Let's Preserve: Blueberries
A 24-quart crate weighs 36 pounds and yields 18 to 24 quarts. An average of 12 pounds makes a 7-quart canner load. An average of 7 1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. An average of 1 pound makes 1 pint of frozen berries.
Select berries that are plump, firm, have a light blue to blueblack color, and are of ideal maturity for eating fresh. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days to improve flavor, then preserve them.
Just before preparing, wash 1 or 2 quarts at a time and drain well. Do not soak berries.
Don’t freeze more than 2 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer capacity per day. Berries may be packed with syrup or dry sugar, pureed, or individually quick frozen.
To Make a Syrup Pack
- Mix and dissolve 2 1/2 cups of sugar in 4 cups of water.
- Add 1 cup of this syrup per quart of prepared fruit.
- To keep berries under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper or wrapping material on top, and press fruit down into the syrup before sealing the container.
To Make a Dry Sugar Pack
Mix 1/2 cup of dry sugar per quart of prepared fruit.
Crushed or Pureed Berries
To make crushed or pureed berries
- Crush or press washed berries through a fine sieve, or puree in a blender or food processor.
- Mix 1 to 1⅛ cups of sugar with each quart (2 pounds) of crushed berries or puree.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Fill pint or quart plastic freezer containers or tapered widemouth freezer jars.
- Allow 1 inch of headspace in quarts and 1/2 inch in pints.
- Seal, label, and freeze.
- Do not freeze in containers with a capacity over one-half gallon.
Individually Quick Frozen or Tray Method of Freezing Blueberries
Berries may be frozen without washing, then washed just before being used. Another option is to wash and dry berries thoroughly on a clean towel before freezing. Spread dry berries in a single layer on a flat tray and place in freezer. Once hard, transfer to a freezer container or zip-type freezer bag. Do not thaw before use.
- Wash jars.
- Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Berries in jars may be covered with your choice of water, apple or white grape juice, or, more commonly, a very light, light, or medium syrup.
To make a very light syrup for a canner load of quarts
- Mix 1 1/4 cups of sugar in 10 1/2 cups of water and heat to dissolve
- Mix and dissolve 2 1/4 cups of sugar in 9 cups of water to make a light syrup
- Mix 3 3/4 cups of sugar in 8 1/4 cups of water to make a medium syrup. Hot or raw pack as directed below.
- Wipe sealing edge of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Add lids, tighten screw bands, and process jars.
To Make a Hot Pack
- Place drained berries in boiling syrup, juice, or water and boil for 30 seconds.
- Fill clean jars with hot berries and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
To Make a Raw Pack
Place drained berries in jars and cover with your choice of boiling water, juice, or syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
To Process in Boiling Water Canner
- Fill canner halfway with water and preheat to 180ºF for hot packs or 140ºF for raw packs.
- Load sealed jars into the canner rack and lower with handles, or load one jar at a time with a jar lifter onto rack in canner.
- Add water, if needed, to 1 inch above jars. Add cover.
- When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and process for recommended time.
- After processing is complete, set canner off heat and remove canner lid.
- Wait 5 minutes before removing jars.
- Remove jars from canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack.
- Do not retighten screw bands. Air-cool jars for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove screw bands and check lid seals.
If the center of the lid is indented, wash, dry, label, and store jar in a clean, dark place.
If lid is unsealed, examine and replace jar if defective, use new lid, and reprocess as before. Wash screw bands and store separately.
Berries are best if consumed within a year and are safe as longas lid remains vacuum sealed.
2 1/2 cups prepared blueberry juice
3 bups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Yields approx. 4 half-pint jars
To Prepare Juice:
- Select 4 cups of table-ripe berries.
- Do not use underripe berries.
- Wash berries and remove any stems.
- Crush berries and heat to a boil.
- Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Strain through a colander and drain until cool enough to handle.
- Strain the collected juice through a double layer of cheesecloth or jelly bag.
- Discard dry pulp.
The yield of the juice should be about 21/2 cups.
To Make the Syrup:
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Pour into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.
- Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
- Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
- Andress, Elizabeth L.
- Judy A. Harrison.