The process is easy, but does require a special ingredient, clear jel which is also known as Perma Flo or Therma Flo. This is a thickening agent that is used in place of cornstarch or flour when the home canning process is being use. Neither cornstarch or flour are shelf stable, and will break down in a very short time in home canned goods, and therefore should not be used. The clear jel….make sure it is the cook type….will thicken without the breaking down of the other two agents. I purchase mine at local Amish stores. It can also be ordered online. Other than that, most people will have the ingredients necessary for canning pie filling in their kitchens. The simple recipe can be found here. I will walk you through step by step below.
Gather the following ingredients:
6 quarts sliced peaches
7 cups sugar
2 cups + 3 TBS Clear Jel (cook type)
5 1/2 cups cold water or peach juice
3 TBS + 1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp cinnamon OR 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
I prefer to omit either of the last two ingredients in favor of my family’s traditional flavor, bu that is strictly a personal preference.
Mix together sugar, Clear Jel and citric acid. (mixing now helps prevent lumping and aids in thorough mixing with less forceful stirring. Add dry mixture to the Juice/water and mix thoroughly. Heat on medium heat, stirring frequently as sugar is melting, then constantly as mixture thickens. As mixtures begins to bubble it will be extremely thick.
Turn off heat and fold in peaches, mixing to ensure peaches are all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Ladle into clean, warm quart jars. Place lids and rings and tighten finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 30 minutes. Remove from canner and set on a towel or wooden cutting board to cool. Check for seal. This recipe yields 7 quarts.
I hope you will venture into the realm of home canned pie fillings. I don’t think you will be disappointed with the ease, versatility or taste. If you do, be sure to drop me a note and let me know what kind you did and how you use it.