- Author: Diane Galvan
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Diane Galvan UCCE Master Food Preserver
“I'd like to make and freeze blueberry pies to enjoy later in the year. Can I use my home canned blueberry jam for the filling?” -Betty N., Paso Robles.
The delicious bounty of warm season berries and stone fruits is upon us. Preserving pie fillings is a smart way to extend enjoyment of these luscious fruits for months ahead. For successful results, use a tested recipe for canned pie filling, because these recipes call for a modified starch thickener or ClearJel® which gives good consistency and thickness after canning/ freezing, and then subsequent baking. Use regular ClearJel® when preparing canned fillings. For frozen fillings use instant ClearJel ® which thickens without cooking (Note: instant ClearJel® breaks down with prolonged heating.) Be aware that thickeners such as tapioca, flour or cornstarch may result in a thin and runny filling after freezing and subsequent baking. Regular ClearJel® must be used in canned pie filling there is no substitution.
Some guidelines for making pie filling:
* One quart of filling will make one 8 or 9-inch pie.
* Make a quart of pie filling before you make a large batch to adjust the amount of sugar to the tartness of your fruit.
*Do not eliminate or change the quantity of bottled lemon juice in the recipe. It is vital to the stability of the thickener, as well as to the acidity/safety of the preserved filling.
*Whole pies, pie filling and pie crusts can be frozen for later use.
*Jars of canned pie filling should be refrigerated after opening.
Beyond pie: Explore other ways to enjoy pie fillings. A few suggestions are: fillings for cakes, puff pastry, cookies and crepes; as toppings for ice cream, and cheesecakes. Make tarts and cobblers. Use it as a topping on pancakes, waffles, or biscuits instead of butter and syrup. Add a dollop of pie filling to unflavored yogurt to provide a bit of sweetness and fruity flavor instead of buying the pre-flavored varieties.
Want to learn more? The UC Master Food Preservers will offer a class teaching about preparing and freezing flakey pie crusts and fillings, as well as ways to use them. “GALETTES AND TARTS AND PIES, OH MY!” takes place on June 22 from 10am-12pm. Preregistration is required. http://ucanr.edu/galettesandpies Class size is limited.