Tuesday, September 06, 2011

More canning questions - this time pie filling

I want to can blueberry pie filling. Instead of just canning endless jars of jam. But all recipes are either freezer recipes which call for cornstarch, which I don't want because I don't have that big of a freezer, or canning recipes that call for a modified starch called Clear Jel. Some research has established for me that there is no substitute for Clear Jel. Corn starch, tapioca, and other similar things will not work because of the high temperatures of water bath canning.

But what if I just leave out the Clear Jel/starch entirely? What if I just can the pie filling with all of the other ingredients and then when I want to bake a pie with it, I just add corn starch like I would if I were making a blueberry pie in blueberry season? (The purpose of the corn starch, for readers who don't know, is a thickener so that the soupy berries don't make the bottom crust too soggy or worse, leak through and make a mess. You need this with soupy fruits like blueberries, but not with apples.)

Any answers you have are much appreciated! And for those who answered my questions about tomatoes, I haven't canned those yet. We made salsa and dehydrated tomatoes with the first two boxes, and now I'm waiting for the third box to fully ripen (and to get rid of all these blueberries) before I attempt pressure canning tomatoes and/or making catsup. I don't know why but I have a very strong urge to make and can catsup. I don't really know if catsup is different from ketchup, by the way, but I feel like I see the homemade one spelled "catsup" more often so that is how I want to spell my homemade kind. I don't even eat normal ketchup that much, but something about the recipe in the unfortunately titled Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving has enchanted and transfixed me.

But isn't that a terrible title for a cookbook? Surely I am not the only cook who, because the book is actually blue, keeps calling it, with no comedy intended, the Blue Ball Book.

It's not just me, is it?

Or is the West Coast version called the Kerr Blue Book instead?

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