July is the best month of the year.
I mean really, how can you beat a month that has corn, peaches, green beans, tomatoes, nectarines, squash, and berries all at the same time?! It's overwhelming. My canning pot has been going non-stop. There's just not enough time to eat all the summer things. I first canned this recipe last summer and just ran out of my last jar a couple months ago. I've been (not so)patiently waiting for blackberries to be back at the markets just so that I can make more pie filling. It's that good.
A couple of helpful notes before you begin:
- One quart of filling is enough to fill one standard pie crust. This one is my absolute favorite with this recipe, but any one will do...pick your favorite!
- 10 cups of blackberries is about three and a half baskets that you would get at the farmer's market (the short turquoise ones). 3 cups of blueberries is about two of the baskets from the market.
- ClearJel is a modified cornstarch that doesn't break down in acidic food and is perfect for creating the right consistency in your canned pie filling. I got mine on Amazon. Make sure that you get regular ClearJel, not the instant kind, otherwise it will not work for your pie. A one-pound bag is quite a bit; since this recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, you'll have enough to make quite a few batches if you want.
Once you start cooking, this recipe comes together FAST. I recommend getting all of your ingredients prepped, measured, and ready so that you can just grab and go when the time comes. If you need a refresher or introduction on water bath processing, check out the Marisa and her Food in Jars website. Everything I know about canning I've learned from her books, Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint (It's amazing! Some of the best recipes I've found have come from Marisa's new book.)
Canned Blueberry and Blackberry Pie Filling
This recipe will make 2 quart jars of filling
7 cups blackberries
3 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 tbsp. lemon juice (required for canning)
1/2 cup Clear Jel
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1. Place the canning lids in a small pot and bring to a slight simmer to heat them up as you cook. Put your quart jars into the canning pot as you bring the water to a boil to sterilize them.
2. Rinse your blackberries and blueberries. Set aside with the rest of your ingredients.
3. In a large, heavy pan, combine the water, sugar, and Clear Jel. Slowly bring it to a boil, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken. When Clear Jel thickens, it actually turns into a heavy, clear gelatin (surprise!). It comes as somewhat of a shock as it starts to thicken...you don't expect to see something like that in your pot! Don't worry, you're doing it right. It will start in pieces at first and then the whole mixture will change quickly.
4. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, and fold in the berries. It starts to look pretty messy, but it will all come together in the end. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes until the fruit is soft. Can the fruit right away.
5. Leave 1" of headspace in your jars. Use a skewer or butter knife to remove any air bubbles. This recipe can get pretty sticky, so make sure to wipe down the rims of your jars well with a wet paper towel before putting on the lids.
6. Remove the lids from the simmering water, dry off, and close up your jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. If you live over 1,000 ft above sea level, check out this website to help adjust for altitude changes.
7. After processing, remove the jars from the boiling water bath and let them rest, undisturbed, on a towel for at least 12 hours. Check your seals-if your lid didn't suction, make some pie! Refrigerate your filling right away. If your seals are good, label your jars and keep them in a cool, dark place for up to a year...if it lasts that long!