How to Make Absolutely Delicious Blackberry Pie Filling

This easy recipe for blackberry pie filling is a delicious way to capture summer in a jar. I’ll show you how to make a beautiful and sweet-tart filling perfect for pies, cobblers, or even pouring over ice cream. Using clear jel instead of cornstarch is important to make sure you get a thick and stable filling that won’t break down.

With a few simple steps, you can enjoy the sweet taste of berries all year long. Even beginners can make this waterbath canning recipe.

Jars of blackberry pie filling next to a bowl of fresh blackberries, ready for canning.

Blackberry Pie Filling

This recipe offers a simple way to preserve the fresh, vibrant taste of blackberries, perfect for making pies, tarts, or using as a topping for various desserts.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serving Size 4 quarts

Equipment

  • 8-10 quart stockpot
  • strainer (optional)
  • Jar lifter
  • Funnel
  • Ladle
  • chopstick (used to as a debubbler)
  • lids and rings
  • Towel

Ingredients 

  • 16 cups or 4 quarts blackberries fresh or previously frozen (see notes)
  • 4 ⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups clear jel
  • 4 ⅓ cups water (or reserved liquid from frozen blackberries)
  • cup lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Prep berries. If you are starting with frozen blackberries, allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. The next day place the blackberries in a colander over a bowl and allow the blackberries to drain, reserving the juice of the blackberries.
  • Prep canning supplies. Wash your jars with hot soapy water.Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water and allowing the jars to be fully submerged in water. Place over medium heat, covered and allow to simmer. Place the lids and rings in a pot of water and simmer on low.
  • Combine sugar and clear gel. In a large bowl combine the sugar and clear jel together. Set aside.
    Mixing clear jel and sugar in a bowl for blackberry pie filling.
  • Mix with liquid. In a large pot add the water or reserved berry liquid. (If when thawing your berries you do not get enough liquid, add water until it equals 4 ⅓ cups liquid) Add the sugar and clear jel mixture to the large pot stir to fully combine.
    Cooking blackberry pie filling mixture in a large pot with bubbling liquid.
  • Heat until thickened. Set to medium heat, stirring constantly and allow the mixture to thicken and start to bubble. The mixture will become thick and if you are not stirring constantly it will stick to the bottom of the pot.
    Stages of thickening blackberry pie filling from liquid to thick in a pot.
  • Add lemon juice and boil. Add lemon juice and stir to fully combine. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add berries. Remove from the heat and fold in the blackberries.
    Adding blackberries to the thickened pie filling mixture in a pot.
  • Fill jars. Ladle the blackberry pie filling into the prepared jars. You will want to leave 1 ¼” heat space to prevent oozing.Using a chopstick, remove any bubbles. A wooden or plastic chopstick works better than a standard debubbler to prevent breaking up the blackberries.
    Filling jars with blackberry pie filling using a funnel and debubbling with a chopstick.
  • Wipe and add lids and rings. Wipe jars using a moist paper towel (water or white vinegar will work) making sure that the rims are fully clean. Add lids and rings.
    Cleaning jar rims and placing lids on filled jars of blackberry pie filling.
  • Process. Process in your water bath canner for 30 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Once done, turn off the heat, remove the lid of the canner and allow the jars to rest inside the canner for 10 minutes.
    Jars of blackberry pie filling in a water bath canner and a jar being lifted out.
  • Cool and check seals. Remove from the canner and allow them to cool. Let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Check the seal, once a seal has been confirmed, remove the ring and store in a cool dark place for up to 18 months.
    Sealed jars of blackberry pie filling cooling on a towel.

Notes

This recipe used previously frozen blackberries. I recommend this so you can use the reserved blackberry juice giving the pie filling a better flavor.
Make sure not to overfill the jars, the pie filling will ooze if overfilled. 
Allowing the jars to rest in the water bath canner for 10 minutes helps prevent the pie filling from oozing.
Nutrition info is for an entire quart, which you obviously will not eat!  
Calories: 4602kcal | Carbohydrates: 1157g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 3835mg | Fiber: 122g | Sugar: 1046g | Vitamin A: 4935IU | Vitamin C: 515mg | Calcium: 713mg | Iron: 15mg

I absolutely love this recipe! Every summer, my kitchen is filled with the sweet aroma of simmering blackberries, and it brings back such happy memories. There’s something so satisfying about preserving those beautiful berries to enjoy all year long. Whether we’re making a classic pie or just spooning it over ice cream, it’s always a treat.

Top view of an open jar of homemade blackberry pie filling, surrounded by fresh blackberries.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Blackberry Pie Filling Tips

  • Use Fresh Berries if Possible: Fresh blackberries provide the best flavor and texture. If using frozen, ensure they are fully thawed and drained.
  • Sterilize Your Jars: Even though it’s not in the recipe, sterilizing your jars before filling them ensures they are clean and safe for long-term storage.
  • Constant Stirring is Key: When thickening the filling, stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. A heavy-bottomed pot can help distribute heat evenly.
  • Debubbling: Removing air bubbles is crucial. Use a wooden or plastic chopstick to avoid breaking the berries and ensure a smooth filling.
  • Label and Date Your Jars: This helps keep track of their shelf life, so you always use the oldest batch first.

Key Ingredients and Tools

Here are some important and unusual tools and ingredients for making Blackberry Pie Filling. Knowing more about these items can help you achieve the best results.

Ingredients for blackberry pie filling, including blackberries, sugar, clear jel, lemon juice, and reserved blackberry juice.
  • Clear Jel. This is a special thickener that can withstand high temperatures and acidic foods, making it perfect for pie fillings. You can find it online or at specialty baking stores.
  • Water Bath Canner. Essential for safe canning, this large pot allows you to fully submerge jars in water to process them. It ensures the pie filling is preserved correctly.
  • Jar Lifter. This tool makes it easy to lift hot jars out of boiling water, preventing burns and spills. It’s a must-have for any canning project.
  • Chopstick. Used to remove air bubbles from the jars before sealing, a wooden or plastic chopstick is gentle on the berries and helps maintain their shape.
  • Lemon Juice. Bottled lemon juice is preferred for consistent acidity levels, which is important for safe canning.

These tools and ingredients will make the process smoother and help ensure your pie filling turns out perfectly.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, or make a homemade pie crust and bake into a pie.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use cornstarch instead of clear jel?

I wouldn’t recommend it. Cornstarch can break down under high heat and with acidic ingredients, which might leave you with a runny filling. Clear jel is designed to handle these conditions, so it’s worth getting for the best results.

What if I don’t have a water bath canner?

No worries! You can use a large pot with a lid. Just make sure it’s deep enough to fully submerge your jars in water with at least an inch of water covering the tops.

How do I know if my jars are sealed properly?

After the jars have cooled for 12-24 hours, press the center of each lid. If it doesn’t pop back, it’s sealed. If it does, you’ll need to reprocess the jar or refrigerate and use it soon.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe?

Reducing the sugar might affect the texture and preservation of the filling. If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, you might want to look for a recipe specifically designed for that.

How long should I let the pie filling sit before using it?

You can use it as soon as it’s fully cooled and sealed, but it’s best after a week or so. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. 

Storing Leftovers

Canned Storage:

  • Cool and Check Seals: After processing, let the jars cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Press the center of each lid to ensure it’s sealed properly. If the lid doesn’t pop back, it’s sealed.
  • Remove Rings: Once sealed, remove the rings to prevent rusting.
  • Store: Place the jars in a cool, dark place. They will keep for up to 18 months.

Freezing:

  • Not Recommended: Freezing is not recommended for this recipe as the texture and consistency of the pie filling may be compromised.

Refrigeration:

  • Short-term Use: If you have an unsealed jar or want to use the filling within a few weeks, store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Properly storing your blackberry pie filling ensures it stays delicious and safe to eat. Enjoy your homemade treat whenever you like!

Making your own pie filling is a rewarding and enjoyable process. With just a few simple steps and some basic tools, you can create a delicious filling that captures the fresh taste of summer.

Close-up of jars filled with homemade blackberry pie filling, with fresh blackberries on the side.
How to Make Absolutely Delicious Blackberry Pie Filling

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