Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mixing it Up - Mixed Berry Pie Filling

Mixed berries and cherries
One of my favorite items to can during the summer is pie filling. There's something so satisfying about capturing the season's freshest ingredients and storing them away - then bringing them out on a fall or winter's evening when everyone least expects it. Imagine the oohs and ahhs when you conjure up an amazing summer berry pie long after the last of the berries has been picked. Mmm! Makes my mouth water just writing about it.

Just when I was gearing up for a berry pie extravaganza, a box of goodies arrived from Mrs. Wages. Those of you who have canned before will be familiar with their variety of products ranging from salsa and tomato sauce mixes to make-it-easy packets for pickles and relishes. In that box was something I'd never seen in stores before, a pie filling mix for something they call Forest Berry Pie. The timing couldn't have been better and since they asked me to try out some of their items, I thought I'd start with that.
The package shows a mix of cherries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sounds good to me! The process was easy. Wash and drain the fruit. Pit the cherries (of course!) and blanch them for 1 minute. Prepare the jars, lids and canner. So far, so good.
The next step was also quite easy. I added the recommended amount of juice or water (I chose juice) and sugar to the contents of the package and heated in a large stainless steel pot until the sugar was dissolved and the mixture thickened. Remove from the heat, fold in the berries/cherries and you're done. Into the sterilized jars and the water bath, easy as..."pie!" Sorry, I couldn't resist.
The mix makes three quarts of pie filling and once you have those, the options are pretty varied. Besides pie, you could use these lovely jars of berries to make cobbler, spoon over ice cream, angel food or pound cake, or even make a yummy yogurt parfait. My husband enjoyed the little bit extra that wouldn't fit in the jars right out of the fridge as dessert one evening with some whipped cream.

I'd never used a mix to make pie filling before, but I'd have to say it was a fast and easy way to put three more jars of filling on my pantry shelves in pretty short order. All in all, this mix is a welcome addition, especially when you've got a bunch of great-looking berries but not a lot of time. This is a new product, but you should be able to find it in the canning section of your local store now. If not, head over to to find out where to buy it or to order online.

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