Freezer Apple Pie Filling

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24 cups sliced peeled baking apples (6-7 lbs)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 ½ cups sugar (I use half brown sugar, half white)
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 cups water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice; set aside. In a Dutch oven (large kettle works) over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add water; bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Ladle into freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 ½ hours. Seal and freeze; store for up to 12 months. Yield: 5 ½ quarts (enough for about five 9-inch pies).

Okay, here are my tips. Instead of quart jars, I use gallon-sized freezer bags. Let the filling cool a bit before filling the bags (one quart per bag) and then flatten the bag to freeze it. This way, you can stack the “boards” of filling in your freezer and slide one out when needed. Less space needed, and thethawing time is shorter. After thawing, I heat mine up on the stove or in the microwave before putting it in my pie crust, and dot it with butter before sealing the top crust.

Along the same lines, you can stack and freeze your pie crusts. Roll them in your 8 or 9″ circles between wax paper, and stack them together in one of those two gallon freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using!

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