Preserving Pie Fillings

HYG-5355
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
02/09/2016
Christine Kendle, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Katharine Shumaker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

jars of apple and cherry pie fillingPie fillings are an excellent way to preserve an abundance of fruit. The following fruit fillings are excellent and safe products. Each canned quart makes one 8-inch to 9-inch pie. The filling may be used as toppings on dessert or pastries. Because the variety of fruit may alter the flavor of the fruit pie, it is suggested that you first make a single quart, make a pie with it and serve. Then adjust the sugar and spices in the recipe to suit your personal preferences. The amount of lemon juice should not be altered, as it aids in controlling the safety and storage stability of the fillings.


A Note About Thickeners

“Clear Jel®” is a chemically modified corn starch that produces excellent sauce consistency even after fillings are canned and baked. There are other chemically modified corn starch products on the market; however, Clear Jel® is the only one that has been tested for these recipes. Traditional corn starch, flour, tapioca and other thickeners may break down when used in these pie fillings, causing a runny sauce consistency. You also must use Clear Jel® and not Instant Clear Jel®.


Apple Pie Filling

Quality: Use firm, crisp apples. Stayman, Golden Delicious, Rome and other varieties of similar quality are suitable. If apples lack tartness, use an additional ¼ cup of lemon juice for each 6 quarts of slices.
Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts
Procedure: Assemble ingredients, using Table 1 as a guide. Wash, peel and core apples. Prepare slices ½-inch wide and place in water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning (see Table 9 for directions for preparing an ascorbic acid solution).

Place 6 cups of apples at a time in 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain, but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar, Clear Jel® and cinnamon in a large kettle with water and apple juice. If desired, food coloring and nutmeg may be added. Stir and cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained apple slices immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately (see Table 10
for processing times).

Table 1. Apple Pie Filling
  Quantities of Ingredients Needed for
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Blanched, sliced fresh apples 3½ cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp 5½ cups
Clear Jel® ¼ cup 1½ cups
Cinnamon ½ tsp 1 Tbsp
Cold water ½ cup 2½ cups
Apple juice ¾ cup 5 cups
Bottled lemon juice 2 Tbsp ¾ cup
Nutmeg (optional) ⅛ tsp 1 tsp
Yellow food coloring (optional) 1 drop 7 drops
Blueberry Pie Filling

slice of blueberry pieQuality: Select fresh, ripe and firm blueberries. Unsweetened frozen blueberries may be used. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while fruit is still frozen.
Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts
Procedure: Assemble ingredients, using Table 2 as a guide. Wash and drain fresh blueberries.

For fresh fruit, place 6 cups of blueberries at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large kettle. Stir. Add water and, if desired, food coloring. Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained berries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately (see Table 10 for processing times).

Note: When using frozen blueberries, thaw fruit, then collect, measure and use the juice from the fruit to partially replace the water specified in the recipe. Use only ¼ cup Clear Jel® per quart or 1¾ cups per 7 quarts.

Table 2. Blueberry Pie Filling
  Quantities of Ingredients Needed for
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Fresh or thawed blueberries 3½ cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp 6 cups
Clear Jel® (for fresh fruit) ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp 2¼ cups
Clear Jel® ​(for frozen fruit) ¼ cup 1¾ cups
Cold water 1 cup 7 cups
Bottled lemon juice 3½ tsp ½ cup
Blue food coloring (optional) 3 drops 20 drops
Red food coloring (optional) 1 drop 7 drops
Cherry Pie Filling

Quality: Select fresh, very ripe and firm cherries. Unsweetened frozen cherries may be used. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while the fruit is still frozen.
Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts
Procedure: Assemble ingredients, using Table 3 as a guide. Rinse and pit fresh cherries, and hold in cold water. To prevent stem end browning, use ascorbic acid solution (see Table 9 for directions for preparing an ascorbic acid solution).

slice of cherry pieFor fresh fruit, place 6 cups of cherries at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large saucepan and add water. If desired, add cinnamon, almond extract and food coloring. Stir mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained cherries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately (see Table 10 for processing times).

Note: When using frozen cherries, thaw fruit, then collect, measure and use the juice from the fruit to partially replace the water specified in the recipe. Use only ¼ cup Clear Jel® per quart or 1¾ cups per 7 quarts.

Table 3. Cherry Pie Filling
  Quantities of Ingredients Needed for
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Fresh or thawed sour cherries 3⅓ cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear Jel® (for fresh fruit) ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp 1¾ cups
Clear Jel® ​(for frozen fruit) ¼ cup 1¾ cups
Cold water 1⅓ cups 9⅓ cups
Bottled lemon juice 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ½ cup
Cinnamon (optional) ⅛ tsp 1 tsp
Almond extract (optional) ¼ tsp 2 tsp
Red food coloring (optional) 6 drops ¼ tsp
Peach Pie Filling

Quality: Select ripe, firm fresh peaches such as Red Haven, Redskin, Sun High and others of similar quality. 
Yield: 1 quart or 7 quarts
Procedure: Assemble ingredients, using Table 4 as a guide. Peel peaches. To loosen skins, submerge peaches in boiling water for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, and then place in cold water for 20 seconds. Slip off skins and prepare slices ½-inch thick (see Table 9 for directions for preparing an ascorbic acid solution).

Place 6 cups of peaches at a time in 1 gallon boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine water, sugar, Clear Jel® and, if desired, cinnamon and/or almond extract in a large kettle. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil sauce 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Fold in drained peach slices and continue to heat mixture for 3 minutes. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately (see Table 10 for processing times).

Table 4. Peach Pie Filling
  Quantities of Ingredients Needed for
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Sliced fresh peaches 3½ cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar 1 cup 7 cups
Clear Jel® ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp 2 cups + 3 Tbsp
Cold water ¾ cup 5¼ cups
Cinnamon (optional) ⅛ tsp 1 tsp
Almond extract (optional) ⅛ tsp 1 tsp
Lemon juice ¼ cup 1¾ cups
Green Tomato Pie Filling

Yield: About 7 quarts
Procedure: Combine all ingredients listed in Table 5 in a large saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring often, until tender and slightly thickened (about 35 to 40 minutes). Fill jars with hot mixture, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process (see Table 10 for processing times).

Table 5. Green Tomato Pie
Quantities of Ingredients Needed for 7 Quarts
Chopped green tomatoes 4 quarts
Peeled and chopped tart apples 3 quarts
Dark seedless raisins 1 pound
White raisins 1 pound
Minced citron, lemon or orange peel ¼ cup
Water 2 cups
Brown sugar 2½ cups
White sugar 2½ cups
Vinegar (5 percent) ½ cup
Bottled lemon juice 1 cup
Ground cinnamon 2 Tbsp
Ground nutmeg 1 tsp
Ground cloves 1 tsp
Mince Meat Pie Filling

Yield: About 7 quarts
Procedure: Assemble the ingredients, using Table 6 as a guide. Cook meat and suet in water to avoid browning. Peel, core and quarter apples. Put meat, suet and apples through food grinder using a medium blade. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and simmer 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Stir often. Fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 7 or Table 8.

Table 6. Mince Meat Pie Filling
Quantities of Ingredients Needed for 7 Quarts
Finely chopped suet 2 cups
Ground beef or ground venison 4 pounds
Sausage 1 pound
Chopped apples 5 quarts
Dark seedless raisins 2 pounds
White raisins 1 pound
Apple cider 2 quarts
Ground cinnamon 2 Tbsp
Ground nutmeg 2 tsp
Sugar 5 cups
Salt 2 Tbsp
Table 7. Recommended Process Time for Mince Meat Pie Filling in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0–2,000 ft 2,001–4,000 ft 4,001–6,000 ft 6,000–8,000 ft
Hot Quarts 90 minutes 11 pounds 12 pounds 13 pounds 14 pounds
Table 8. Recommended Process Time for Mince Meat Pie Filling in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0–1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Quarts 90 minutes 10 pounds 15 pounds
Table 9. Anti-Darkening Treatment
Option 1: Use a commercial ascorbic acid mixture, available in grocery and drug stores. Prepare according to package instructions. Drain fruit before proceeding.
Option 2: Drop fruit in a solution of 1 teaspoon (or 3,000 milligrams) ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 1 gallon water. Vitamin C tablets also may be used. Drain fruit before proceeding.
Option 3: Drop fruit into a citric acid or lemon juice solution made from 1 teaspoon of food-grade citric acid or ¾ cup lemon juice and 1 gallon water. Drain fruit before proceeding.
Table 10. Recommended Process Time for Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Green Tomato or Peach Pie Filling in a Boiling-Water Canner
Process Time at Altitudes of
Pie Filling Style of Pack Jar Size 0–1,000 ft 1,001–3,000 ft 3,001–6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Apple Hot Pints or quarts 25 30 35 40
Blueberry Hot Pints or quarts 30 35 40 45
Peach Hot Pints or quarts 30 35 40 45
Cherry Hot Pints or quarts 30 35 40 45
Green Tomato Hot Quarts 15 20 20 25
References
  • Andress, E., and J. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. 6th ed. Athens: University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, 2014.
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation. University of Georgia. nchfp.uga.edu/search.html
  • United States Department of Agriculture. Complete Guide to Home Canning. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539. 2009.

Updated in 2008 by Christine Kendle, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Katharine Shumaker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences.

 

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