apple pie guts


Oh, no, no!!! Why, WHY do they have to add so much junk to their apple pie filling? Why is there high fructose corn syrup, food starch, “natural flavors,” added color…? Why can’t it just be APPLE???

Me no likey. One bit.

$2.88 for one of these bad boys, and you need TWO to make a pie. And then go into a diabetic coma. Nothankyou.

So much better to make your own. Super simple. Get the kids involved. Five total ingredients.

Typically, apples are abundant in the fall and early winter.  But sometimes you find gala apples on sale for 59 cents per pound in February…

I grabbed up 35 pounds of not-so-terribly pretty gala apples (just a little dinged up, which is why they were on sale) for a whopping $20.64, and the Merrill clan cleared up Sunday afternoon to spend the day processing and canning apple pie guts.

The recipe also calls for brown sugar and cinnamon, which I already had on hand at home. The two other ingredients that I needed to purchase were the tapioca (two packages at $3.69 each) and the lemon juice ($2.45).  I also grabbed two packages of canning lids (wide mouth at $3.19 and regular at $1.99).  All in all, I spent $35.65.

Not counting the cost of the jars and rings which I already had at home, and the sugar and cinnamon, each of my QUART sized jars cost $2.22 in ingredients (because I ended up with 16 jars total).  The quart sized jars are double in size to the Duncan Hines can pictured above.  And since you need two of those to make a pie, and only one quart sized home-made jar, let’s do the math this way: if you were to go to the store and get canned apple pie filling to make a pie (not counting the crust), it would cost you $5.76.  But one of the home-made jars is only $2.22.  See how much money you can save if you do it yourself? And seriously, folks, the home-made stuff is soooooooo much better.  I promise.  You’ll never go back.

First you get yourself some apples.  A little dinged up is ok, as they’re going to be peeled and cooked anyway.


We averaged about five apples per quart jar. They cook down a lot. So, depending on how many total apples you have, multiply the recipe and adjust the measurements. Remember, the yield for the recipe here is one quart, which is about five apples.  If you have a total of 20 apples, you’d end up with four quart jars, so multiply the recipe amounts times four. Man! I rock at this math stuff!!

Then give your jars a good, hot wash to clean them…

2…and stick them in the pot to boil.  That way you know for sure they’re sanitized.3

My mother in law found a handy apple peeling, coring AND slicing contraption at a garage sale.  Seriously the best invention EVER.  It saves so much time!  You can find one on amazon here for about $16.  Anyhoo, just get those apples peeled, cored and sliced thinly (or whatever size you like your apple pie chunks to be).

My apple chunks came out this big, and they’re nice and small because that’s how they come out from the slicer.


Find a big pot (we used a big stock pot) to mix the ingredients together. Stir real well to combine apples and sugar.

Then in a smaller container, mix the tapioca and cinnamon, and set aside.


Next, put your apple and sugar mixture on the stove and cook on med-high heat until a lot of the juice is released.  At first, it’ll be a bit hard with all those apples in there, but eventually, they’ll cook down enough that stirring will be easier. Make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn!


Once your mixture comes to a boil, let it boil hard for one full minute.  You’ll know when it comes to a boil when the liquid starts bubbling.  It takes a little bit, so be patient!

After your mixture has boiled for a minute, turn off the heat and add your lemon juice and the tapioca/cinnamon mixture.  Mix real well to combine.


Once your jars are ready, then they can be filled with yumminess.  Make sure you leave a 1/2 inch head space and wipe the tops nice and good so you can get a good seal.

Then add your lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  No pressure needed (which is why I think apple pie guts is a perfect place to start canning if you’ve never canned before!).

Look at those beautiful jars!!!  So much goodness jam packed in there 🙂

I give you permission to grab a spoon and eat the guts right out of the jar. Or maybe top off your ice cream with a big fat dollop of guts.  I’m serious.  Nom nom nom.

Recipe: Apple Pie Guts

yield: 1 quart

5 cups apples (peeled, cored, cut up)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons quick tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

  1. Combine apples and sugar in a large sauce pan or stock pot.
  2. Let it stand until the juices from the apples begin to release.
  3. Stir and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Boil hard for 1 minute.
  5. Mix in tapioca, cinnamon and lemon juice.  Stir well to combine.
  6. Pack into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  7. Add sterilized lids and bands.
  8. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool on wire rack, checking to make sure the lids are correctly sealed.

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