This home-canned strawberry pie filling is so pure and fragrant that you won’t want to seal it in jars, you’ll want to devour it right away. But resist the impulse, and enjoy this on a cold autumn or winter day.
You can can it in a variety of jar sizes: handy for opening just what you need at various times. It’s not just for pies: this would make a cheesecake great topping or spongecake layer.
This is a tested canning recipe courtesy of the Washington State University Extension Service.
You might also wish to can your strawberries plain, and make a pie filling with them when you open a jar.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint / 500 ml/ 16 oz) OR 1 litre (US quart / 32 oz)
Processing method: Either water-bath or steam canning
Yield: 1 litre (US quart) jar
Headspace: 3 cm (1 ¼ inch)
Processing time: Either size jar 30 minutes
You may also wish to make a few quarter-litre (½ US pint / 8 oz / 250 ml) jar sizes for use as topping for ice cream, small cheese cakes, etc.
This recipe is for 1 x 1 litre (1 US quart) jar. You can multiply it if you wish, up to 7 (that is the usual suggested max, just because the standard canner will take a max of 7 x litre / quart jars at once.)
Strawberry Pie Filling
- 500 g strawberries (fresh. 1 lb / 3 ½ cups whole. Measured after prep. )
- 5 tablespoons Clearjel (35 g / 1 ¼ oz)
- 175 g sugar (refined white. 6 oz / ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp) OR ¾ cup / 20 g Splenda OR 1 - 2 teaspoons liquid stevia
- 250 ml water
- 4 drops red food colouring (optional)
- 3 ½ teaspoons lemon juice bottled
- Wash the strawberries, hull. Cut very large ones in half.
- Place the fruit a batch or two at a time in boiling water. Let water return to the boil, then boil 1 minute. Get fruit out right away, and put in a covered bowl or pot to keep warm. Repeat until all fruit has been blanched.
- Put the Clearjel in a very large pot along with the sugar, if using sugar. Mix. Add water (or juice) and food colouring if using, and liquid stevia if using instead of sugar. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture gets quite thick and begins to bubble.
- Add lemon juice, cook one additional minute. Fold in the berries carefully all at once just until evenly mixed.
- Fill piping hot mixture into hot jars.
- Ladle into ½ litre (1 US pint / 16 oz) jars or 1 litre (1 US quart / 32 oz) jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 ¼ inch) headspace.
- Debubble well, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner.
- Process either size jar for 30 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
More about the Clearjel Pie Fillings, including tips and tricks.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
- They want that little bit extra headspace in this recipe because the filling does really does expand during processing, and usually doesn’t contract either.
- If you want to lighten up the calories, and save time when using to cook, try making your pie crust (or tart shells) with 3 or 4 sheets of filo pastry instead of short-crust pastry. Delicious!
- We actually cut back the Clearjel to 3 tablespoons (20 g / .75 oz) for a less gooey pie. Yes, it’s safe to do so, as it reduces the density, and some authorities such as Barb Ingham at the University of Wisconsin recommend doing it.
- Don’t skip the blanching step with the fresh strawberries (see frozen exception below), it’s needed to both heat them and get some air out of them to help prevent the pie mixture bubbling up too much in the jars.
- For a better tasting pie, you can use some kind of berry or grape juice instead of the cold water. We juiced some extra strawberries to make strawberry juice, and used that instead of the water. It was worth it, for how fragrant it made the pie filling. Another time, we froze some of the strawberry blanching water, and used that in a future batch.
- Bottled lemon juice is called for to get the assured acidity.
- For stevia as an alternative sweetener, Better Stevia liquid stevia was the stevia used. If you go this route, depending on how sweet your berries are and aren’t, and the taste buds of your crowd, you may want an extra teaspoon of liquid stevia (won’t affect calories.)
Using frozen strawberries
Thaw just until the berries can be separated to measure. Measure out, return what you don’t need to the freezer. Let your measured out strawberries thaw completely. Drain, reserving the juice that will have come off. Measure the liquid, and swap out that much water and replace the water with the juice. Heat berries in microwave until they are quite hot, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add along with any more juice that came off in microwave to recipe at point that it calls for the strawberries to be folded into the Clearjel (to be clear, you skip the blanching stage, the freezing and thawing will have released air, and you’ve heated them in the microwave.)
No substitute for Clearjel
You can’t use flour or cornstarch etc, in this recipe, only Clearjel.
Pamela Schmutz at Clemson University explains:
The recipes for fruit pie fillings all use a modified food starch called Clear Jel®. This starch produces the correct thickening, even after the fillings are canned and baked. Other starches, such as cornstarch, break down and result in a runny filling. Clear Jel® must be used as the thickener in these recipes; there is no substitution. Do not use any other form of Clear Jel®, such as Instant Clear Jel®.”  Schmutz, Pamela. Pie Fillings. Georgia: Clemson University Extension. HGIC 3160. August 2010. Accessed August 2015.
- Washington State University Extension Service’s directions for adaptation of the USDA’s Blueberry Pie Filling into Strawberry  Washington State University Chelan / Douglas / Okanogan County Extension. Let’s Preserve Fruit Pie Fillings. September 2010. Page 5.
- Their source was: Blueberry Pie Filling. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 2 – 27.
- Add information on how to handle frozen.
Per 1 x litre (US quart /32 oz) jar
- 896 calories, 16 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 25 points per jar.
Per 1 litre (US quart / 32 oz ) jar:
- 239 calories, 16 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 6 points per jar.
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
* Better Stevia ® is a registered trademark of the NOW Foods Company.
Cooking with canning
To make a strawberry rhubarb pie, at time of use you could mix in a jar of plain stewed rhubarb; adjust sweetness as desired.
See also: Recipe for home canned strawberry rhubarb pie filling.