Fruit pie fillings (SP 50-616)

Fruit Pie Filling PDF

Canned fruit fillings are a time saver for year around pie-making. The fillings may also be used as toppings on desserts. Pie fillings are thickened with Clear-Jel, a waxy cornstarch that has been chemically modified to produce a good consistency even after canning and baking. Other available household starches (such as flour, cornstarch, or tapioca) tend to become runny. Ask your county Extension office about the availability of regular (not instant) Clear-Jel in your area.

Each canned quart of fillings makes one 8-inch or 9-inch pie. Because the variety of fruit may alter the flavor of the pie, do a trial run first. Make a single quart of filling and make pie. Then adjust the sugar and spices in the recipe to suit your personal preferences. Do not change the amount of lemon juice, it helps control the safety and storage stability of the fillings.

There is approximately 3 cups of Clear-Jel per pound.

When possible, use fresh fruit for making fillings. If frozen fruit is used, it must be completely thawed before adding to the filling. Using unthawed fruit can result in an unsafe product. It is best to use unsweetened fruit. If sugar has been added, estimate the amount of sugar added before freezing and adjust the recipe for sweetness. Collect, measure, and use juice from thawing fruit to replace the water specified in the recipe and reduce Clear-Jel to 1/4 cup for a quart and 1 3/4 cups from 7 quarts

Blanching step

It is recommended that all fresh fruit expect fragile berries, such as blackberries, used in making canned fruit pie fillings go through a quick heating step. This is to drive the air out of the fruit, which will result in less siphoning of the product when canned.

To blanch

  1. In a large pan, bring 1-gallon water to a boil
  2. Place not more than 6 cups of freshly prepared fruit in a basket and place in boiling water
  3. Return water to a boil and gently boil 1 minute
  4. Immediately remove from water, drain and keep blanched fruit in a covered container to keep warm while blanching additional fruit
  5. When the recommended amount fo fruit has been blanched fold immediately into hot Clear-Jel mixture.
Table 1. Blueberry Pie Filling
Ingredients 1 quart 7 quarts
Fresh Blueberries 3 1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP 6 cups
Clear-Jel 1/4 cup + 1 TBSP 2 1/4 cups
Cold Water or Fruit juice 1 1/3 cups1 9 1/3 cups
Red Food Coloring (optional) 1 drop 7 drops
Blue food coloring (optional) 3 drops 20 drops
Bottled lemon juice 3 1/2 tsp 1/2 cup

Quality- select sweet, very ripe but firm, deep blue fruit. If using frozen blueberries they must be completely thawed before adding to the pie filling.

Blueberry Pie Filling Procedure

  1. Wash and drain blueberries
  2. Blanch berried following instructions above
  3. Combine sugar and Clear-Jel in a large kettle. stir
  4. Add water or juice, if desired, add food coloring
  5. Cook on medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble
  6. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly
  7. Fold in berries
  8. Fill pint or quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace
  9. Process immediately, follow directions below

Table 1. Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients 1 quart 7 quarts
Fresh sliced apples (blanched) 3 1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP 5 1/2 cup
Clear-Jel 1/4 cup 1 1/2 cups
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp 1 TBSP
Nutmeg (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Coldwater or fruit juice 1/2 cup2 2 1/2 cups
Apple juice 3/4 cup 5 cups
Yellow food coloring (optional) 1 drop 7 drops
Bottled lemon juice 2 TBSP 3/4 cup

Quality- Use firm, crisp apples. Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Granny Smith, or Jonathan and other varieties of cooking apples are suitable. If apples lack tartness, use an additional 1/4 cup lemon juice for every 6 quarts of slices. Is using frozen apple slices they must be completely thawed before adding to the pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling Procedure

  1. Wash, peel, and core apples.
  2. Cut slices 1/2 inch wide and place in water to cover containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals or 6 crushed 500 mg vitamin C tablets
  3. Blanch apple slices following instructions above
  4. Combine sugar, Clear-Jel, and cinnamon in a large kettle with water and/or apple juice
  5. If desired, food coloring and nutmeg may be added
  6. Stir and cook on medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble
  7. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly
  8. Fold in drained apple slices immediately
  9. Fill pint or quart jars without delay, leaving 1 1/2 inch headspace
  10. Adjust lids and process immediately

Table 1. Cherry Pie Filling (Blackberry Pie Filling)4

Ingredients 1 quart 7 quarts
Fresh Sour Cherries 3 1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated Sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear-Jel 1/4 cup + 1 TBSP 1 3/4 cups
Cinnamon 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Cold water or fruit juice 1  1/3 cups3 9 1/3 cups
Almond extract (optional) 1/4 tsp 2 tsp
Red food coloring (optional) 6 drops 1/4 cup
Bottled lemon juice 1 TBSP +1 tsp 1/2 cup

Quality- Select ripe but firm yellow peaches. Because the pH is higher in white peaches they are not safe to use in canned pie filling. If using frozen peach slices they must be completely thawed before adding to the pie filling.

Cherry Pie Filling Procedure

  1. Rinse and pit cherries.
  2. To prevent stem-end browning, hold pitted cherries in water containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals or 6 crushed 500 mg vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water.
  3. Blanch cherries and berries following instructions above
  4. Combine sugar, Clear-Jel, and cinnamon (if desired) in a large saucepan
  5. Stir. Add water or juice, almond extract, and food coloring (if desired)
  6. Stir the mixture and cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  7. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly
  8. Fold in cherries.
  9. Fill quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  10. Process immediately.

Table 1. Peach Pie Filling

Ingredients 1 quart 7 quarts
Fresh sliced peaches 3 1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated Sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear-Jel 1/4 cup + 1 TBSP 2 cups + 3 TBSP
Cinnamon (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Almond extract (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Coldwater or Fruit Juice5 3/4 cup 5 1/4 cups
Bottled lemon juice 1/4 cup 1 3/4 cups

Quality- Select ripe but firm yellow peaches. Because the pH is higher in white peaches, they are not safe to use in canned pie filling. If using frozen peach slices, they must be completely thawed before adding to the pie filling.

Peach Pie Filling Procedure

  1. Peel peaches.
  2. To loosen skins, submerge peaches in boiling water for approximately 30-60 seconds, then place in cold water for 20 seconds.
  3. Slip skins and cut slices 1/2 inch wide.
  4. To prevent browning, place slices in water containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals for 6 crushed 500 mg vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water.
  5. Blanch peach slices following instructions above.
  6. Combine sugar, Clear-Jel, and cinnamon or almond extract (if desired) in a large kettle. Stir.
  7. Add water. Stir.
  8. Cook on medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  9. Drain peach slices.
  10. Add lemon juice and boil sauce 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  11. Fold peach slices and continue to heat for 3 minutes, then dill pint or quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  12. Process immediately.

Canning

Process fillings in a boiling water canner. Put jars into a canner filled with very hot water. Add water, if needed, to a level of 1 inch above jars. When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and process for the recommended time.

Table 1. Recommended Processing Times for Fruit Pie Fillings in a Boiling Water Canner with Elevation

Fruit filling Jar size 0-1,000 feet 1,001-3,000 feet 3,001-6,000 feet
Apple pints/quarts 25 minutes 30 minutes 35 minutes
Blueberry, Cherry, Blackberry, or Peach pints/quarts 30 minutes 35 minutes 40 minutes
  1. After processing, take canner off heat.
  2. Remove lid.
  3. Wait at least 10 minutes before removing jars of pie filling to reduce the chance of siphoning.

Adapted from National Center for Home Food Preservation, revised by Nellie Oehler 2019

Using Canned Fillings

Put pie fillings made with Clear-Jel in a baked or unbaked pie shells. Cover with a top crust, if desired. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is hot.

Freezing

Pie fillings made with Clear-Jel can be frozen. It is important to leave adequate headspace because the thickened filling will expand when frozen.

To prevent runniness when thawed, cook fillings for 2-3 minutes after the fruit is added to the thickened sauce. It is very important that the fillings be thoroughly cooled before freezing.

There are two methods that can be used to freeze pie fillings:

  1. Method 1 - Freeze in jars or freezer cartons, leaving adequate headspace. To use the frozen filling, thaw before putting into the unbaked pie shell.
  2. Method 2 - Put the cooled filling into an unbaked pie shell and freeze. This will give a product similar to the commercially frozen pies. To bake, place frozen pie in the oven and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until filling is hot and bubbly and the crust is browned, about 30-40 minutes. Or thaw pie and filling to bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is hot.

Remember that the lemon juice is necessary for both frozen and canned fillings. It helps to stabilize the starch.

Related Articles

Fruit Butters
Fruit Pickles and Chutney
Preserving Berries

 

Source: OSU Master Food Preserver Program

  • 1. Water can be replaced by berry or grape juice for a more fruit-flavored filling
  • 2. Water can be replaced with apple juice for a more apple flavored filling
  • 4. he Cherry Pie Filling recipe can be used with blackberries. More sugar may be required for tart berries. When making berry filling, omit the cinnamon, almond extract and food coloring.
  • 3. Water can be replaced with orange or apple juice of other light-colored fruit juice
  • 5. Water can be replaced with orange or apple juice or other light colored fruit juice
Previously titled
Fruit Pie Fillings

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