Appalachian Food

Canned Sweet Apples

canned sweet apples

I came across this apple recipe in the cookbook Mountain Cooking written by John Parris. When I read it I was immediately intrigued because it sounded almost exactly like the way Granny taught me to make pear preserves.

Uncle Henry used to bring me Pears and Miss Cindy had a friend with two different kind of pear trees who gifted me with pears. In those days I had plenty to make the pear recipe that’s been handed down through Granny’s family. Unfortunately I no longer have access to pears, but when I read the apple recipe by John Parris I knew I had to try it.

You’ll remember the squirrels ate all my apples this year while I was sick. Thankfully Miss Cindy got more than enough apples from farmer Tim down the road for me to put up applesauce and to try this recipe.

canned sweet apple recipe

Canned Sweet Apples – Mountain Cooking – John Parris

Peel and slice enough sweet apples to fill a large dish pan. About a half a bushel.

Cover with about 8 or 10 cups of sugar and let set overnight.

Next morning cook until tender, then pack in hot jars and seal.

Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.

If old-time sweet apples are unavailable, use Golden Delicious. In preparing the apples for canning, never add water to them. The sugar draws the juice from the apples and they cook in their own juice.

old fashioned recipe for apple preserves

The apples turned out so tasty! I do believe I’ll be making this recipe for years to come…if I can keep the squirrels out of my apple trees!



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  • Reply
    Melissa Carson
    April 22, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    I got two pecks of fresh apples last year from a local organic orchard and peeled and sliced every one of them. I steeped in fresh water and some clover honey, plus ground cinnamon, then sealed in jars. Diabetic, so almost no sweetener for me. They were amazing. Like a dessert for me over the winter. You can strain off the liquid and drink it and use the apples in muffins or breads too.

  • Reply
    Fredda Greer
    November 6, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    I can a lot of apples too. Quarts ate just enough for a pie, cobbler or to just eat with biscuits. Sometimes I don’t sweeten them so I can use when I want to use brown sugar. These canned apples are a staple in my kitchen!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm


  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 3, 2017 at 10:03 am

    If I could send you a BLUE RIBBON over the computer to hang on those apples, I certainly would…
    I remember back when I was little and my Momma would can just about anything that didn’t move! Sometimes she would stand back after wiping down her cooling jars and say, “We’ll see, but I think these will just be too pretty to open and eat, I just might decorate the shelves with them!” Dad would just sigh and by morning have any half jar that had been in the fridge opened and eating with his biscuit….saying, that she’ll be lucky if the rest last till winter…ha
    Thanks Tipper,
    Beautiful apples….I have that book with that receipt! Ha

  • Reply
    October 2, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I love to can and for the past 3 years I haven’t been able to. First my husband took real sick and nearly died on me, so that year was out while I was nursing him back to health. Then the next year I messed up my shoulder and had to have surgery and was in an immobilizer for 6 weeks and then 6 months of therapy. This year I messed up my back and the surgery made it worse instead of better causing spasms really bad. Thankfully it’s starting to calm down a bit now as long as I take muscle relaxants every day. I got some tomatoes dried and some berries dried as well this year. Next year I hope to be back in the swing of things. I have a receipe for canned apple pie filling and thinking about canned apples makes me want to make that and apple butter and apple sauce and pear butter and anything else I can get my hands on. LOL Thank you for sharing!!!! There is so much satisfaction at being able to look at the food one has put up and know that it will take you through the winter. Have a wonderful day!!!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Your homeade canned apples reminds me of Home when I was little. Mama had six boys that didn’t know much, but could help do the things she couldn’t. I wish I could go back and re-live those days of youth. …Ken

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    October 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

    They are beautiful! I have been pressure canning my fruit for a couple of years now but this year my canner gasket failed after I had the jars in–would not build up pressure! i ended up having to freeze the only batch of apples I had. they are probably apple sauce now. We like apples when we have cowboy beans or beanie weenie or mac & cheese & green beans.
    We didn’t get any pears this yr between the frost and the squirrels but I make preserves like you said. our pears will not turn “chewey” like my grannie’s always did & I crave that kind.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    October 2, 2017 at 10:03 am

    We canned a few jars of apples and they are delicious but certainly aren’t as attractive as your. lordy, yours look good; makes me want a pie … right now!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 2, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Mommy canned apples but I too never learned the process. I know she used the peelings and bruised parts to make apple butter. She made canned applesauce but to us it was “fruit”. I think she used apples like you have pictured to make fried apple pies.
    Mommy died at 54 years of age. I was full grown but not yet a grown up. I missed out on many years of Appalachian intelligence and experience. People who get to keep their parents into their later years are truly blessed.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    October 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Sounds delicious and looks beautiful! I have canned an ocean full of applesauce over the years, but never knew about this!

  • Reply
    Brenda Turner
    October 2, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Sounds like a great idea!! A tried and true recipe that couldn’t be simpler. I love it and will try it next year. Thank you for sharing!.

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    October 2, 2017 at 9:18 am

    “As for the squirrels …….. we are sadly outnumbered.”
    Not an “old mountain recipe” but quick and effective.
    2 or 3 squirrels parboiled until tender. Remove meat from bones and place in casserole dish. Cover with a can of cream of mushroom soup and then cover with a layer of Bisquik mix. (You can also add mixed cooked and drained vegetables if you prefer a pot pie version.)
    Bake until crust is golden brown and seve with some of your canned apples.
    Everybody is happy. Except for the squirrels.

    • Reply
      October 20, 2020 at 11:06 pm

      Ken, I am always wishing I could go back and do it again. And better!

  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    October 2, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Looks yummy!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 2, 2017 at 8:15 am

    From the double red delicious, yellow delicious, and Stayman apples on the hill below the house, Mama would can six or seven dozen quart jars of apples every year. Needless to say, we had apples throughout the year, and I never grew tired of them – eaten cold or warmed up with a dollop of butter.
    Mama never made apple sauce, and I never paid attention to exactly how she did the canning. All of us helped in the peeling and cutting (or at least I did, and assume my much 😉 older siblings did). Our slices were a lot thicker than yours, Tipper – about 8 slices per apple.
    Thanks for the post – brings back good memories.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 2, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Tip, my Aunt Ruth taught me to can peaches exactly this same way except she told me to cut the peaches into a crock in layers with sugar between and let them sit over night. Enough juice comes out of the peaches so that no water is added. It’s the way her mother, my grandmother that passed before I was born, did them. They are much tastier this way!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 2, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Those jars are beautiful; home made jewels. And in addition there is such a satisfaction in being prepared for winter with summer in a jar. You remind me of the woman described in Proverbs.
    We have used most all of our canning jars this year. But like you I am tempted by this recipe, so simple yet easy to see it would be so good.
    As for the squirrels …….. we are sadly outnumbered. You need a red-tailed hawk to take up residence.

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