Pie-a-Day #8: Mixed Berry Pie

Written by

Delilah Snell is the owner of The Road Less Traveled, an eco-store in Santa Ana, CA.  She has a blog (Project Small) and teaches preserving classes (Evan and Harriet took one earlier in the month).

Mixed Berry Pie

Our CSA basket is usually my barometer of the seasons, and last week I got the clear message of Summer with 4 baskets of delicious berries.  Of course they were gone within 24 hours, but even while reaching for the last of the delicate blackberries, I already started thinking about how sad it will be when they are finally gone.

My second thought then goes to saving these little guys so that I can eat them in some fashion even in our “freezing” California Winter, the most obvious being jam-not dissing it, love me some jam-but what else can I do?  Canning some pie filling would actually be a wonderful way to enjoy summertime berries-what a great gift for yourself during the holidays.

The following is a recipe to make 1 quart of berry pie filling or enough for 1 pie- I figured that it would be all you could bear to set aside!


4 cup mixed berries-whatever you have left!
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Clear Jel (*see note below)
1 cup cold water
3 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange zest

Wash berries and remove any damaged parts as well as any stems.  If you have blueberries in your bunch, blanch them for a minute in boiling water. Stir sugar and Clear Jel together in a non-reactive pot. Add water and cook on medium-high until you see the mixture thicken and it begins to bubble a little. Add lemon juice and boil for a minute more. Fold in the berries and zest and turn off heat. Prepare jar and lid for canning. Fill with about 1 inch headspace, remove air bubbles and clean rim of jar. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Once sealed, it can be kept in a cool dry place for about a year at peak flavor (but why would you want to wait that long),.opened, the filling lasts almost a month in the fridge.

*what the heck is Clear Jel?? Clear Jel a modified corn starch that can withstand the heat of cooking/canning. Unfortunately, not too many places have it on the shelves, but as the food preservation movement grows, hopefully that will change.  For now you can find it on-line here and here for starters. There are conversions out there that substitute tapioca flour or cornstarch for Clear Jel, but the heat stability for them might not work-you may end up with something watery. Personally I would suggest this only if you are NOT planning to process the filling-which just means you have to eat it sooner (not a bad problem to have actually).

Any questions, I am usually available at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market once a month!