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University of Minnesota Extension

Canning apples

Food safety starts with cleaning!

Wash hands for 20 seconds

  • Wet hands under hot running water. Add lots of soap.
  • Rub and wash back of hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails for 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well under running water.
  • Dry with paper towels.
  • Use paper to turn off the water faucet.

Clean and sanitize sink and counter tops

  • Wash counter tops and prep sinks with hot soapy water.
  • Fill squirt bottle with 1 quart water. Add 1 teaspoon of unscented regular chlorine bleach or ¾ unscented ultra (6% sodium hypochlorite) chlorine bleach. Or use commercially prepared cleaner and follow directions on label.
  • Spray counter tops and sink with bleach solution. Let air dry.
  • Wash hands.

Clean as you go

  • Wash dishes, utensils, cutting boards, etc. in hot soapy water.
  • Let air dry.


  • Apples - juicy, crispy, combination of sweet and tart, firm (1.5 pounds of apples per pint jar; 3 medium apples = 1 pound).
  • Granulated white sugar for syrup or sugar pack.
  • Ascorbic acid.

Canning directions

1) Prepare jars

  • Inspect jars for chips and cracks.
  • Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well.
  • Fill the canner half full with clean warm water.
  • Center the canner over the burner and preheat the water to 140°F for raw-packed foods and to 180°F for hot-packed foods. Use a food thermometer to monitor temperature.
  • Put jars into canners so they fill with water.
  • Prepare apples while preheating jars.

2) Wash apples

  • Rinse apples well under running water. Scrub each apple with a clean produce brush while rinsing under running water.

3) Peel, core and prep apples

  • Wash hands.
  • To prevent browning, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid in 2 quarts of water.
  • Peel and core apples. Trim any bruised or discolored areas.
  • Slice apples and put slices into the water/ascorbic acid.

4) Prepare syrup

  • In a large kettle, per 5 pounds of sliced apples, add 1 pint water or 1 pint very light syrup (1/2 cup sugar per quart water) or 1 pint apple juice.
  • Drain apples and add to the kettle.
  • Boil gently 5 minutes.
  • Stir to prevent burning.

5) Prepare lids

  • According to research done by Jarden Home Brands quality assurance team, pre-heating metal canning lids is not necessary. To prepare lids, wash them with warm soapy water and keep at room temperature until ready to use.

6) Fill jars

  • Use jar lifter to remove jars from canner pouring water from jars back into the canner.
  • Place hot jars into a towel or cake cooling rack.
  • Ladle hot apple slices and hot syrup (or liquid) into hot jars using a funnel (jar filler).
  • Fill to 1/2 inch from top of jar (this is called headspace).
  • Insert a plastic utensil to remove trapped air bubbles. (Don't use metal as it can scratch the glass and increase risk for breakage).
  • Re-adjust headspace if needed by adding extra apple slices or liquid.
  • Wipe top of the jar rim with a damp clean paper towel.
  • Remove lid from saucepan with a tongs or lid wand and place on jar.
  • Apply screw band, finger tight. Do not over tighten.

7) Load the canner

  • Place filled jars in canner one at a time using a jar lifter. Make sure the jar lifter is securely positioned below the neck of the jar (below the screw band of the lid). Keep the jar upright at all times. Tilting the jar could cause food to spill into the sealing area of the lid.
  • Add more boiling water, if needed, so the water level is at least one inch above the jar tops.
  • Turn the heat setting to its highest position, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle rolling boil.
  • Set timer. Process pints or quarts for 25 minutes.
  • Add more boiling water during the process, if needed, to keep the water level 1-2 inches above the jar tops.
  • If the water stops boiling at any time during the process, turn the heat on its highest setting, bring the water back to a vigorous boil, and begin the timing of the process over from the beginning (using the total original process time).

8) Unload the canner

  • When timer rings, turn off heat and remove cover.
  • Wait 5 minutes before removing jars to prevent 'spill overs' and ensure good seals.
  • Using a jar lifter, remove the jar one at a time, being careful not to tilt the jars.
  • Place jars directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling.

9) Cool and store

  • Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool, from 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.
  • Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Test seal. Press the center of the lid. It is sealed if there is no clicking sound.
  • Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
  • Wipe jars and lid with a wet cloth.
  • Label with name of contents and date.
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 1 year.

Note: Pressure canner options - pints/quarts: Dial gauge at 6 pounds for 8 minutes or weighted gauge at 10 pounds for 8 minutes.

Reviewed in 2015

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