~ FROZEN BLUEBERRIES ~ DRIED BLUEBERRIES ~ BLUEBERRY POWDER ~ PRESERVED BLUEBERRIES ~
I currently have a couple of gallons of blueberries in my refrigerator and wanted to preserve some for the winter months! Here are 4 quick ways to preserve them:
The obvious first choice is freezing. Quick and easy and you have berries all winter.
Clean, wash and dry berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer, pop the cookie sheet in the freezer until they the berries are frozen. I then package 2 cups of berries per sandwich type baggie, remove all the air and seal. Store in the freezer. These are great for muffins, pancakes, desserts, smoothies, etc.
I love this method because you can replace any recipe that calls for cranberries or raisins with dried blueberries!
Preheat oven to 270 degrees. On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay berries in a single layer. Place berries in the oven. The berries will dry in 2 hours. You want the blueberries to have the same texture as raisins ~ still soft but all the juice has been released.
Once dried, remove from oven, let cool completely then store in a sealed container in your pantry.
When I started this post, I only had 3 ways of preserving blueberries! Then I left my blueberries in the oven too long and they became little pebbles! I didn’t want to throw them in the garbage and then I had an ah ha moment! I threw them in my magic bullet and a couple pulses later ~ BLUEBERRY POWDER!!! I had 1/2 tsp in my yogurt with a little honey and it was soooo good ~ since it’s super concentrated you only need a little! Store in a small mason jar in the pantry. Add it to smoothies, yogurt, icing for cakes, make blueberry tea!
Leave berries in oven at 270 degrees for 3 hours. Cool before processing into powder. You could also use a coffee grinder instead of a magic bullet.
For 1 Gallon of fresh blueberries I made 2 pint jars and 4 quart jars.
I LOVE THIS METHOD! It’s as easy as packing a jar with blueberries and a simple syrup!! Open a jar and use it as a topping on ice cream, stir it into yogurt, thicken it with a bit of cornstarch to make a pie filling, a compote to serve with tea biscuits, delicious on oatmeal!!! ~ so many possibilities!
This recipe preserves the berries using a hot water bath but again it is very simple to do. The hardest part is getting everything set up.
Fill your canning pot with hot water, add your cooling rack to the bottom then add your pint and quart jars to the water. Bring water to a boil and sterilize jars for 10 minutes.
In another pot, add 7 cups of water and 2 cups of white sugar. Bring to boil to dissolve sugar and then reduce heat to simmer. This is a light syrup which I enjoy but you adjust the sugar to your own personal preference. You can always add more sugar after you have opened a jar to eat. (I had a lot of simple syrup remaining so you may want to reduce the water and sugar if making the same amount of pint and quart jars as I did)
In another small pot, bring water to a boil, reduce heat to low and add your lids (Do not boil). They just need to be kept warm.
So lets start filling the jars. I like to set out a baking sheet to use for my station and use that for easy cleanup.
Take 1 jar at at time out of the hot water bath using tongs or jar grippers, drain out water, add 1 TBSP lemon juice for pint jars and 2 TBSP for quart jars.
Using a wide mouth funnel, fill the jars with fresh blueberries, give the jars a little tap on the counter to settle the blueberries (do not push down on berries as they will rise during processing). Leave 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar.
Next using a measuring cup add the simple syrup to the jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar.
Next, using tongs remove a warm lid from the water and lay it on top of the jar of berries, add a ring and finger tighten.
Add filled jar back into the hot water bath.
I do one jar at a time so that the jars stay warm and then there is less chance of breakage when you add the simple syrup and submerge them back in the hot water bath.
Once all jars are filled and returned to the hot water bath and the water starts to boil again, boil for 15 minutes for pint jars and 20 minutes for quart jars. (SEE CHART BELOW)
Once processed, remove from hot water bath and let sit on a tea towel on the counter overnight. You know they are sealed when you hear the “POP”. If jars didn’t seal, store in refrigerator.
Now you have fresh blueberries to enjoy all year long!