Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Canning Berries

Last fall, I canned the blackberries I picked. I usually freeze them. I was running low on freezer space though, and canning seemed like a good alternative. It was the PERFECT solution! When I needed berries for a recipe, I just opened a jar, drained, and I was ready to go. No thawing. No chiseling the frozen berries apart because I FORGOT to thaw. I LOVED it! There's really nothing like opening a jar of fruit on a winter day. It's like getting a tiny taste of summer.
I knew that when this year's fruit was coming on, I wanted to can a BUNCH of it! A few weeks ago, I started seeing blueberries showing up in the produce section (at a good price too, I might add).  I bought about 10 pounds to start.
If you've never canned (or maybe it's been a while). It's NOT hard! It's no more complicated than baking. Here's some great resources to get you started:
Ball's getting started guide
Canning Homemade's getting started guide

Here's how simple the process is:
Rinse the berries in a big colander and pick out any berries that seemed overripe or blemished. Also remove any stems you find.

Prepare the syrup. I usually use a "light" syrup (2 cups sugar to 4 cups water). Recently, I found this recipe for "extra light" syrup (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water) on the Putting up with the Turnbulls site. There's some great recipes and canning ideas on their site.....check it out!

Then, fill the sterilized jars with the prepared blueberries. Make sure to "shake down" the blueberries to get those jars really full. By shaking them down it packs the blueberries in really good and fills up all those gaps. Ladle in your prepared syrup, leaving a 1/2" head space.

Put the heated lids and rings on. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes for pints (make sure to adjust for elevation if needed). If you want to put-up quarts, you'll have to check for processing time as I didn't do any quarts. Here's how the finished jars came out.

Aren't they pretty?

I also picked raspberries from the garden the other day.

It didn't look like I'd have enough to can. So, I combined them with  a couple of cartons of strawberries and a large carton of blueberries. I just mixed the prepared berries together and processed as I did for the blueberries.
I can almost taste the berries over cheesecake....or ice cream....or in muffins...or cakes....breads.....M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Your berries look sooo good! I grew up in Washington and Oregon, I miss the wild blackberries! We used to make pies and jam out of them. If your like me; after canning I used to "horde" them when the kids would ask if they could have peaches etc... that I had just canned. I just wanted to hold onto them for a while after all of that work! LoL...


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