It’s that time of year when we start thinking about others – what we gifts we can give to them, hostess gifts, or how we can show love to them in other ways. I love to show love and practice hospitality by giving gifts of food. In my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I have a yummy recipe for CAKE in a JAR. It’s quite chocolaty and tasty and it’s a fun recipe to have your kids help in the kitchen with, sometimes in an assembly-line fashion.

Do you like to can? You do not have to be a Martha Stewart to learn how to can. Most of my canning supplies I picked up from yard sales years ago, and I use them over and over each year. Buying canning supplies is an initial investment, but so worth it. Finding a mentor to help you get started is another tip that I recommend.

Today I want to share my Apple Pie in a Jar recipe because it’s a wonderful gift to give away. That is what beautiful living is all about this time of year, giving and sharing with others.

Here’s how to get started.

Taking any of your leftover apples and pears, I found that mixing these different fruits makes a richer flavor.

My secret? Add ONE Granny Smith apple to each jar. It adds the perfect amount of tartness.

What is Apple Pie in a Jar?
It’s a sugary, cinnamon-flavored syrup that is cooked up and poured over sliced apples that are tightly packed into sterilized jars. After canning, the jars are ready for gift-giving, or for pulling out and whipping up an apple pie or apple dessert.

Ingredients
(This recipe makes 7 quart-sized jars.)

4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
10 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
7 quarts peeled, cored and
sliced apples

Easy Steps
1. Sterilize 7 1-quart canning jars, 7 lids, and 7 rings; allow jars to air dry. Fill the canner with water. Start boiling the water, to get ready for the canning process.

2. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and water in a large saucepan. Place over high heat and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

3. Tightly pack apples into sterilized jars. Slowly pour syrup over apples. Take a knife and slide down the sides of the jar to remove air bubbles, and then continue to cover the jars completely with the syrup. Screw lids on jars.

4. Carefully lower jars into the canner. Make sure tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.

5. Remove jars from canner and place on a cloth, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid doesn’t move up or down at all). Sealed jars can be stored for up to a year.

Lovely, beautiful Apple Pie. It’s a ready-made dessert that you can put together in a pre-made pie crust or even as a Crescent Roll ring when last minute company stops by. Or give to your favorite friends who love to cook and who appreciate this wonderful gift.

What are you planning to make and give to friends this holiday season?

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