I enjoy this time of year because the days are longer, and I can typically spend more time outdoors. I also enjoy this time of year because I know I will soon get to eat all kinds of fresh fruits. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries… We are fortunate to live in Ohio where we have access to a large assortment of fresh, local fruits! If you are curious about which fruits and vegetables are in season in Ohio, check out the Ohio Farm Bureau’s “What’s in Season” webpage at ofbf.org/whats-in-season.
If you are like me, you might end up with way more fruit than you can possibly eat before it goes bad. Naturally, you can share the bounty with others, but what happens if you still have fruit left over? Instead of letting it become a gross food experiment on the countertop or in the back of the refrigerator, consider preserving it – freeze, dry, can – or make a pie! Did you know Ohio State University Extension has a variety of factsheets on home food preservation? If you are interested in learning more about preserving foods through methods like canning, drying, and freezing check out ohioline.osu.edu
Ohioline even has an entire factsheet on preserving pie filling. Canning or freezing premade pie filling is an easy way to save the delicious flavors of spring and summer for later enjoyment. In fact, you can make and freeze an entire fruit pie for up to four months in an airtight container. Michigan State University gives this guidance on freezing fruit pies:
- It is easier to freeze a fruit pie before baking it but if you already have a baked pie that is frozen, thaw the pie at room temperature for about three hours then crisp the pie at 450°F for about 20 minutes.
- Freeze fruit pie filling to be placed in a crust later by preparing the filling as usual and adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour per pie. Line a pie pan with foil, pour the filling into the pan, and freeze until firm. Lift the filling out of the pan and seal in an airtight wrap. Use within four months.
- When making fruit pies to freeze and bake later add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour to the filling, then put a small amount of flour in the bottom of the pie shell before adding the filling. Place the pie on a tray and freeze until firm. Wrap the pie in foil or another airtight wrapping. Use within four months.
- When baking a frozen pie, do not thaw it! Instead, place on a baking tray and bake at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn down to 350°F until done. Total baking time is at least 20 minutes longer than directions for the unfrozen pie. Remember, this only applies to pies that were not previously baked. See guidance above if the pie was baked then frozen.
If you are interested in learning more about home food preservation, check out Ohio State University Extension’s free food preservation basics webinar series on Tuesdays from 4 to 5pm. June 1st will cover the topic of pressure canning, June 15th will cover the topic of freezing, and June 29th will cover the topic of drying. You can register for these online programs at go.osu.edu/Summer2021FoodPreservationBasics
If you have a pressure canner and plan to use it, keep in mind the USDA recommends pressure canners with dial gauges should be tested for accuracy each year to ensure safe home food preservation. Wayne County Extension is offering pressure canner testing appointments at the Wayne County Fairgrounds from 3 to 6pm on June 9 and July 7. During each 15-minute appointment, the pressure canner dial gauge will be tested against a calibrated master gauge for accuracy. We will also do a safety check on the canner and the Extension educator will be happy to answer your food preservation questions. You can register for an appointment at go.osu.edu/2021CannerTestingWayne.
Sara Meeks is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Program Assistant and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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