Canning Apples in Light Syrup

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This is a step by step tutorial that will teach you all about canning apples in light syrup. This is a simple way to preserve apples! These canned apples are delicious and there are so many ways to use them and serve them.


When we moved to our country home, I noticed the three apple trees right away.

One was dead beyond saving… The other two were neglected to the point that I wasn’t sure if they were beyond saving or if they still had a chance.

Maybe they still have a chance, but in the four years that I’ve been living here, they’ve produced a total of six apples which were gobbled up by the little furry squirrel who sneaks behind my back as if I can’t see him.

Obviously, the creature doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with mothers… He doesn’t know that we have eyes in the back of our heads.

Squirrel aside, I didn’t do a good job pruning the apple trees or fertilizing or whatever… It’s still on my to-do list and I still promise myself that this winter, I’ll finally get to it.

Canning Apples in Light Syrup…

A step by step tutorial that will teach you all about canning apples in light syrup. This is a simple way to preserve apples!
#howtocanapples #canningapples #preservingapples

But you know what, if there is something that this homesteading lifestyle has taught me is that one can’t do it all.

This lifestyle is a communal affair. Period.

And a community I have! Thank you God!

So when apple season rolls around, I pack the kids and a big bin and head to shake someone else’s apple trees.

Does that sound bad? Oh well.

I come back home with a whole lot of beautiful and delicious apples and even though my kids eat them faster than ants find a smear of jam on my countertops in August, I am still left with a whole lot of apples to preserve.

And my absolute favorite way to preserve fruit is canning it.

Canning apples take a bit of time (just because there is a lot to peel and cut) but it’s a simple way to preserve apples that produce a useful and delicious product.

So let’s can some apple, shall we?

We shall!

Choosing Apples For Canning…

Feel free to can any apple variety that you come by but generally speaking, it’s better to choose a sweet variety (So… Not Granny Smith).

It really doesn’t matter what variety of apples you choose, they can be red apples or green apples or even crabapples.

Make sure though, that the apples that you choose for canning are ripe, firm, crispy, juicy, and sweet or tart (or both!).

You don’t want to can soft apples or you will end up with apple pieces that can’t hold their shape (they’ll still be good for making and canning applesauce and apple butter and jams like cranberry apple jam though…).

Raw Pack vs. Hot Pack Apple Canning…

Raw pack method – if you choose to follow this method you’ll peel, remove the core from your apples, cut them as you wish and pack them in the jars fresh (without cooking them first).

This sounds easy enough, right?

Right. The problem is that while you process your apples in the water bath canner they will shrink considerably and you will be left with half empty jars on the shelves.

And anyway, you are going to have to bring the syrup to a boil before adding it over the raw packed apples.

Considering the effort of processing, and the cost of jars I simply hate seeing half-empty jars on my shelf.

Also, and I know that this sounds counter-intuitive, but cooked fruit actually holds it’s taste and shape much better when canning.

So, if you want to raw pack your fruit you certainly can, but take the points above into consideration.

Hot pack method – I personally prefer the hot pack method when canning apples, especially since I need to boil the syrup anyway.

In the hot pack method we peel, remove the apple core, cut, and cook the apples with the syrup for just a few minutes.

This short cooking helps release air from the fruit’s tissue and therefore we can pack more into a jar. It also helps prevent the fruit from floating in the jar and it helps keep the shape and the taste of the fruit.

How many Apples Do You Need…

This is always a bit tricky… The good thing is that if you are left with some apple pieces that won’t fit in a jar you can use them right away or store them in the fridge for a few days.

let me give you a general sense…

You need about 1.5 pounds of apples per one pint jar or about 2.5 pounds of apples per quart jar.

19 pounds of apples will fill about 7 quart jars.

About 12 pounds of apples will fill about 9 pint jars (or about 5 quart jars).

One bushel of apples is 48 pounds. If you can one bushel you’ll get about 32 pint jars or about 19 quart jars.

I say, don’t sweat this too much. Weight your apples, decide approximately how much syrup you’ll need and go on. If you have apple pieces leftover just use them for something else. If you have syrup leftover you can store it in the fridge if you’d like.

Syrup Options For Canning Apples…

You can choose to can apples in honey syrup or sugar syrup. If you choose the sugar syrup you can choose from a very light syrup to a heavy syrup.

To make a honey syrup – for canning about 12 pounds of apples, use 1.5 cups of honey to 5 cups of water.

To make a sugar syrup – for canning about 12 pounds of apples…

For a very light syrup, use 3/4 cup sugar to 6 1/2 cups of water or…

For a light syrup, use 1 – 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 5 3/4 cups of water.

I choose to use a light sugar syrup. It’s simple and affordable and keeps the fruit tasting great.

If you wish to use a heavier syrup the NCHFP has all the measurements that you need.

Tools That We Are Going to Need…

All right, let’s gather our tools before we start canning apples. Here are what we’ll need…

Cutting board – to cut the apples on.

Knife – to cut the apples with.

Vegetable peeler – to peel the apples. I am seriously considering this nice kitchen gadget though…

Large bowl – to soak the apples in water and lemon juice while we peel and slice them to prevent them from browning.

Measuring cup – to measure the sugar.

A large pot – to boil the syrup and apples.

Wooden spoon – to mix the syrup and apples.

Jars – you can choose either pints or quarts.

Lids and bands – to cover and close the jars.

Canning utensils – we are going to use all of them. The bubble remover, funnel, jar lifter, and the magnetic lid lifter.

Ladle – to ladle the hot syrup over the apples.

Paper towel – to clean the rim of the jar.

Water bath canner – to process the apples.

Ok, we are ready. Let’s learn how to can apples!

Preparing the Apples For Canning…

A bowl of apples ready for canning.

The first thing to do is to prepare the apples for canning, of course. Honestly, this takes the most effort and time. Once we are done with this the rest is easy peasy.

Peeling the apples.

I start by peeling a few apples at a time…

Quarrying the apples and removing the core.

Then, I quarter them. I place my knife at an angle and cut out the core (sometimes I use the peel and core to make apple cider vinegar)…

Slicing the apples.

Then, I slice each quarter in three…

Dicing the apples.

And dice the slices. You don’t have to dice the slices. If you want, you can can apple slices as well.

Squeezing a lemon into the bowl of water.

To keep the apples from browning, I set a large bowl of cold water close by and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the water.

Adding apples to the bowl of water.

Then, as I work, I add the diced apples to the bowl of water. They float, so I push them down once in a while. As long as they are wet, they won’t brown.

Preparing the Canning Equipment…

Sanitizing the jars.

While I work on peeling and coring and dicing the apples, I set the water bath canner on the stove top.

I fill it with enough water to cover my pint jars by about and inch. I add the jars to the canner, setting them on the rack, and I let the water in the canner come to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, I let it boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the jars. Then I lower the heat to keep the water hot until I’m ready to process the filled jars.

I also add the lids and bands to a small pot and cover them with water. Then, I set it on the stove top and bring it to a boil. I let the pot boil for 5 minutes before turning the heat off.

I leave the lids and bands in there until I am ready to use them.

Cooking the Apples and Syrup…

Preparing the sugar syrup.

Once the apples are ready to go, I make my syrup in a large pot…

I processed about 8 pounds of apples here so I added 5 3/4 cups of water to the pot and one large cup of sugar.

I turn the heat to high and bring this mixture to a boil.

Adding the apples to the pot.

Once the syrup is boiling, I turn the heat off a bit and add the apples. I let the whole thing simmer for 5 minutes.

Packing the Jars With Apples…

Packing the jars with apples.

I use the jar lifters to take one jar out of the hot water and set it on my cutting board.

I use the funnel to help me fill the jar with just the apples at this point, making sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace…

Adding syrup.

Then, I use the ladle to scoop a little bit of the syrup from the pot and I add it to the jar, again, making sure to leave 1/2 inch room of headspace.

Removing air bubbles.

I then use the bubble remover around the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles…

Cleaning the rim of the jar.

Lastly, I wipe the jar with a damp paper towel…

Closing the jar.

Before I pick up a lid with the lid lifter and center it on the jar. Then, I lift a band and close the jar finger tight.

Processing Apples In The Canner…

Once the jars are filled and ready on the rack, I lower it into the water in the canner and turn the heat to high again to bring the water back to a boil.

I process both pints and quarts for 20 minutes.

If you live above a 1000 feet in elevation you’ll have to adjust processing time according to the table below…

Boiling water canner altitude adjustment.

Once the 20 minutes are done, I turn the heat off and uncover the canner. I let the jars hang in there for 5 minutes before I use the jar lifters to remove them.

I place them on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool over night.

How to Store Canned Apples…

Storing the canned apples.

Once the jars have cooled completely, I check if they all sealed by pressing the middle of the lid. If there is no movement there, it means that the jar is sealed and ready for storage.

Jars that are not sealed can be processed again (open the jar and remove some of the apples. Then clean the rim again and close the jar. Check your lid, you might need a new one. Then process again), or stored in the fridge.

I remove the band from the jars that are ready for storage so I have a better view of what’s going on inside the jar.

Then I wipe the jars clean and set them on the shelf.

The apples will last between 12-18 months.

How to Use Canned Apples…

Canned apples are great for any baked good that calls for apples!

I use them in my favorite apple cake or think apple crisp, apple cobbler, apple pie, and so on.

They are also great on pancakes or french crepe or added to a bowl of ice cream or homemade yogurt and granola.

The possibilities are endless!


You are going to love canning apples! It’s simple, a great recipe for the beginner and a very useful one.

If you own apple trees or if you know someone that does, or if you come by them in the farmer’s market or on sale at the grocery store, canning apples is a great way to preserve them!

If you liked this post, you might also like…

How to Dry Apples in the Oven (Apple Chips)

Apple and Plum Jam

Canning Peaches

Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

Candied Orange Slices

Canning Apples

Canning Apples

Yield: 9 pints or 5 quarts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Processing Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Canning apples in light sugar syrup.

Ingredients

  • 12 pounds of apples
  • juice of one-half lemon squeezed into a large bowl of cold water to prevent the apples from browning.
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 5 3/4 cups water
  • (note, these are the ingredients for canning apples in light sugar syrup. I'll give you other syrup options below)

Instructions

  1. Peel the apples and quarter them. Place your knife at an angle and cut out the core. Then slice and dice the apples.
    You can also just can sliced apples, you don’t have to dice them.
    To prevent the apples from browning, fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze half a lemon into the water.
    Add the apples to the bowl as you slice or dice them. 
  2. While you work on peeling and coring and dicing the apples, set the water bath canner on the stove top and turn the heat to high.
    Fill it with enough water to cover your jars by about an inch.
    Add the jars to the canner, set them on the rack, and let the water in the canner come to a boil.
    Once the water is boiling, let it boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the jars. Then lower the heat to keep the water hot until you are ready to process the filled jars.
    Also, add the lids and bands to a small pot and cover them with water. Then, set it on the stove top, turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil.
    Let the pot boil for 5 minutes before turning the heat off. Leave the lids and bands in there until you are ready to use them. 
  3. Once the apples are ready to go, make your syrup in a large pot:
    To make a honey syrup - for canning about 12 pounds of apples, use 1.5 cups of honey to 5 cups of water. 
    To make a sugar syrup -  for canning about 12 pounds of apples...
    For a very light syrup, use 3/4 cup sugar to 6 1/2 cups of water or...
    For a light syrup, use 1 - 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 5 3/4 cups of water.  
    If you wish to use a heavier syrup the NCHFP has all the measurements that you need.  
    Bring your syrup to a boil.
  4. Raw Pack - if you choose to raw pack your apples, you will pack the jars and add the hot syrup over the apples, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace before removing bubbles, cleaning the rim, and closing the jar and processing in the water bath canner. 
  5. Hot Pack - if you choose the hot pack method, add your apples to the pot of syrup and let them simmer in the hot syrup for 5 minutes. 
    (You can find a detailed explanation about the difference between the two methods in the post above). 
  6. Pack your sanitized jars with apples, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, add the hot syrup over the apples, still making sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace. 
  7. Remove bubbles, clean the rim of the jar, cover with the lid, and close with the band finger tight.
  8. Add the filled jars back to the canner (set them on the rack). Cover the canner and turn the heat too high.
    Bring the water in the canner to a boil and process both pint and quart jars for 20 minutes (if you live above 1000 feet in elevation, you will have to adjust the processing time. You can find the adjustment table in the post above). 
  9. When the 20 minutes are up, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars hang in there for five minutes before removing them and setting them on a kitchen towel on the counter. 
  10. Let the jars cool, undisturbed overnight before removing the band, wiping, and storing them.  

Notes

You need about 1.5 pounds of apples per one pint jar or about 2.5 pounds of apples per quart jar. 

Feel free to can any apple variety that you come by but generally speaking, it's better to choose a sweet variety (So... Not Granny Smith). 

It really doesn't matter what variety of apples you choose, they can be red apples or green apples or even crabapples. 

Make sure though, that the apples that you choose for canning are ripe, firm, crispy, juicy, and sweet or tart (or both!). 

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