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Taste Test: apple pie filling

Serving size ⅓ cup ⅓ cup ⅓ cup
Calories 90 80 90
Fat/Fiber 0g / 2g 0g / 1g 0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 17g / 40mg 18g / 40mg 18g / 15mg
Carbs/Protein 22g / 0g 20g / 0g 22g / 0g


Lack of time and holiday exhaustion may derail our desire to bake an apple pie. In fact, some of us are pretty impressed if we are able to turn out a homemade pie at all. We wanted to know if bakers have to sacrifice flavor when using store-bought apple pie filling. We found six brands of apple pie filling packed with syrup and spice in cans and jars in local grocery stores and most of them held up well. Using any of those we sampled would surely beat peeling pounds of apples ourselves. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Lucky Leaf: 66Comstock: 56Medford Farms: 44
Judges'

comments
Cinnamon was a strong flavor in these apples. The fruit was firm and tasty with a pleasant, not-too-mushy texture. "These are big apple pie slices with fresh-cut flavor and a texture that would definitely hold up in the oven," one panelist said. "Apple crisp, apple pie, apple betty — this would work in all of them," another said. "Bring on the strudel.""These slices are giant," one judge said. "They are the proud winner in the slice department." Panelists described the flavor as clean, saying the mixture had just the right amount of spices. The apples were crisp and sturdy. "These would bake up well in a pie without having to add a lot of extras," another judge said.The apples in this filling were darker than the others. Judges described them as caramelized and pretty. These apples had a hint of clove flavor and a tangy taste that appealed to most of the panelists. They also were packed in a lot of syrup. "These are nice and tart," one judge said. "I would heat these up with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love it!"
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.39 for a 21-ounce can

from Sweetbay.
$2.94 for a 21-ounce can

from Target.
$5.29 for a 27.5-ounce jar

from the Fresh Market.


Also Sampled: Market Pantry ($1.69 for a 21-ounce can from Target, 33 points); Great Value ($1.68 for a 21-ounce can from Walmart, 30 points); and Winn-Dixie ($2.49 for a 20-ounce can, 27 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of four. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste Test: apple pie filling 11/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 3:30am]

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