I love having a few jars of pie filling in the pantry. They're perfect for quick desserts and breakfasts. Just open them up, sprinkle on a crisp-type topping and pop it in the oven. I love that.
The past couple of years, I've made and canned pie filling with corn starch. It worked fine - for a few months. After about 6 months, the filling starts to separate and get a bit clumpy and watery. It's fine when you stir it up, but it's not exactly a paragon of shelf stability.
[I always wanted to use the word 'paragon' to describe pie filling and now I have. I'm so glad I can check that off my bucket list.]
The National Center for Home Food Preservation doesn't recommend using corn starch in canned pie filling. In case you wondered.
They recommend Clear Gel. Which is great, but we can't get that around here. What we can get is Perma Flo, so I looked it up. The NCHFP hasn't done any research on it and they categorically recommend against anything they themselves haven't researched.
So, of course, I had to try it. My local Amish place loves it and that's all they use. Perma Flo is the same stuff as Therm Flo, so look/ask for both. Your local place might have one or the other.
Basically, you whisk up the Perma Flo into the boiling liquid [water, juice, etc.], let it start getting thick and then add the fruit and sugar. Bring it to a boil, put in jars and process quarts for 30 minutes.
Blackberry Pie Filling with Perma Flo
1 gallon blackberries
3 quarts water
1 cup rounded Perma Flo
3 cups sugar
Step 1. Bring the liquid to a boil. There was none in my gallon of berries, so I put 3 quarts of water in a pot and 1 quart of the berries and brought that to a boil. I mashed the berries while I was at it to release the juices.
Step 2. Whisk in the Perma Flo. I used 1/4 cup per quart of fruit. 1 gallon of berries needed 1 cup of Perma Flo. I rounded the cup.
Step 3. Stir until it starts to thicken. It took a few minutes.
Step 4. Add fruit [the rest of the gallon of berries], sugar [3 cups] and return to boil.
Step 5. Put in clean jars, wipe rims, top with clean lids and rings.
Step 6. Process jars for 30 minutes. The NCHFP recommends water bath canning.
Yield: 5.5 quarts of gorgeous blackberry pie filling.
It worked great! Tomorrow I'll tell you about the cherry pie filling.