Following a winter with much-needed rain here in drought-weary California, our blueberry bushes are heavy with ripe berries. We easily picked 15 quarts over the weekend, which then went into jars. For each quart of jars, add 1/4 cup of sugar and a light splash of water. (I put 1/2 cup in each 7.5 quart batch that I processed.) Cook until the sugar dissolves and the liquid just starts to boil. (The berries will throw off a lot of juice and some berries may explode. That’s okay! Those will thicken and flavor the syrup.) Pour into clean, hot jars and process according to the jar manufacturer’s instructions. I process pints and smaller for 15 minutes. ;o)
#cheatcode #berries #blueberries #canning
Cheat code: Not so much a cheat code as common sense for making a project like this much easier. Think ahead and break down your prep tasks so that once you’re ready to start cooking and canning, everything is all ready. For example, on Saturday, I checked to confirm that I had enough sugar (I didn’t, so I went out to buy some) and new lids for my Mason jars (again, I didn’t, so I took care of that, too); I got out all of my canning tools, and set up almost as if I were having a dinner party. I put the canning lids into the small saucepan I’ll use for heating them; I washed my jars in the dishwasher and put them all on towel-lined trays. (I heated them in the oven while the berries were cooking and the water was boiling.) I measured the sugar for my first batch. Etc.
Speaking of towels: Berries stain. I keep some old cotton dinner napkins in dark green and blue, and an old dark teal and purple tea towel, just to use when canning berries. I rinse them out thoroughly while washing up.
Another cheat code: Consider getting a standard Mauviel preserves pan. I can cook 8 quarts of berries in mine! I was able to process all 15 quarts, from start to finish including boiling water, processing and clean up, in about 2 hours. It would have taken less time had I used more pints and fewer half pints. All told, the 15 quarts yielded 9 1/2 quarts of berries. Next week: Pie filling, and more pints, to use with late season stone fruit in crisps!
I find that using 2 large stock / pasta pots for processing is far more efficient than using my enormous canning pot. ;o)