As the warm sun of summer brings forth a bountiful harvest of luscious strawberries, there’s no better way to capture their vibrant flavor and preserve it for the rest of the year than by making and canning your own strawberry pie filling. Imagine indulging in a slice of freshly baked strawberry pie in the middle of winter, its sweet aroma and bright taste taking you back to those sunny days of picking berries. Today, we’ll take you through the delightful journey of creating and canning strawberry pie filling, ensuring that you can savor the taste of summer all year round.
The Beauty of Homemade Strawberry Pie Filling
Before diving into the process, let’s talk about why homemade strawberry pie filling is worth the effort. Unlike store-bought alternatives, homemade filling allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring a fresher and more natural taste. Plus, the satisfaction of opening a jar of your own creation during the colder months is truly unmatched.
Before you start, gather the following ingredients.
15 lbs of hulled, halved strawberries
6 cups sugar
2 cups Clear Jel
7 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Strawberry Pie Filling Directions:
Blanch the strawberries in boiling water for one minute. Do this by using a blanching basket or something similar that you can dip into a deep pot. This may take you a few different batches to complete the process. Place them off to the side but try to keep them warm as you make the syrup for the filling.
Combine the sugar and clear jel. Mix them well so that there are no pockets of jel or it will clump up when you add the water. Then place the mix into a nice deep stockpot and add 7 cups of cold water. If you use hot water the gel will begin to clump up. Mix this all together using a whisk.
This mixture is already pretty thick so it won’t take long for it to thicken to the point you need once you add heat. It is a good idea to have your lemon juice measured out before you begin to heat the syrup. Place the pot on the stove on medium heat. Stir constantly until the syrup begins to bubble and then add the lemon juice. Mix the lemon juice in and cook it for an additional minute.
Remove the syrup from the heat and gently fold in the blanched berries. As an added option you could add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla at this point.
Using wide-mouth pint jars fill them up leaving 1 inch of headspace. (From the top of the food to the top of the jar.) Use a non-metal implement to remove any air bubbles from the jar.
2 pints will make one 9-inch pie. You could can them in quarts but if you do be sure to add 5 minutes to the cooking time to make up for the size difference.
Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jar. Apply the lids and tighten the rings to fingertip tight.
This recipe will make 22 pints or 11 quarts of strawberry pie filling. It is a large batch but that is less than one strawberry pie a month for a year. I would rather make it all in one go than split up the work into multiple days.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes at a rolling boil if at sea level. If you are above 1000 feet, be sure to adjust your processing time. After the time has elapsed, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow the water to cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove the jars and place them on a heat-resistant surface. Allow them to sit for 24 hours before removing the rings and washing the jars.
Store in a cool, dark place. Home canned goods are good for 1-3 years. After that, the nutritional value begins to decrease. The quality is best within the first year. If you have any jars that don’t seal, place them in the refrigerator and use them in the next 2 weeks.
Crafting and canning your own strawberry pie filling is a rewarding endeavor that allows you to enjoy the essence of summer throughout the year. Whether you use it for classic strawberry pies, tarts, turnovers, or even as a topping for ice cream, your homemade filling will bring a burst of flavor and nostalgia to every bite. So, embrace the joy of preserving the season’s finest strawberries and delight in the delectable taste of your homemade creations, no matter the season.