|Apple Pie Filling Ready to Sell|
I was not really planning on selling them. But last month, when I was canning tomatoes and tried a spicy hot tomato jam, I gave a sample to my SIL, whose business is to sell her home canned goods to various local stores (mainly convenience stores). Most of her products are pickled cucumbers (bread and butter, dill, and sour mustard). After she tried the tomato jam, I asked her if she thinks she could sell those as well. Her answer was positive. I thought I'd make these tomato jams to use up my abundant supply of tomatoes (I had enough whole tomatoes packed and set aside in my pantry to last a year and beyond). She actually immediately ordered some from me, and when I brought these to her house along with a 4-oz jar for submission to USDA office for testing, I also brought a jar of my first batch of apple pie filling that I made out of the apples that my mother and friend Cecilia picked from the orchard (we could not finish the half-bushel she brought home, so I thought I'd try to can them before they become bad). She and her husband were excited to see the apple pie filling, and said, "This is beautiful! They are going to sell for sure!" I had to clarify to them that it was a personal use-only apple pie filling and that I was giving one for them to try. But that gave me the idea of perfecting this home-made product for selling. I am also looking at selling on etsy.
My favorite apples to use for pies is Cortland. Some sites do not recommend using Cortland for this purpose because "they turn to mush." In my experience, they never turn to mush. Maybe the prep has a lot to do with it.
In any case, having the above thought of home canning apple pie filling for commercial purposes, I made a plan to make a trip to the North Star Orchards for pick-your-own apples. Two weeks ago, as I was offering my pickles to my co-workers, the unit sec asked me if I could teach her to can. I offered for her to go apple picking with me and I would teach her how to can apple pie filling. She agreed.
|Nanay went apple picking with me|
This week is the time Cortlands are available. My favorite timing of canning fruits is when they are freshly picked. Or at least I can them within 3 days from picking. So after picking the apples, we headed to my house and I taught my co-worker how to can apple pie fillings. I inserted tips and rules on canning safety. I left her to decide on spices and the sweetness. Except for some changes in the spice and using cider instead of apple juice, we used the recipe from USDA's National Center for Home Food Preservation website (without food coloring). I also left out the lemon because using all apple cider instead of water was enough to give me low pH. I tested with a pH meter -- the sauce part was 3.97, and the blenderized apple slices was 4.19. Food safety requires pH value less than or equal to 4.6. Since I was thinking of selling canned goods, I got myself a pH meter. I thought it was a wise investment, especially if I would try my own recipes to can.
Tools that helped me go through a whole bushel in one day producing 28 quarts include:
Steamer (for sterilizing jars)
Canning kit (with bubbler/picker, jar lifter, and wide-mouth funnel)
Stainless steel stockpots
Stainless steel ladle
Water bath canner
My sons and Nanay
As for my method, instead of submerging the slices in citric acid solution to avoid browning (I don't care about browning; my jars still looked very appealing!), I set aside some sugar-spices mixture to sprinkle to the slices for every 3-4 apples sliced. The sugar draws out moisture from the slices, making them shrink a bit, and as a result, they become more flexible and they do not break easily while packing tightly in the jars. As a result also, they still turn out crunchy instead of mushy even after processing in a water bath AND then baking. Other than this, I pretty much followed the instructions.
|All natural, all fresh ingredients|
|I plan to sell these.|
Now if only more Filipinos in the Philippines would want to do this as a homebusiness. Can you envision making our favorite fruits and veggies available to the Filipinos abroad, and to the global market? (My husband was quite surprised at how good freshly picked sun-ripened mangoes in the Philippines was. Much better than peaches.) I would presume that our lowly aratiles, which I used to munch on when I was a child, would be better than blueberry or raspberry jam.
Now if only someone would share their knowledge on how to make the Spanish-style bangus sardines to me, I'd be happy. I will make my own to stock in my pantry.