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We’ve been trying to decide how to preserve our berries this year. I thought about making blueberry syrup this year, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to make blueberry pie filling instead.
So far no one has complained, and there are just enough berries leftover to make a breakfast cake.
Pie filling is not hard to make, but does take an eye for detail and a bit of fast hand-work.
To make blueberry pie filling, you will need:
- 12 Cups blueberries
- 2 ¼ Cups sugar
- ¾ Cup plus 3 Tablespoons Clear Jel
- 3 Cups cold water
- 3 Tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 large stock/cooking pots
- 3 large bowls
- 1 small bowl (optional)
- Water bath canner (I couldn’t find mine to link to, sorry)
- Canning utensil set
- Pint or quart jars
- Bands and lids (I use the reusable Tattler lids)
Prepare Your Ingredients
- Place blueberries in one large bowl.
- Mix Clear Jel and sugar in second large bowl.
- Measure out cold water in third bowl.
- Measure out lemon juice in small bowl.
Prepare Your Canning Jars
After you have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go, move on to preparing your jars, lids, and rings. (I follow the guidelines outlined in my Ball Blue Book.) Also have your water bath canner prepared.
Start By Blanching The Blueberries
While your jars, lids, and rings are getting ready, wash your blueberries in cool water while you bring a large pot of water to boil. Once a boil has been reached, put your blueberries in and boil them for one full minute. Quickly remove them after boiling and place them in your colander to drain. Once drained, place in a large bowl or pot and cover them to keep them warm.
Tip: I use two pots for this. I begin to blanch half in one pot, and at the one minute mark I put the other half in the second pot and drain the first. (The second pot is the one I will prepare the filling in.) The first batch then gets returned to it’s pot after draining, and then the second pot is ready to drain. After the second pot is drained, I put those berries in with the first pot and cover with the lid. The second pot is then warm and ready to start the filling.
Prepare Your Blueberry Pie Filling
Place the dry ingredients (Clear Jel and sugar) in your pot, and add the water to it. Immediately begin stirring. When the mixture becomes thick and bubbly, add the lemon juice to it and stir constantly.
Note: Clear Jel sets fast, so be sure before you start this process that everything is in reach and you are devoted to this task. You will not want to be interrupted from stirring, and you will need to fill your jars quickly.
Carefully fold your blueberries in until all berries are in and pie filling has uniform texture. Keep moving.
Filling Your Jars With Blueberry Pie Goodness
Once I am happy with my pie-filling consistency, I immediately begin moving pie filling into my pint jars using a plastic ladle and canning funnel.
Gently shake berries down if needed, and leave 1 inch headspace at the top. If needed, use plastic stick/wand to release any air bubbles.
Use damp, hot cloth to wipe rims extra carefully. Pie fillings that fail to seal usually have pie filling around the tops of the jars to blame. The pie filling is quite sticky at this stage, so pay careful attention to have clean rims if you tend to be messy.
Place your lid (or two piece reusable Tattler lids like I use) on the top and place your prepared ring on.
Use your grabber to place each jar carefully into your pre-warmed water bath and bring to a rolling boil. (Be sure to use your water bath canner according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine calls for 2 inches of water to cover the tops of the jars.)
Process Your Pie Filling
Process for 30 minutes plus your adjustment for altitude once you reach a boil.
Altitude Increase Processing Time
1001-3000 ft 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10000 20 minutes
For just under 6000 feet, we process ours for 40 minutes.
Once your processing time is up, carefully remove the heat from your water bath canner (turn off your stove if you are using one) and allow to cool down. Then carefully remove the lid. After 20 minutes or so, use your grabber to pull the jars out of your hot water and place on a protected surface (I use a dry towel). Make sure jars are an inch apart. Allow to cool over night.
In the morning, remove your rings and check for seal. Clean all of your jars and rings and allow to dry again.
Any jars not sealed should be put into the refrigerator and used in the next week.
A quick note: Only you can be responsible for the food you prepare for your family, just as only I can be responsible for the food I prepare for my family. Always follow all manufacturer’s guidelines. You are encouraged to use pH testers, and also know that substituting any ingredients affects the pH and affects the need for lemon juice and/or processing times. I am not a professional “canner” and take no responsibility for your technique. I follow guidelines outlined in the Ball Blue Book, and I encourage you to as well.