Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blueberries 101

Today has been one of those days.  Those days where nothing seems to go quite right. Things you've done a million times before (and a million more in your head) and it still just seems to disappoint. 

For starters.  Blueberries.  I have a love/hate relationship with these tiny little suckers.  They're like a hundred bucks for a handful, North Carolina doesn't seem to believe in carrying canned blueberries on their shelves and the fresh ones they do have on hand.. are no longer blue.  More white than anything, those grossberries.  So, I took it upon myself to can my own.  Now, I won't go saying I'm a prodigy at canning or anything, but I have canned a few things in the past.  So what could go wrong, you ask?  Absolutely everything.  I was only able to purchase 2 pints of blueberries because of the price... after sorting through the moldy ones, I was left with approximately a pint left.  All this work to can 1 pint of stinkin' blueberries.  I also had complications during the canning process, so all-in-all, I was as petrified as could be when pulling my finished jar from the hot bath.  I held the tongs so far out in front of me because in my mind, my jar was going to explode right then and there, because even if I didn't do anything wrong, I felt like I had.  And why did I want these canned blueberries so bad anyway?  Because they are absolutely delicious in cereal.  That's it.  That's the only reason.  I want canned blueberries for my cereal.  Fresh ones just don't cut it for me.  They don't turn my milk blue.

So now, that couldn't have been the only thing to make my day "one of those days".  And it wasn't.  I tend to think I have a bit of an artistic side to me, and I don't particularly like things to be simple.  I wanted to create a cute label for my blueberries.  And why not?  I canned apple butter and peach chutney last year and while cleaning out the chutney jars that weren't being eaten as quickly as I had hoped, I had poured out my apple butter as well.. because nothing was labeled.  I wanted labels.  I needed labels.  Well, a label.  I had in my mind the perfect label - so cute - so creative.  I headed straight for Michaels, the craft store guru of them all.  They had no labels.  Not one.  Zilch.  So I made due with some scrapbooking supplies. *Sigh*

Finally, after finishing canning & labeling, it was picture time.  Except my camera was dead.  Go figure.

Next time, I think I might just beg my mom to spend the $5 and send me a can in the mail.  It'd at least save me the headache.  In the meantime, and hopefully I didn't scare you away from canned blueberries, use this recipe to can your own:

Home-Canned Blueberries
Canned blueberries are delicious and I especially like mine spooned over top of whole grain cereal and milk.  The processing of canning the blueberries is simple and the same process can be used for raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, mulberries, elderberries and currants.  You, however, can not can strawberries using these directions because strawberries are too soft of a fruit.  The recipe below is for 1 canned pint of blueberries.  If you are planing on canning more than one pint, or even canning quarts of blueberries, alter the recipe accordingly.

- 1 tbsp lemon juice per pint jar
- 2 1/2 c fresh blueberries
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 c water

First, wash your jar and lid to sanitize them.  The best way to do this is to run them through the dish washer.  Place the jar in the oven (that has been set to a "warm" setting - or about 120F) and place the lid in a saucepan filled with water (but do not allow this water to boil).  Meanwhile, fill your canning bath full of water (you need about an inch above the jars when they are placed in the bath) and bring to a boil.

Wash the berries and sort through them, picking out all the stems, mushy berries and moldy berries.  It's easier to do this if you place them in a large bowl of water and slide your hands through them.  You'll be able to feel the mushy berries between your fingers and spot the moldy ones.  Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan.  Heat on med/high and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the water in the canning bath is at a rolling boil, you can start your canning process.  Pull the jar out of the oven and place 1 tbsp of lemon juice in the bottom.  Add your blueberries to the jar and tap the jar on the countertop to help pack them in there. Add the hot syrup (water and sugar mixture) to the jar leaving a 1/4" to 1/2" headspace and wipe any spills off the rim of the jar.

Use your magnetic lid lifter to take the lid out of the hot water and place it on the jar.  Tighten the ring around the lid and place the jar on the rack in the canner.  Lower the rack, close the lid to the canner, and allow 15 minutes to process. (20 minutes if you decide to use quart jars.)

When the 15 minutes are over, remove the jar and allow it to cool in a draft free area without bumping or touching it.  This usually takes overnight, but I try to be safe and wait an entire 24 hours.  Once cooled, your blueberries are ready to be stored.


Post a Comment

Facebook Favorites More