Thursday, June 11

Strawberry Pie Filling

Strawberries are among the first fruit to ripen in the Northeast.  
In my area of Ohio, strawberries are ripe around the first week in June.  For me, strawberries mark the passage from spring to summer each year. And besides, making delicious fresh strawberry edibles gives me something to do while I eagerly wait for my garden vegetable to ripen.

In 2010, strawberries surpassed apples to become the third largest among fruits in agriculture crops in the U.S., after grapes and oranges. And strawberries are the fifth highest consumed fresh fruit by weight in the U.S. behind bananas, apples, oranges and grapes.  The health benefits of strawberries include antioxidants, folate, potassium, vitamin C and fiber besides just being so darn delicious!

Every year we make Strawberry Freezer Jam, freeze cut up strawberries to use during cold winter months and sometimes other things like Strawberry Schnapps.  This year I decided to try homemade Strawberry Pie Filling.   There is nothing better as a cool dessert on a hot summer day than a chilled strawberry pie.


Fresh picked basket full of strawberries at Hann Farms 

Tips and suggestions:
  • Fresh picked strawberries are best for the most intense strawberry flavor, but you can use frozen.
  • Make sure to use Clear Jel for this recipe (not Sure-Jell)
  • You can substitute 1 or 2 cups of cold water with 1 to 2 cups of strawberry juice.
  • Use Strawberry Pie Filling to top cheesecake, angel food cake, shortcake or make a cobbler.

Strawberry Pie Filling 
Whole and cut strawberries 

Ingredients:
6 quarts (approximately 21 cups) fresh strawberries
6 cups sugar
2 ¼ cups regular Clear Jel
7 cups cold water
½ cup lemon juice
7 quart canning jars and lids
Red food coloring, optional

Directions:
Wash and sterilize canning jars and keep them hot. Keeping the jars hot helps to prevent breakage when adding the hot pie filling.   

Prepare water bath canner. I place my jars in the hot water in my canner until ready to use.  Wash 2 piece lids.  New lids no longer need to be boiled, but you can simmer them is desired.

Wash Strawberries, remove stems and caps and any blemishes, Cut large strawberries in half and leave medium to small strawberries whole and place in a large bowl. Measure to make 21 cups of strawberries. 
I added 1 extra cup of berries to make 22 cups.  Why?
We are food tasters but most cooks only sample while cooking to make sure the flavor and texture is correct.  Usually we have 2 to three cooks at a time in my kitchen, tasting everything more than once! I didn't want even one jar to come up short!

Slightly smash 7 to 8 cups of the strawberries

Once all the strawberries are cut, measure approximately 7 to 8 cups into a medium bowl and slightly crush.  Add back to main bowl of strawberries.  Set aside.
Combine sugar and Clear Jel in a large stock pot and mix together. Add cold water.  

Clear Jel ordered from Hoosier Hill Farm

Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and cook and bubble 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
Add a few drops of food coloring if desired.
When liquid is thickened, gently fold in the strawberries.

Add strawberries to sugar, water, Clear Jel mixture

Immediately fill quart canning jars with pie filling, leaving a 1 ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill is necessary. 

Fill Jar

Wipe jar rims; add two piece lids and process in water bath for 30 minutes at a full rolling boil.
(Check altitude for your area as time can vary from 25 minutes to 35 minutes)

Water Bath for 30 minutes

Remove from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours without disturbing.
Check to make sure each has sealed by gently pressing in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down, it is not sealed. Store unsealed jars in the refrigerator to use right away. 
Wipe jars clean, label and then store sealed jars in a dark cool area until ready to use.


Pints:
If you choose to can the strawberry pie filling in pint jars, follow the recipe for canning in quart jars, retaining 1 ¼ headspace, and using the processing time listed for quart jars. 
Pie Filling for One Pie:
3 ½ cups fresh strawberries
¾ to 1 cup sugar
¼ cup Clear Jel
1 cup cold water
3 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
To make, follow directions above. 
When thickened, allow to cool and then refrigerate or follow the directions below for making a Strawberry Pie.

Making a Strawberry Pie:
Line a pre-baked pie shell or graham cracker crust with fresh sliced strawberries if desired.
Pour cooled pie filling into pie crust over fresh berries.
Cover top with whipped cream and add fresh cut strawberries on top. 
Place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.

What is Clear Jel: 
Canning pie filling using tapioca or cornstarch as the thickener is an outdated and very risky method.  Clear Jel is the only thickening agent approved by the USDA for canning.  
Clear Jel is different than pectin (Sure-Jel) and is used to thicken pie fillings or soups, but not so much in jams and jellies. It is a modified corn starch (derivative of corn) made to withstand the heat of canning.  Use it just like you would flour or cornstarch to thicken pies or soups. 
For more canning safety you can check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They also have info on canning pie fillings.


Let me know if you like this recipe or also adore strawberry pie as I do.  
I’d love to hear from you,
Elizabeth


Other Posts:





 
Another love of mine, vintage aprons.  This one strawberries!

 
Me in my kitchen, photo taken by my daughter Alexis

Look at those strawberries!!


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOOK YUMMY. Margaret Smith Pike

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Kathy Raymond Hyland

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing!! Lisa Woodbrey

Anonymous said...

Looks beautiful. Linda Neil

Anonymous said...

Looks great. Jolene Coleman

Anonymous said...

Looks so pretty. Kaye Welch

Anonymous said...

They look beautiful! I'm hoping to try this after picking on Saturday! Nina Shannon

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks for the comments! I am just so happy about how easy this pie filling was to can and you are so right, how beautiful it turned out! I think I may convert this recipe for Apple Pie Filling. I'll post that later this summer if all goes well.

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome! Ashlee Cain Gibby

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Bobbie Barak

Anonymous said...

Looks so good. Carol Genusa

Anonymous said...

Would you like my address? My birthday is next month, :) Lynda Dionno

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks everyone! Lynda Dionno, first thing my daughter said when I pulled the first quart out of the canner "You're not sharing that!!" haha

Anonymous said...

That looks yummy! Karla Apple

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth M. Lynch did you use the red food coloring to get that deep red color? or is it from the strawberries themselves? It looks amazing! Candace Durbin Barnes

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Candace, It went in the canner a pinkish and came out red!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. Keri Darga Rucker

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'm excited to try it! LaDell Kelley

Anonymous said...

Yummy! Terri Higham

Anonymous said...

Will you be selling it because I will buy it!? Yummy! Dawn Hartsell Mahan

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Dawn Hartsell Mahan, no sell-ie, no give away-ie, : }

Anonymous said...

Did you use the ball recipe?? Leslie-Russ Karsten

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Leslie, the recipe was adapted from the website: The National Center for Home Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/canpie.html

Anonymous said...

So when you make a pie you just pour this filling in the crust, top with Cool Whip and Chill? I did notice something about fresh strawberries to line the crust? Jenny Slaton Sanders

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Jenny Slaton Sanders; Yes but cook the crust first and let it cool. You can also fill crust half way with either a cream filling or a cheese cake filling before covering with the strawberry pie filling. Yummy! And yes you can line the pie crust with fresh strawberries first or top the pie with fresh strawberries but not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Having trouble finding the Clear Jel Where to shop? Jenny Slaton Sanders

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Jenny Slaton Sanders; I ordered ClearJel on line. I've never been able to find it in any local supermarkets. I believe someone else said you can also find it at Amish stores.

Anonymous said...

After seeing this recipe all I can say is hurry up strawberry season! Marty

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Yea me too. The weather has been in the 60's last couple of days and I have been cleaning out my garden. Strawberries are usually one of the first things to come in and I can't wait!