Turn summer’s berry bounty into something yummy! Homemade blueberry pie filling is so simple to make and even easier to preserve for a rainy day.
Summer is by far my favorite season. More daylight. Warmer temps. NO SCHOOL! And fresh berries everywhere …
Little Brother has become obsessed with blueberries, so lately I find myself having them on hand a lot. Recently I was asked to make a blueberry jello salad that called for a can of blueberry pie filling. Instead of buying the canned stuff, I decided to try making my own from scratch. It was surprisingly easy and so, so delicious.
How to make blueberry pie filling
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries to make blueberry pie filling. If using frozen, you don’t even have to thaw them. Simply dump them in a medium saucepan with some sugar and turn the heat up to medium. As the berries heat up, the sugar will cause them to become soft and release their juices.
In a small bowl, whisk together some lemon juice and cornstarch. Use bottled lemon juice here, I’ll explain why in a minute. After the blueberries have cooked for about minutes, add the cornstarch-lemon juice mixture and cinnamon.
Let your blueberries cook for about five more minutes. You will notice it start to thicken. Remove the filling from the heat. As it stands, it will continue to thicken.
How to use blueberry pie filling
At this point, you can dump your blueberry pie filling straight into a pie crust and bake it. But why stop there? Here are a few more ideas:
- Eat it with a spoon straight from the pan. I may or may not have done this …
- Use it as a topping for oatmeal.
- Mix it into vanilla yogurt.
- Pour it over pancakes or waffles instead of syrup.
- Use it as a topping for homemade ice cream.
- Pour it over homemade biscuits for breakfast.
- Make an awesome blueberry jello salad.
How to store blueberry pie filling
As you can see, there are tons of ways to use blueberry pie filling. But if you don’t want to use it right away, there are ways to save it for a rainy day.
Blueberry pie filling can be store in a covered container in the fridge for about 4-5 days. At that point, you will either need to freeze it or can it.
You can freeze blueberry pie filling one of two ways. First, you can fill a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag half way with the mixture. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, zip the bag up tight, then lay it flat in your freezer until frozen solid. I like to lay it flat so it doesn’t take up as much room in your freezer. Let the filling thaw before using.
If you know without a doubt you’ll be using your filling for pie, I like this technique from Alton Brown. Line a pie plate with aluminum foil, pour your filling into the foil lined plate, then freeze overnight. After your blueberry pie filling is frozen, you can pop it out and store it in plastic wrap. Whenever you get a hankering for pie, you don’t even have to thaw. Just pop it in a pie crust and bake.
But … y’all know I prefer canning to freezing. You can preserve this filling using the water bath canning method, meaning you don’t have to use a pressure canner. However, this is why I recommend using bottled lemon juice instead of fresh. You need some acidity to prevent bacteria from forming. Bottled lemon juice has a more consistent acidity level than fresh.
While the blueberry pie filling is still warm, ladle the filling into clean and sterilized glass pint mason jars. You want to leave one inch of headspace (the amount of room between the top of the filling and the rim of the jar). Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp cloth.
Fill a tall stockpot with enough water to cover the jars with at least one inch of water. Bring the water to a boil. In the meantime, top each jar with a lid and a ring. Screw the ring just on just until you feel some resistance. Don’t force it on any tighter.
Once the water is boiling, gently place the jars in the pot. Bring the water back to a boil, then set your timer for 30 minutes. After the jars have processed for 30 minutes, remove them from the pot and allow them to cool. When they have cooled completely, test the lids to make sure they don’t give when you press them. Remove the rings from the jars. Blueberry pie filling should last for up to one year.
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Blueberry Pie Filling
- 6 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine blueberries and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cook until blueberries become soft and start to release their juices, about 10 minutes.
- Combine the lemon juice and cornstarch. Pour into the blueberries.
- Stir in the cinnamon.
- Continue to simmer until the juices begin to thicken, approximately five minutes.
- Remove filling from the heat. Pie filling will continue to thicken as it cools.