My cousin recently deployed to Afghanistan, hence all the military posts I’ve written over the last couple of months. This one is a little different.
One thing my cousin said before he left was that he was really going to miss my sister’s pies. She’s been experimenting with all kinds of pies over the last year, and my cousin’s family has been the recipient of more than a few of her delicacies. Upon learning of his impending deployment, she immediately began plotting a way to get a pie to Afghanistan.
It takes around two months to get to his outpost, during which time a normal pie would spoil. The words “fragile” or “this side up” don’t really mean anything to the military postal service, so on the off chance the pie didn’t spoil, it would not look anything remotely pie-ish upon arrival. So we needed something sturdy, shippable, and tasty. Canned pie filling was the solution.
There’s no refrigeration available, so it would have to be eaten in one sitting, thus the jars would have to be small. And the cookies sent along with the filling–used to scoop out and eat the filling–would have to be store-bought because they’re much more resistant to spoiling (she went with Lorna Doones shortbread cookies). Here’s how she did it.
Mix sugar and starch together, add to water in pot. Heat until it turns to goop, add lemon juice. Boil for 1 min, fold in berries (thawed if previously frozen). Fill jars to within a half inch of the top, process jars immediately.
Recipe- Makes 1 Qt.
3.5 C Berries (other than blueberries)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 C Sugar
.25 C Clear Jel Starch
1.33 C Water
Processing times can be found on the USDA website. I over-processed mine because safety is a huge priority because of where they are going.
So far she’s made and sent marionberry jars, but she also just finished strawberry rhubarb and Bing cherry. The shipping was only about $13. The trick is to send it in a priority box. When my sister took her pre-packed box to the post office, the postman said that he could send it as is for about $60, or priority for about $13. Easy choice. They all arrived unbroken and unspoiled.
If you don’t have a friend of family member in the service and you want to try this out anyway, head over to anysoldier.com. They have instructions and FAQs for sending packages for soldiers serving all over the world. Let us know what you make and where you send it!