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FOOD PRESERVATION Let’s Preserve Fruit Pie Fillings (FN-434 (Revised))

The fruit fillings in this publication are excellent and safe products. Each canned quart makes one 8-inch to 9-inch pie. Fillings may be used as toppings on dessert or pastries. Clear Jel is a starch modified to produce excellent sauce consistency even after fillings are canned and baked. Other available household starches break down, causing a runny sauce consistency when used in pie fillings.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., , R.D., L.R.D. Food and Nutrition Specialist


Slice of apple pie


The following fruit fillings are excellent and safe products. Each canned quart makes one 8-inch to 9-inch pie. Fillings may be used as toppings on dessert or pastries. Clear Jel is a starch modified to produce excellent sauce consistency even after fillings are canned and baked. Other available household starches break down, causing a runny sauce consistency when used in pie fillings. Clear Jel can be ordered from: Tochi Products, 1111 2nd Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102, (701) 232-7700.

Because the variety of fruit may alter the flavor of the fruit pie, you first should 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 because it aids in controlling the safety and storage stability of the fillings.

When using frozen cherries and blueberries, select unsweetened fruit. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while fruit is frozen. Collect, measure and use juice from thawing fruit to partially replace the water specified in the recipe and only ¼ cup Clear Jel per quart, or 1¾ cups for 7 quarts.

Key to Abbreviations

c. = cup

qt. = quart

Tbsp. = tablespoon

tsp. = teaspoon

Apple pie filling

Apple pie filling recipe


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.

Procedure: Wash, peel and core apples. Prepare half-inch-wide slices and place in water containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals or six 500-milligram vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water to prevent browning. For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch one 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 head space. Adjust lids and process immediately.

Blueberry pie filling

blueberry pie filling recipe

Quality: Select sweet, very ripe but firm, deep blue fruit.

Procedure: Wash and drain fresh blueberries. For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch one 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 one minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained berries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch head space. Adjust lids and process immediately.

Cherry pie filling

cherry pie filling recipe

Quality: Select very ripe, firm, tart cherries.

Procedure: Rinse and pit fresh cherries and hold in cold water. To prevent stem end browning, hold pitted cherries in water containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals or six 500-milligram vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water. For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch one 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 one minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained cherries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch head space. Adjust lids and process immediately.

Peach pie filling

peach pie filling recipe

Quality. Select ripe but firm peaches. Red Haven, Redskin, Sun High and other varieties of similar quality are suitable.

Procedure. 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. Place slices in water containing 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals or six 500-milligram vitamin C tablets in 1 gallon of water to prevent browning. For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time in 1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch one 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 mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained peach slices and continue to heat mixture for three minutes. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1 inch head space. Adjust lids and process immediately.

Procedure for canning all fillings

Wash jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s instructions. Fill fruit mixtures into jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Wipe sealing surface of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Add lids, tighten screw bands and process.

To process in a boiling water canner, preheat canner half filled with water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Load sealed jars into the canner rack and lower with handles, or load one jar at a time with a jar lifter onto rack in canner. Add water if needed to a level of 1 inch above jars and cover. When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and process for recommended time.

After processing is completed, remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place them on a towel or rack. Do not retighten screw bands. Air-cool jars 12 to 24 hours. Remove screw bands and check lid seals. A jar is sealed if the center of its lid is indented or concave. Wash, dry, label and store sealed jars in a clean, cool, dark place. If a jar is unsealed, examine and replace the lid if it is defective; use a new lid and reprocess as before. Wash screw bands and store separately. Fillings are best if used within one year and safe as long as lids remain vacuum sealed.

process time

For more information about food preservation, visit these Web sites.

Source: Based on “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin 539, 2006 revision, and information from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Extension Service is implied.

North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota

Reviewed and reprinted September 2012

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