How to Make Strawberry Pie Filling - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: April 2015: Spring IS here! Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions
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How to Make Homemade Strawberry Pie FillingYou can make and can your own strawberry pie filling! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The strawberry pie filling will taste MUCH better than that over-sugared tasteless glop in the can from the grocery store, and by using fresh strawberries, the flavor will be much stronger!
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.
Now here's how you can, too!
Directions for Making Strawberry Pie Filling
Ingredients and Equipment to make 1 quart of strawberry pie
(just double to make 2 quarts, etc.)
Recipe and Directions
Step 1 - Selecting the strawberries
You can use fresh or even frozen strawberries, but obviously you'll get the best price and freshest taste if you go pick your own. Typically, strawberries are in season in the US and Europe in June and July - check the harvest calendar for your state!
Step 2 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot strawberry pie filling.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Step 3 - Wash, hull the berries and sort!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a colander of plain cold water.
Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy berries. Hull the berries (remove the green leaves attached to the top).
Then just drain off the water through a colander! A number of people have written to ask where to get the conical metal colanders that our grandmothers used - here's where:
Step 4 - Blanch the Strawberries
It's pretty simple: place the strawberries (up to 7 cups at a time) in a large pot with at ;east 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. You're not really "cooking" the strawberries - just blanching them. Blanching means heating the at high temperature for a brief time to stop the enzymes that can cause the flavor to degrade during storage.
Drain and keep the hot cooked fruit in a covered bowl or pot.
Photo is coming!!!
Step 5 - Make the liquid for the filling
Mix 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of ClearJel starch with the 3/4 cup of sugar in a large pot. Add the 1 cup of water (or strawberry juice, if you can find natural strawberry juice) and heat on the stove until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
Then add the 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice, stirring constantly.
Note: I use strawberry juice to add the flavor and natural sweetness, but you can just use cold water, as the strawberry juice can be expensive and hard to find.
Why use ClearJel?
ClearJel® is a corn starch that has been modified to give it special and unique characteristics when used in food products. It is recommended by the USDA for making pie fillings because it does not break down in the acid food mixtures and does not thicken enough during heat processing to interfere with the intended effect of the heat on killing bacteria during canning. In other words it reduces spoilage and is safer than corn starch. It is preferred for thickening canned pie fillings as well as other foods over other corn starches because it has less or no aftertaste, the thickened juices are smooth and clear, and foods thickened with ClearJel® may be frozen.
Step 6 - Combine the liquid with the berries
Fold the berries into the hot liquid. Stir gently.
Step 7 - Fill the jars with the strawberry mixture
Pretty self explanatory. A jar funnel helps. Gently jostle the jar to help it settle in the jar and reduce the amount of air space. Fill the jars to within 1 inch of the top, wipe any spilled strawberry pie filling of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.
Step 8 - Process the filled jars in the water bath
Put the filled jars in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. if you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint and/or quart jars for 30 minutes.
If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, see this chart.
USDA-Recommended process time for Hot Pack Pint or Quart Jars of Strawberry Pie Filling in a boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 3,000 ft||3,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 9 - Remove and cool the jars - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
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[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
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