How to Can Apple Juice at Home (A Simple Fall Recipe You’ll Love)

This canned apple juice recipe perfectly transforms fresh apples into a practical juice you can use anytime, anywhere. With about 12 to 15 pounds of apples, you’ll produce approximately 4 quarts of natural, shelf-stable juice.

A great beginner-friendly water bath canning recipe, there’s no worrying about anything setting, and you can use any apples you’d like.

Close-up of sealed quart-sized glass canning jars filled with freshly made apple juice, adorned with embossed designs, set against a rustic background with whole and halved apples, conveying the wholesome and homemade nature of the canned juice.

Shelf-Stable Canned Apple Juice Recipe

Simple natural apple juice.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Processing 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 4 quarts

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
  • Canning jars with lids and bands (quart size)
  • Jar lifter and canning funnel

Ingredients 

  • 12 pounds of apples to make about 1 gallon of juice
  • Water optional, for adjusting juice concentration
  • Citric acid or ascorbic acid optional, for preserving color

Instructions 

  • Prepare Your Apples: Wash your apples thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Cut them into quarters, removing the cores and any damaged sections. Peeling is not necessary.
    Halved and cored apples are neatly arranged on a bamboo cutting board beside a stainless steel kitchen knife, with a bowl of whole apples and a pot partially visible, ready for juicing.
  • Cook the Apples: Place the apple quarters in a large pot and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot (about 1 inch deep) to prevent sticking and aid in the cooking process. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are thoroughly soft and mushy, about 20-25 minutes.
    Chopped apples in a large pot, ready to be cooked down for juice, and halved apples with cores removed on a bamboo cutting board, showcasing the initial preparation of the apples for the recipe.
  • Strain the Juice: Set a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth over a large bowl or pot. Pour the cooked apples into the strainer and let the juice drain for at least 3 hours. For clearer juice, avoid pressing or squeezing the apples too hard; simply let the juice drip out. For even clearer juice, you may strain it a second time through a finer mesh or cheesecloth.
    A strainer filled with chopped apples above a pot, showing the straining process of the apple juice, and a pot filled with apple quarters, indicating the preparation step before cooking the apples.
  • Fill the Jars with Juice: Use a canning funnel to pour the hot apple juice into the sterilized jars, leaving about ¼ inch of headspace. If desired, add ¼ teaspoon of citric acid or ascorbic acid to each quart jar to preserve color.
    A series of canning jars on a striped towel with a large pot of apple juice beside them, and an overhead shot showing apple juice being poured into a jar, representing the filling phase of the canning process.
  • Prep Jars: Wipe the rims with a clean cloth to make sure a good seal. Place lids on top and screw rings on the fingertip tight.
    Two images, one wiping the rim of a canning jar filled with apple juice with a white cloth to ensure a clean seal, and the other tightening the lid with a green jar wrench, indicating the sealing step of canning.
  • Process the Jars: Place the filled jars in the water bath canner, making sure they are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a rolling boil and process the jars for 10 minutes (adjust processing time for elevations above 1,000 feet).
    A pair of images showing a water bath canner from above, filled with jars of apple juice ready to be processed, and a close-up of a single jar being lifted by a jar lifter, highlighting steps in the canning process.
  • Cool and Store: After processing, carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter and place them on a towel or cooling rack to cool for 12-24 hours. Check the seals before labeling and storing the jars in a cool, dark place.
    Top-down view of sealed canning jars filled with apple juice, showcasing the lids from above, with a canning pot and towel in the background, emphasizing the end of the canning process.

Notes

Citric acid is totally optional, but if you want to maintain that fresh, natural color of your juice over time, it’s definitely worth considering. You might also want to try canning your own apple juice concentrate.
Here’s how: start by reducing your strained juice by simmering it in an open pot until it’s reduced by up to half for a stronger concentrate. From there, just follow the same canning process with regular juice. Make sure to label your jars with dilution instructions, which are typically 1 part concentrate to 1 part water for reconstitution.

Is there anything better than the smell of apples simmering on the stove during autumn? In our kitchen, it’s like the unofficial signal that the season has officially arrived. It’s like bottling up the very essence of fall and enjoying it any time of the year.

There’s just something special about opening a jar of this delicious homemade juice during the dreary winter months or the blistering summer heat. And I’m not gonna lie, I might be a little obsessed with this recipe. My family even teases me for it, but as soon as they take a sip, they’re right there with me, reminiscing about apple-picking and leaf-peeping trips. It’s like our little taste of nostalgia, and I must admit, I love it more and more with each jar we open.

Glasses of apple juice served on a wooden tray with a striped straw, accompanied by fresh apples, one glass has a slice of apple on the rim, showcasing a refreshing and homey beverage option.

Apple Juice Tips

Choosing the Right Apples: The variety of apples you choose can significantly affect the flavor of your juice. For a well-balanced juice, consider mixing sweet and tart apple varieties. Sweet apples like Fuji or Gala add natural sweetness, while tart varieties like Granny Smith bring a lively zing to the juice. Experimenting with different combinations can be a fun way to customize your juice.

Prevent Browning: If you use citric or ascorbic acid to maintain the juice’s color, it’s crucial to dissolve it evenly in a small amount of the juice or water before adding it to the entire batch. This makes sure the preservative is evenly distributed, preventing any uneven browning and preserving the juice’s appealing color throughout.

Juice Clarity Matters: For those who prefer a clearer juice, consider allowing the juice to settle after the initial straining. After a few hours, carefully decant or siphon the clear juice off the top, leaving the sediment behind. This extra step can significantly enhance the clarity of your apple juice without requiring additional straining materials.

Key Ingredients and Tools

  • Apples. The star of the show – you can find them in the produce section of any grocery store. Mixing varieties can create a more complex flavor profile, so don’t hesitate to experiment with what’s in season or your personal favorites.
  • Citric acid or ascorbic acid. Often located in the canning supplies or baking aisles, these acids preserve the juice’s vibrant color and prevent oxidation. If you can’t find them, a splash of lemon juice can serve as a natural alternative, though it might slightly alter the taste.
  • Canning jars with lids and bands. Available in the canning section or sometimes the kitchenware aisle, these are essential for storing your juice safely. No real substitute exists for proper canning jars if you plan to shelf-store your juice, as they make sure a seal keeps the contents preserved.
Fresh, ripe apples piled in a glass bowl next to a measuring cup of water and a small bowl of citric acid, indicating the natural and simple ingredients needed for making canned apple juice.
  • Large pot. This is where you’ll cook the apples until they’re soft enough to release their juice. It’s essential for the initial cooking process to extract as much flavor as possible from the apples.
  • Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Used for straining the cooked apples to separate the juice from the pulp. A fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth makes sure you get a clear juice without apple bits, which is key for a smooth, enjoyable drink.
  • Water bath canner. A specialized pot designed for canning is crucial for processing the jars to make the juice shelf-stable. The water bath method makes sure that the jars are heated evenly to kill off any bacteria, ensuring the safety and longevity of your canned juice.
  • Canning jars with lids and bands. Specifically designed for preserving food, these jars are essential for storing your apple juice. They’re designed to seal tightly after the canning process, keeping out bacteria and air to maintain the juice’s quality over time.
  • Jar lifter and canning funnel. The jar lifter safely removes hot jars from the canner, while the funnel aids in pouring juice into jars without spills. These tools help make sure that the canning process is safe and mess-free, which is crucial for a successful canning experience.
Essential equipment for home canning spread out on a white marble surface, including a water bath canner, a jar lifter, a canning funnel, a kitchen towel, and empty glass canning jars, ready for the process of preserving apple juice.

Storing Leftovers

Pantry Storage: Once your jars have been processed and sealed, store them in a cool, dark place like a pantry or a cellar. Avoid places with direct sunlight or dramatic temperature changes. Properly canned and sealed apple juice can last up to a year.

After Opening: Once you open a jar, refrigerate the apple juice and aim to use it within a week for the freshest taste. Make sure the juice is covered, either with its original lid or by transferring it to another container with a tight-fitting lid.

Freezing: Freezing canned apple juice isn’t recommended. Since it’s already preserved through the canning process, freezing it won’t extend its shelf life significantly and could affect its quality. Stick to canning and pantry storage for the best results.

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Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use any type of apple for this recipe?

Absolutely! Feel free to use whatever apples you have on hand or prefer. Mixing different types can create a unique flavor, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

How long does canned apple juice last?

When canned and stored properly in a cool, dark place, your apple juice can last for up to a year. Once opened, refrigerate it and try to use it within a week for the best taste.

What if I don’t have a water bath canner?

No worries! You can use a large, deep pot with a rack at the bottom to keep the jars off the direct heat. Just make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch.

Can I add spices to the juice?

Definitely! Feel free to add a cinnamon stick, some cloves, or even a slice of ginger to the pot while cooking the apples. It’ll give your juice a lovely spiced flavor that’s perfect for fall.

And there you have it—a complete guide to making and enjoying your own shelf-stable canned apple juice. From selecting the perfect apples to the final satisfaction of storing your freshly canned juice, this process is a rewarding way to bring a piece of autumn into your home year-round.

Remember, the key to success lies in the details: choosing the right apples, paying attention to sterilization, and storing your bounty correctly. So give this a try now. There’s nothing quite like the taste of homemade apple juice, especially when you’ve made it yourself.

A horizontal view of sealed glass jars filled with clear, golden apple juice, each with a ring and lid, surrounded by fresh apples and a halved apple, all placed against a neutral background that highlights the homemade aspect of the canned juice.

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