to your favorite baked, simmered, or fried recipes.
Tips for Canning Apples
The best apples for canning are freshly harvested, local apples. Apples found out of season in the stores have been kept in storage, which affects the freshness, crispness, and juiciness.
Types of Apples for Canning
Choose crisp apple varieties that hold up well when cooked. Baking apples such as Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Honey gold, Gala, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp are good choices. Consider mixing several varieties for flavor.
Slightly damaged or softer apple varieties, such as Jonagolds, Macouns, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious can be turned into canned applesauce.
Select fresh, firm apples with no bruises or insect damage that have a strong apple aroma. If you are aiming for a full canner load, that would be about 21 pounds for a load of 7 quarts, and about 13 1/2 pounds for a canner load of 9 pint sized jars depending on the size of your apple pieces.
Decide on the Jar Size
Think about how you will use canned apples. I like canning apples in a mix of quarts and pints. You can fit about 3 pounds of apples into a quart-sized jar. That is just the right amount to make an apple pie and for most baked recipes, while the pints can be used for snacking.
The processing time is the same for pint and quart sized jars, so feel free to mix jar sizes in the same canner load.
Select a Preserving Liquid
Canning fruit in a sugar syrup helps to maintain flavor and shape. You can preserve apples in a sugar syrup, honey syrup, apple juice, white grape juice, or even plain water.
This recipe uses a very light sugar syrup, but feel free to substitute any of these options:
Syrup for 9 Pint Sized Jars:
- Very Light: 6 1/2 cups water and 3/4 cups sugar
- Light: 5 3/4 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Medium: 5 1/4 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- Heavy: 5 cups water and 3 1/4 cups sugar
- Light Honey: 7 cups water and 1/2 cups mild honey
Syrup for 7 Quart Sized Jars:
- Very Light: 10 1/2 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar
- Light: 9 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- Medium: 8 1/4 cups sugar and 3 3/4 cups sugar
- Heavy: 7 3/4 cups sugar and 5 1/4 cups sugar
- Light Honey: 11 cups water and 1 cup honey
Steps to Canning Apples
In this canning recipe, apples are peeled, cored, cut into chunks, slices, quarters, or halves, and preserved into shelf stable jars using a water bath canner.
If you are new to canning or haven’t canned in a while, it may be helpful to review this article on water bath canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
A more detailed and printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this article, but these are the general steps for canning apples in pint-sized jars. See the notes in the recipe for quarts.
Step 1: Gather your canning supplies
You will need the following canning and kitchen equipment:
- Water bath canner
- 9 pint sized canning jars
- Canning lids and bands
- Canning tools: lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large sauce pot, large prep bowl, small pot, kitchen towels, large slotted spoon, tongs, peeler, knife, and a cutting board.
Step 2: Prepare the canning jars
Wash the jars, lids, and canning equipment in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Check the jars for nicks and cracks. Eliminate any jars that are damaged as these will break in the canner.
Place the jar rack into water bath canner, set the jars on the rack in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to heat and sterilize. Warm your lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until ready to use.
Step 3: Make the syrup
Add the sugar and water to the large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar, keep warm.
Step 4: Prepare the Lemon Water
To help prevent the peeled apples from browning, dip the pieces in a lemon water bath or an ascorbic acid mixture, such as Fruit-Fresh (follow the instructions on the container).
For a lemon water bath, fill a large bowl with about a gallon of cold water and juice from one lemon or 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice.
Step 5: Prepare the Apples
Wash the apples well under clean, running water. Peel, core, and cut into halves, quarters, chunks, or slices. Add the apple pieces to the prepared lemon bath as you work.
Step 6: Simmer the Apples in the Syrup
Drain the apples and add them to the sugar-syrup pot. Cover the pot, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the apples for about 5 minutes.
Partially cooking the apples in the syrup helps draw the air out of the fruit so it will be less likely to float in the jar or absorb extra liquid when processed.
Step 7: Can the Apples
Remove the warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on a kitchen towel.
Use tongs and pack the hot apples into the jar. Use the canning funnel and ladle to pour the hot syrup over the apples maintaining a 1/2-inch headspace. To help prevent siphoning, make sure that the apples are covered with the liquid while allowing for adequate headspace.
Run the bubble popper through the jars to remove air bubbles. Add the lids and process in a water bath canner. Let the jars cool, test the seals, label and date the jars, and store in a cool, dark location. Canned foods are best if eaten within a year and are safe as long as lids remain sealed.
Canning Apples for Food Storage
- 13 1/2 pounds baking apples
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
Prepare the canning equipment:
- Wash the canning jars and lids in warm, soapy water and rinse well.
- Place the jar rack into the water bath canner, set the clean jars in the canner, add water, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize.
- Warm your lids in a small pot over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until they are ready to use.
Make the syrup:
- Add the sugar and water to the large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar, keep warm.
Prepare the apples:
- To prevent browning, dip the peeled and sliced apples into a lemon water bath as you work. Fill a large bowl with about a gallon of cold water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice (or use Fruit Fresh).
- Wash the apples well under clean, running water. Peel, core, and cut the apples into halves, quarters, or slices. Add the apple pieces to the prepared lemon bath as you work.
Heat the apples in the syrup:
- Drain the apples and add them to the sugar-syrup pot. Cover the pot, raise the heat, and bring the pot to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and fill the jars.
Can the apples:
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on the towel.
- Use your canning funnel and ladle, to fill the warm jars with hot apples and top off with the syrup leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Run you bubble popper through the apples to release air bubbles.
- Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Place the lids on the jars, gasket side down. Screw the metal band down fingertip tight. Repeat until all the jars are filled.
- Place jars into canner with the jar lifter. Adjust the water level so it is at least one inch above the jar tops. If adding water, pour the water in between the jars and not directly onto them. Use the hot water from the small pot your lids were warmed in.
- Cover the canner and bring to boil over high heat. Once water boils vigorously, process pints and quarts for 20 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. (adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary).
- When processing time is complete, turn off heat and allow the canner to cool down and settle for about 5 minutes.
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter; remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face.
- Use a jar lifter to lift jars carefully from canner and place on the towel. Allow the jars to cool for 12 to 24-hours. You should hear the satisfactory "ping" of the jar lids sealing.
- After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within a few days.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label, date, and store your jars in a cool, dark place and use within 12-18 months. Yields about 9 pint jars of apples.
- This recipe is for canning pint jars of apples. If you are canning quarts, you will need about 17 1/2 pounds of apples for a full canner load of 7 quarts. The processing time is the same for both pint and quart sized jars.
- This is a tested safe canning recipe from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. Changing the recipe may make the product unsafe.
All times are at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. Adjustments must be made for altitudes greater than 1,000 ft.
- If you need immediate canning help or answers, please contact your local extension office.
Canning Resources and Further Reading:
- Syrups for Canning Fruit – National Center for Home Food Preserving
- Frequently Asked Canning Questions – National Center for Home Food Preserving
You May Also Like:
Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden
Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.