Blueberries….mmmm. Among all berries,with it’s lively purple hue this is the best berry.
These tasty morsels contain high antioxidants and low calories. I buy blueberries when on sale or in season, because they can be pretty pricey. When in Dublin, a handful or more blueberries costed €4 from Superquinn. I got greedy when I saw 3lbs for less than $ 10 in Costco. This summer I bought tonnes and loaded a few freezer food bags full of berries for later use. It freezes well without destroying it’s flavonoid content.
I haven’t seen fresh blueberries in India. It is sold as jellies, jams or flavored squash. The frozen berries came in handy when I wanted to take something homemade from here to India. So I made bottles of blueberry preserve for my family – one for my mom and another one for my mom-in-law.
Yields 2 lbs of preserve
5 cups fresh/frozen Blueberries *frozen berries with no added sugar or sweetner.
3 1/2 cups granulated Sugar
1/2 small packet Pectin (that’s about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons) I used regular dry pectin (Krafts sure-jell premium fruit pectin). * Liquid and dry pectin are NOT interchangeable.
2 tablespoons fresh/ bottled Lemon juice
1/4 cup Water
Glass jars/bottles with lids for canning
Sort the berries by discarding soft or mushy ones. Pick out and remove bits of stem and leaves. Choose firm ripe berries for best flavor and set. Place the berries in a colander and wash under running water. Drain off the water.
Prepare the canning jars/bottles. Sanitize and sterilize the jars. I recycled pasta sauce bottles for canning the preserve. I sanitized the bottles in the dishwasher.
Then sterilize the bottles in boiling water at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for atleast 10 minutes. I left the jars in the dishwasher on ‘heated dry’ until the preserve was ready. Keep the jars/bottles hot until they are ready to be filled. The lids to the jars should be kept in a hot water until ready for use.
Put the berries in a big pot and crush/smash them to break the skin. I used a potato masher or gently pulse the berries in a food processor. Do not juice or puree the berries. We need fruit bits in the preserve if not the consistency will become like a jam.* Wear an apron to protect your clothes as blueberry stains are hard to wash away.
Mix the dry pectin in 1/4 cup of sugar. Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar.
Stir the pectin, lemon juice and water into the blueberries in a big teflon coated pot (this is less messy to clean).
Cook on medium to high heat stirring often enough to prevent burning. In about 10 minutes, the berry-pectin mixture will come to a full boil.
Now add the rest of the sugar and mix well. Bring it to a boil which cannot be stirred easily. The preserve is done.
Fill the prepared jars/bottles with the preserve while it is still hot, leaving 1/2 an inch space at the top for expansion. Wipe any spilled jam off the rim, seat the lid and tighten.
Now put the jars/bottles into the boiling water bath. Keep the jars/bottles covered with at least 2 inches of water. Let the water boil for about 5 minutes. This prevents spoilage.
Lift the jars/bottles out of the waterbath. Cool them overnight without touching or disturbing (the jars should not touch one another). Once the jars are cool, check the seal. The centre of the lid has to be sucked down.
Just press in the center with your finger. If it pops up and down, making a popping sound it is not sealed. Once cooled, they’re ready to store. You either put the jar/bottle in the refrigerator or use it right away. This preserve stays well with flavor and color for atleast 6 months.
The pasta sauce bottles I used sealed well and travelled to India without any leakage. My family enjoyed the homemade preserve. My one and half year old niece had it with toast. The preserve was incredible tasting. The bottle was empty in less than 2 weeks in my mom’s as well as my in-law’s.