Canning Blueberry Pie Filling | Tutorial

This complete guide for blueberry canned pie filling is an easy and simple way to preserve the taste of summer all year round. Enjoy having a ready supply of fresh, homemade pie filling that captures the vibrant flavor and nutrition of blueberries at their peak. Canning blueberries into a yummy pie filling is one of our favorite ways to preserve blueberries.

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of fruit pies. I’ll eat them, and I like them warm rather than cold, but they’re never my go-to if other choices exist. Now, cobblers and crisps? Those are totally my jam.

Bowl of blueberry pie filling, with jars of blueberries in the background and blueberries scattered next to the bowl.

Why You’ll Love Having Blueberry Canned Pir Filling on Your Pantry Shelf:

  • Versatile: It is delicious in pies, as a filling in cupcakes, cobblers, crisps, and tarts, and as a topping for ice cream. We also love a spoonful on our oatmeal or drizzled over pancakes and waffles.
  • Convenient: It’s always ready to go, saving you the hassle of making a fresh filling every time you crave a blueberry treat. Just grab a jar, and you’re set!
  • Rewarding: There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of enjoying your own home canned goods! I’ve been canning for 20 years, and that feeling never gets old.
Three jars of apple pie filling with some fresh blueberries laying next to them.

What Will I Need to Complete this Home-Canned Blueberry Pie Filling Recipe?

You will need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh blueberries (you can use thawed frozen blueberries as well)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Clear Jel
  • Nutmeg, and cinnamon (optional)
  • Bottled lemon juice (See FAQ at the end of this post)
  • Cold water
Overhead picture of blueberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, clear jel, and water.

You will need the following supplies:

  • Water bath canner or a large pot with a lid
  • Canning rack for bottom of the canner. It should have come with a rack if you recently purchased a water bath canner.
  • Canning jars
  • Canning lids and rings
  • Jar lifter and lid lifter magnet
  • Large, heavy-bottom stainless steel pot for cooking the jam.
  • Stirring Utensils
  • Ladle
  • Wide mouth canning funnel
  • Clean damp paper towel for wiping down rims and threads of jars
  • Clean kitchen towel
  • Measuring tools

What are the two primary canning techniques?

Water Bath Canning: This method is suitable for high-acid foods like fruits and pickled vegetables. It uses boiling water to create a vacuum seal. This is the method used for canning blueberry pie filling.

Pressure Canning: Necessary for low-acid foods like meats and vegetables. Pressure canning is required to reach between 240ºF and 250ºF in order to kill off any bacteria.

Before you get started:

This recipe is an adapted recipe from the NCHFP

Prepare your jars:

  • Wash rings and lids in hot, soapy water.
  • Wash jars in hot, soapy water or on a hot cycle in the dishwasher. According to the NHCFP, “Jars do not need to be sterilized before canning if they are filled with food and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes or more or if they will be processed in a pressure canner.”
  • Jars must be hot when filled with blueberry pie filling. To keep them hot, you can keep them in a clean sink of hot water or in the hot water of your water bath canner.

Prepare your space:

  • Fill canner 1/2-2/3 full with water, add to stove burner, and turn on medium-high heat. Add a canning rack hook handles to the side of the canner so you can add jars before lowering the full rack into water for processing.
  • Gather your lids and rings (do they need to be softened? Check the box the lids came in when purchased for instructions. Some require softening in simmering water for a few minutes, others don’t)
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients and tools you need. (See supply and ingredient list above)
  • Clean your work surfaces well.

How to Can Blueberry Pie Filling:

Prepare the blueberries

Clean and rinse blueberries well, and remove any sticks or bad blueberries.

Blanch blueberries by adding them to a pot of boiling water, no more than 6 cups at a time. Once the water returns to a boil, let them boil for 1 minute. Remove the berries and place them into a bowl or another pot. If you’re working with a larger quantity, you may need to do this in batches, using about 6 cups of blueberries at a time. Keep the blanched blueberries warm in a covered pot while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling

Combine sugar and clear jel in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot and whisk together.

Before and after images of whisking dry ingredients together.

Whisk in cold water until everything is combined.

Before and after picture of adding water to dry ingredients, and then of everything whisked together.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously. Once it thickens and starts bubbling, add the bottled lemon juice and continue boiling for one minute while whisking continuously. Use your muscles! 🙂

When time is up, turn off the heat and add the warm blueberries, stir until mixture and blueberries are well incorporated.

Before and after picture of thickened filling, and then all the blueberries mixed in.

Fill your jars

Fill jars promptly with hot pie filling. Working with 1-2 jars at a time, ladle pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends 1 inch, but I usually leave just a tad over 1 inch (1 1/8 inch -1 1/4 inch) because pie fillings always expand and ooze out of my jars. 

Then debubble jars using a plastic or wooden utensil. Chopsticks or the headspace measuring tool work great. Remove any air bubbles and add or remove pie filling to maintain proper headspace.

Wipe down the jar rims with a damp, clean paper towel, ensuring no sticky pie filling is on them. Add lids to the top of the jars, add the rings, and tighten the finger tight.

Process jars

Add filled jars to the water canner, ensuring 1-2 inches of water covers the top of the jars. Process jars according to your elevation, see below.

Processing times for Pints/Quarts
0-1,000 ft – 30 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 ft – 35 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 ft – 40 minutes
Above 6,000 ft – 45 minutes

Processing time starts when the water reaches a full boil.

Once processing time is up, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner. This helps the jars settle a little before being taken out, which helps with siphoning. When 5 minutes is up, carefully remove the jars with the jar lifter and place them on a clean kitchen towel. Space them about 2 inches apart for proper cooling. Leave them on the counter, away from cool drafts, for 12-24 hours.

​After jars are cooled for the proper amount of time, remove rings and wipe down jars, removing any leaked pie filling and hard water spots. Label jars, and they are ready for your shelf!

If you love this blueberry pie filling, you might also like our Spiced Christmas Jam!

Canned blueberry pie filling in canning jars with blueberries laying next to it.

FAQs

How do I store my home-canned blueberry pie filling?

Once the jars are wiped down and cleaned, store them on a shelf in a cool, dark place. Exposure to heat and sunlight will break down food quality faster, while proper storage will result in a longer shelf-life. Store blueberry pie filling on a shelf in a cool, dark place. 

How long do home canned foods last?

Using your home-canned food within one year is recommended for optimal nutrition. However, if there are no signs of spoilage and a good seal is still present, it can last longer. The nutritional value does go down over time. Use and rotate your food to avoid spoilage and food waste.

Is it ok to use cornstarch instead of clear jel?

While cornstarch has been used in years past, it is not an approved thickening agent for canning. According to the Illinois extension office “Other thickeners like cornstarch clump when canning and may interfere with heat being able to reach throughout the jar. Without heat penetrating throughout the jar, yeast, mold, or other harmful bacteria can form.”

Can I use fresh lemon juice instead of bottled?

When water bath canning, a specific pH level is required to ensure the safety of the food and prevent it from spoiling on the shelf. The acidity level of fresh lemons can vary, whereas bottled lemon juice is uniformly acidified. This consistent acidity helps prevent foodborne illnesses and bacteria from forming in the jar when canned properly.

Can I use frozen blueberries instead of fresh fruit?

Yes, you can use frozen blueberries instead of fresh ones. Just make sure to thaw and heat them before using. Follow the same directions as you would with fresh blueberries, and you’ll get great results.

Canning Blueberry Pie Filling

Ingredients

Make 4-5 pints

  • 10 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/4 cup + 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons Clear Jel
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Make 7 quarts

  • 6 quarts blueberries
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup Clear Jel
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice

Instructions

  • Clean and rinse blueberries well, and remove any sticks or bad blueberries.
  • water returns to a boil, let them boil for 1 minute. Remove the berries and place them into a bowl or another pot. If you’re working with a larger quantity, you may need to do this in batches, using about 6 cups of blueberries at a time. Keep the blanched blueberries warm in a covered pot while you prepare the filling.
  • Combine sugar and clear jel in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot and whisk together.
  • Whisk in cold water until everything is combined.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously. Once it thickens and starts bubbling, add the bottled lemon juice and continue boiling for one minute while whisking continuously.
  • When time is up, turn off the heat and add the warm blueberries, stir until mixture and blueberries are well incorporated.
  • Fill jars promptly with hot pie filling. Working with 1-2 jars at a time, ladle pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends 1 inch, but I usually leave just a tad over 1 inch (1 1/8 inch -1 1/4 inch) because pie fillings always expand and ooze out of my jars. 
  • Then debubble jars using a plastic or wooden utensil. Chopsticks or the headspace measuring tool work great. Remove any air bubbles and add or remove pie filling to maintain proper headspace.
  • Wipe down the jar rims with a damp, clean paper towel, ensuring no sticky pie filling is on them. Add lids to the top of the jars, add the rings, and tighten the finger tight.
  • Add filled jars to the water canner, ensuring 1-2 inches of water covers the top of the jars. Process jars according to your elevation, see notes below.

Notes

Processing times for Pints/Quarts
0-1,000 ft – 30 minutes
1,001 – 3,000 ft – 35 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 ft – 40 minutes
Above 6,000 ft – 45 minutes

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