I’ve never canned blueberries. In fact, I’ve never done much with blueberries besides popping them in my mouth one at a time and savoring their perfect fruitiness. But last weekend, we picked over 15 lbs of blueberries (what were we thinking?!) Besides just freezing them, I wanted to can them.
I have had dreams of making blueberry syrup (for cocktails of course- though I rarely drink them) and blueberry jam to spread on toast and enjoy with a cup of coffee while the leaves fall. I perused my trusty Blue Book and found a recipe for blueberry syrup. Essentially a blueberry simple syrup; thin, light, and sweet. I also found a few links online with recipes to utilize the left over blueberries to make a spread. Best of both worlds!
So I opened all of the windows, whipped out all of my canning goodies, and turned up some music. The canning process went surprisingly smooth and the final product is amazing! Think of the possibilities, blueberry rum-i-ritas, vodka martinis, lemon-blueberry ice cream, some homemade waffles with blueberry spread on top… the list will grow. Keep an eye out for some recipes in the future.
makes 3 pints
2 quarts (8 cups) fresh blueberries, rinsed
6 cups water
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups sugar (I used 2.5 cups- I like it less sweet)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1. In a large pot, combine the blueberries, the lemon zest, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
2. Remove from heat and pour into a mesh strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth. Let it drip into a bowl for two hours under its own weight. Set the blueberries aside if you plan on making the spread.
3. Fire up the canning bath to sterilize the jars and lids. Keep in the water until ready to use.
4. Combine the remaining 4 cups of water and sugar and bring to a boil up to 230°F until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the strained blueberry juice, bring back to a boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
5. Pour the sauce into the warm, sterilized, jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rim and place the sterilized lid on the jar. Tighten the band lightly. Drop into the water bath and process for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude if needed). Check the lids in 24-hours to ensure they are processed properly. Usually you can hear the lids pop while they are cooling. Tighten the band all the way and store in a cool, dark place for a year. (I believe up to two years, but the flavor may decrease as it sits).
makes 1 pint plus
8 cups reduced blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1. Combine everything but the lemon juice. Heat over medium heat until simmering and let it reduce until it starts splattering (it may make a little mess).
2. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour into a sterilized pint jar and process for 10 minutes. I poured the extra in another pint jar to freeze and use later… or maybe to use this weekend!