How to Can Blueberry Pie Filling


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Blueberry pie is the ultimate summer treat. Canning blueberry pie filling allows you to enjoy that summer goodness all year long! Preserve blueberries with this simple and tasty recipe for home-canned blueberry pie filling.Canning blueberry pie filling lets you enjoy this summer treat all year long! Preserve blueberries with this recipe for home-canned blueberry pie filling.

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Blueberries are one of my favourite summer fruits. I love to eat them fresh, and frozen blueberries can’t be beat! I usually buy a bunch in the summer and freeze pounds of them to use throughout the year in baking, on top of cereal, in smoothies, in oatmeal, on ice cream and yogurt, or just to eat by the handful. But one of my favourite ways to preserve them is to make home-canned blueberry pie filling.

We purchase organic blueberries from a local farm and every year our order seems to get larger and larger! This year I ordered 40 pounds to preserve in various forms and to get us through the year (because I just refuse to pay top dollar for berries from other countries when they’re not in season here, especially non-organic ones that have been sprayed with all sorts of chemicals. Yuck!)

We do have four blueberry bushes of our own, but since this is our first summer in our new home and we only just planted them this spring, we don’t have nearly enough to enjoy fresh and preserve too. (Plus, we have a three-year-old who likes to swipe all the blueberries off the plant as soon as they’re ready to eat!)

I’ve been canning blueberry pie filling for a few years now and every year I seem to put up more and more jars because it is such a handy thing to keep on hand in the pantry all year long! It makes for a super quick and easy dessert if you need to whip something together at the last minute, and I actually find that using this home-canned pie filling makes for a thicker, less runny pie filling than you get when making it fresh.

This recipe is adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which I affectionately call my “canning bible.” It’s packed with 400 recipes for canning everything from jams, jellies pie fillings and preserves to stocks, soups, sauces and so much more. If canning is something you want to learn more about or you want to expand your repertoire of home canning recipes, I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

If you already own a copy of this book, you might notice that I’ve made a few minor changes to the recipe. For one, I’ve doubled the batch because I just don’t see much point in doing all of the prep work just to make a measly three or four pints. Plus, I like to can my pie filling in quart jars because I find that one quart of blueberry pie filling is the perfect amount for a standard 9-inch pie.

Now, if you’ve read any of my canning recipes before, you know I always stress that you should follow a tried and tested recipe and don’t alter it as it could make your recipe unsafe. However, once you understand how canning works, you can actually tweak recipes a bit here and there. 

Basically the most important thing when water-bath canning fruits like blueberries is that you maintain the acidity levels as this is what prevents botulism spores from growing. Typically when canning most fruits you are able to use the water-bath method because fruits are already high in acidity. The addition of lemon juice helps to make sure that acidity is maintained. 

Blueberry pie is the ultimate summer treat. Canning blueberry pie filling allows you to enjoy that summer goodness all year long! Preserve blueberries with this simple and tasty recipe for home-canned blueberry pie filling.From there, it’s recommended that you don’t change a recipe too much as adding different ingredients can affect the acidity level. However all I did with this recipe was swap plain water for blueberry water (for extra flavour), and add nutmeg (which is quite common in similar canning recipes).

I much preferred the flavour once I added the nutmeg. Of course, nutmeg is completely optional, and you could even make your pie filling without nutmeg and then add it later. Or try cinnamon instead! But I personally find that the nutmeg really brings out the flavour of the blueberries in this pie filling.

Canning pie filling in general is also super easy even if you’re a total canning newbie. You don’t need much in the way of special equipment, but one thing that is highly recommended is using Clear-Jel, which is basically a thickener that takes the place of flour or cornstarch in pie filling. 

Clear-Jel is recommended for canning because flour and cornstarch can end up clumping together and affecting the quality of your canned pie filling. Clear-Jel is a corn derivative just like cornstarch, but is is made to withstand the heat of canning and maintains its consistency. It’s widely recommended for use in canning pie filling and is even considered to be the safer method. But mostly it’s a quality issue.

Using Clear-Jel (cook-type, not instant) will ensure your pie filling comes out of the jar just as good as when it went in!

Otherwise I do recommend a few basic canning tools that will make your life much easier (and spare you from scolding your hands with boiling water or hot pie filling!) These are the tools I use, love and recommend:

Blueberry pie is the ultimate summer treat. Canning blueberry pie filling allows you to enjoy that summer goodness all year long! Preserve blueberries with this simple and tasty recipe for home-canned blueberry pie filling.Once you have everything you need, you’re ready to get canning!

As for what to do with your canned pie filling afterward? Well, of course you can make some delicious, flaky homemade pie crust and use your blueberry pie filling to make a traditional homemade blueberry pie. But there are so many other ways to enjoy it too!

Try it over cheesecake, mixed with yogurt or oatmeal, or for a really quick and easy dessert, dump pie filling into a baking dish and cover with a mixture of rolled oats, butter and sugar to make a crumble. (You can use the same crumble topping that I use for my homemade apple crumble to make a blueberry crumble with this pie filling).

And of course, you could always just crack a jar and eat it with a spoon. There is absolutely no shame in that;)

Oh, and if you like this recipe, be sure to check out my recipe for home-canned cherry pie filling too! While I love blueberry pie, cherry pie is by far my favourite, so I ALWAYS make sure to stock up on home-canned cherry pie filling each summer.

What about you? What’s your favourite type of pie? How else would you use this home-canned pie filling? Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

52 Comments

  1. Deena

    How many quarts does this make?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Deena,
      This recipe makes 3 quarts or 6 pints.

      Reply
  2. Sona

    Hi Anna, Is there anything I can do with all this leftover blueberry water after canning my pie filling?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Sona,
      If you have blueberry water left over you can turn it into juice or jelly!

      Reply
  3. Janet Rogers

    If you use frozen blueberries do you still need to blanch them?

    Reply
    • Lou

      Do you just add the blueberries to the boiling water and cook for one minute or do you bring them back to a boil and cook for one minute after that?

      Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, you need to bring them up to a boil first.

      Reply
      • Cindy

        I wish I would have known that because I just made 2 batches and I did not bring the blueberries back up to a boil. Other than that they taste amazing and I hope they come out ok

        Reply
      • Corrie Norman

        This recipe looks amazing but just to be sure I understand – do I need to boil my blueberries if they are frozen?

        Reply
  4. Jin

    I’m so excited to try this recipe! Can I make this with a sugar substitute such as erythritol?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Jin,

      I’ve never tried using a sugar substitute like this but in theory you could. It wouldn’t affect the safety of the finished product however it may affect the flavour so I’m not sure quite how it would turn out. I would maybe try doing a small batch first and then try that out a few days later after it’s had a chance to sit on your shelf for a few days and then if you like the result go ahead and can more. But you may find you don’t like the flavour in the end so I would just start small. The other thing you can do is reduce the sugar content. Again, sugar has no bearing on safety with canning so it would be safe to reduce the sugar. It just might affect the overall flavour and quality of your finished product.

      Reply
      • Jin

        Great, thank you!

        Reply
    • Kathleen Marie Green

      A sugar substitute? Why do that if you are looking into fresh canning techniques that have been introduced for hundreds of years.
      Why change a good thing? Personally I wouldn’t give my family anything
      called erythritol! I know they say it’ s natural, but it can’t be as good as plain old refined sugar…just my opinion. However, if there’s a diabetic in the family and you want to eliminate refined sugar maybe someone out there can help, but if that is not the reason then keep it simple, the way granma used to make it.

      Reply
  5. Deborah Bailes

    This is My first year of Canning and it’s been a great joy!
    When you measure your fruit do you use a liquid measuring cup?
    I attempted to make Cherry Jam and used Turbinado Cane Sugar. It has a more course texture verses Domino Granulated Sugar. The batch did not have a firm set. It is more like a sauce. Do you think the substation of Sugar could have been the problem?
    I’m enjoying all the information on your boards!

    Reply
    • Pat

      sticky mess. I am sure it will come out like store bought. transferring berries is also messy. I think I will just make the fruit canned and add the clear gel to the semi finished pie.

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        You can also can up the filling without the clear gel and add a thickener When you’re ready to make your pie. At this point you can use clear gel or you can use another thickener like flour or cornstarch.

        Reply
  6. Cissy

    Thank you for this recipe!!!

    Reply
  7. Doris Mussman

    i,m excited to find your post,as i didn’t know anything about canning pie filling, i will be canning blueberry pie filling tomorrow, and in four days canning peach pie filling.so happy to learn about CLEAR jell !! i do have one question however, is there any way to keep the blue berry skins more tender rather than chewy after they are cooked ? thank you for so much information.i’m only 80 and still learning !

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Doris!

      I’ve never had a problem with blueberry skins being chewy once canned. Not with this recipe anyway so I’m not sure what to tell you. If you follow the recipe as it’s written you should have no problems:)

      Reply
  8. linda

    Can you use stevia for part of the sugar.

    Reply
  9. Jeanine Carlson

    My Clear Jel was clumpy, so my first batch of pie filling had small hard lumps in it. I sifted the next time around, with much better results. I made one batch with fresh lemons and one with Realemon. The fresh batch was delicious; the other, less so. Thanks for this great recipe with its excellent instructions.

    Reply
  10. karen cool

    is the liquid clear gel thats used for making jam the same as the clear gel for pies? ive only been able to find jam one

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Karen,

      I’m not sure I’ve seen Clear Jel for jam. Unless you’re talking about Sure Jell? And if so, no they’re not the same. Sure Jell is actually pectin for helping jam set, whereas Clear Jel is a modified corn starch that is used for thickening things like pie filling. Sure Jell would likely make your filling too thick and more like a jam than a pie filling. Clear Jel can be hard to find though so it’s not very well known. Here is where you can purchase Clear Jel online: Hoosier Hill Farm Clear Jel

      Reply
      • Cindy

        Carnet foods also sells Ultra Gel and it’s amazing. That’s where I buy mine from. Also the nutmeg makes a HUGE difference, 1 tsp is the perfect amount

        Reply
        • Mary

          Can u use less clearjel if you want a softer set, we would use it more for over cake or on our dessert pizzas. Not sure why the berries need to be boiled. My husband was thinking more whole berry, not mushy?

          Reply
          • Anna Sakawsky

            Hi Mary,

            Yes, you could use less Clearjel or even none at all and just thicken your pie filling when it comes out of the jar. If you omit it, fill to 1/2 inch headspace and then drain out 1/3 cup of liquid before adding thickener. As for boiling/blanching the blueberries, this is actually done to get the air out of the fruits as otherwise this can cause fruit to float to the top and can cause extra air to try to escape the jars while they’re being processed which can cause sticky liquid to pour out and over the rim preventing a seal. I don’t think the extra one minute of blanching makes them any more mushy than putting them in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes naturally will. They still maintain their shape:)

  11. Holly

    Is it safe to assume you process the same length of time for both the pints and quarts?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, same processing time, however you’ll need to increase the processing time if you live more than 1,000 feet above sea level. I’ll make a note about that in the post.

      Reply
  12. Ken Smith

    I feel that you need to re-check number 10, as I feel you have a few items mixed up. Example #9 add lid, #10 submerged without lid. Some people may not know. But beside that I like the recipes and I am a first time user with clear-jel. Thank you for a different/better way of canning a pie mix.

    Reply
    • Ken Smith

      I understand you are talking about the canner lid but some may not.

      Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Ken! I totally see what you’re saying! I will specify that I mean the canning lid. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  13. Lori

    How many quarts does this recipe make ?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Lori!

      This recipe makes about 4 quarts or 8 pints.

      Reply
  14. Theresa

    Can I use frozen blueberries in this recipe

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes you can!

      Reply
  15. Maribeth

    Can a pressure cooker be used instead of a water bath? If so, at what pressure and for how long?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Maribeth,
      First off I’m assuming you mean a pressure canner, as you should never can in a pressure cooker. While you should be able to pressure can this recipe in theory, I haven’t been able to find a tested pressure canning recipe for pie filling so I would recommend sticking to water bath canning just to be on the safe side.

      Reply
  16. Ter

    Does one quart make 2 pies?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      In my experience, one quart will make one pie in a 9” pie plate.

      Reply
  17. Annette Williams

    Hi, did you use food coloring in your blueberry pie filling or did it turn out that color naturally.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      No food colouring:) That is the natural colour. Blueberries can actually be used as a natural dye!

      Reply
  18. Judith Chimento

    I bought from an Amish farmer in Lancaster pa. A quart jar of his canned blueberries. My question is; To make the blueberry pie. Do I drain any of the blueberry liquids . Or do I incorporate all in the pie. Canning the fruit is understanding. But do you use a regular recipe to make the pie. Is anything different. Is 4 tsp. Or 4 tablespoons used to make this pie. I would appreciate you telling me. Want to make this pie but, I don’t want to run it. I would appreciate you text me back. Thank you Judy

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Judy!

      If you’re using canned pie filling you do not need to drain any liquid out. Just dump it right in your pie crust and you’re good to go! You can use a regular pie crust recipe (this is the one I use: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/easy-pie-purpose-pie-crust/). Just make your pie crust and dump the filling in and bake as normal! I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you ask about 4 tsp. vs. 4 Tbsp. Could you be more specific? I hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  19. Erin

    What exactly is clear Helsinki and can I use anything else at all?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Erin,

      Clear Jel is a modified corn starch that is commonly used as a thickener in home canning recipes. It is the number one recommended thickening product for things like home-canned pie filling because it gels evenly, while flour and regular cornstarch tend to clump up and leave you with a lower quality final product. You can safely omit it and then add a thickener at the time of baking. I normally wouldn’t recommend a modified food product but it is the most highly recommended product in home canning today and it’s what I use in all of my pie fillings.

      Reply
  20. Emily S.

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe! I made a batch and had about 1/2 quart “leftover” that I made into a crumble. Delicious! I can’t wait to taste that fresh blueberry taste again this winter. Canning instructions worked perfectly for me! Now I plan to try some of your other canning recipes. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      That’s so awesome Emily! I’m glad you enjoyed it:) I often find I have “leftovers” from canning recipes, but I honestly never mind. I like having some to eat right away;)

      Reply
  21. iluvs2fish

    We’ve been growing 12 varieties of organic fruits, berries, grapes etc for 33 years on an acre on edge of town as well as raising chickens for meat & eggs. I was a county fair & state fair competitor in home preservation then became a state fair judge & teach home preservation to new brides etc. I found new products about 15 yrs ago from the Amish community called ThermoFlo & PermaFlo. Superior consistency and best part they’re about half cost of Clear Jel. I’m not sure if you made differentiation between Clear Jel instant and Clear Jel cook in your post above but they’re different products. We use the cook variety in pie fillings. People new to canning aren’t always aware of the difference.
    I’ve picked 36 gallons of blueberries so far this summer and 14gallons of raspberries and now our blackberries are coming on. Before the berries I put up our sour pie cherries & a gazillion red currants. I made jelly with the currants but also steamed a bunch and canned the juice to use in making red currant cordial which I’m doing today along with red raspberry cordial. I”ll use it in drinks like raspberry shrub this winter. Enjoy yourself.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      I didn’t know about Clear Jel Instant. Thanks for clarifying! I will also look into ThermoFlo/PermaFlo. I hadn’t heard of these products either!

      You’re a total inspiration! We are actually just moving to a new house and there is a huge red currant bush out front. I’ve never worked with them and don’t really need new jelly so I was thinking about either drying them to use in tea or juicing them. I love the idea of a red currant cordial! I think I’ll try that. Our raspberries are also coming on so I will keep the cordial idea in the back of my mind for sure. I made a juice concentrate with rhubarb this year that was amazing so I like that idea. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    • Anna

      Your gardening and canning are my goals! Are you in a gardening group where I can find you to ask questions?! Thank you!

      Reply
  22. Anna Sakawsky

    Thanks for the link! Awesome post by the way!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Start Homesteading Wherever You Are - Little House Living - […] there’s nothing like opening up a jar of home-canned green beans, peaches or blueberry pie filling in the dead of…
  2. Beginner’s Guide: Canned Blueberry Pie Filling – p.s. bonjour - […] seemed like they could work, like this one on Waterbath Canning and this one more specifically for Blueberry Pie…
  3. How to Can Everything ~ 100+ Recipes from A to Z — Practical Self Reliance - […] Blueberry Pie Filling […]

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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In the spring, I love seeing the garden spiders (I have no clue what they’re actually called) running around close to my fingers as I plant out seeds, many of them carrying large egg sacs on their back.

In the fall I love watching orb spiders spin their webs that capture the last of the summer rays and the first of the fall raindrops on their silky threads.

Even in the bathroom (why do spiders gravitate to the bathroom??) I always try not to kill the spiders that I find, but relocate them to the garden instead. A healthy garden is teeming with spiders and worms and butterflies and bees. A healthy garden is full of healthy life, and just like good bacteria helps ward off bad bacteria in our bodies, so too do the “good bugs” help to control the bad bugs in the garden, and spiders are one of the most beneficial bugs when it comes to that!

It’s amazing how much living close to the land changes you and gives you a greater respect for all life. As much as I’m still not ready to put my hands out and hold a spider (I literally passed out when I was a kid and tried to hold someone’s pet tarantula), I am learning to coexist with all things, and appreciate the unique purpose that every living thing serves here on Earth.

As much as it may seem like we have nothing in common, if you take a moment to just observe nature or sit in stillness by your garden gate, you’re sure to realize we all have more in common than most people might think.
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