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Author Notes: "Pickled Blueberries? Yuck!" That was mom's reaction when when she asked me what I was going to do with the plethora of blueberries I'd found on sale at the local HEB. Not that there was anything wrong with the idea of cobbler she preferred (I love a good cobbler) but I'm known as the pickle queen and had a nice blank spot in my pickle pantry from the curried cauliflower I'd used up, so I had to try it. Well it was totally worth the experiment. Sweet and a little tangy -- so good over vanilla ice cream! And I confess, I did drizzle it over some left over Korean meatballs -- the sweet and spicy combo was delicious. And the bonus was extra syrup I drizzled into a glass of my home-brewed Kombucha. I'm not sure it's going to stay on the shelf too long.
If you Google pickled blueberries, you'll find some interesting recipes from Saveur (http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pickled-Blueberries) and others like All Recipes (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/catherines-pickled-blueberries/). I simplified the process by adding the sugar up front (probably reducing the vinegary flavor in doing so) and added some additional flavors with bourbon, maple syrup and vanilla. —Deb Roseman
Makes 5 pints plus extra syrup
- 8 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked through to remove stems
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 pinch salt
- Add sugars, syrup, vinegar, bourbon into a 3 quart or larger pot. Tie cinnamon sticks and cloves in a square of cheesecloth (I bundle with a rubber band) and add to pot along with allspice, pinch of salt, vanilla bean and scrapings. Heat through until all sugar is melted.
- Add blueberries. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer until blueberries are heated through. Shake pan instead of stirring to ensure all blueberries are covered with syrup. (Or stir very gently once or twice, you don't want the blueberries to pop.)
- Remove from heat. Let the blueberries cool to room temperature uncovered, then cover and let sit 24 hours. If your kitchen is very hot, you might taste them after 12 hours. You don't want them to go boozy.
- Strain blueberries over a bowl so all the syrup drains through. In the meantime, sterilize 6 or 7 pint jars and lids. I do my jars in the dishwasher but you can also boil them in the canning pot. Add the drained blueberries to five of the jars. You should have enough for them to be about an inch from the top.
- Bring the drained syrup to a boil and simmer until reduced by about 1/4. Top off the blueberries with the hot syrup and add the remaining syrup to the other sterilized jars or you can just put the leftover syrup in the fridge if you don't want to preserve it. I did both -- one pint of syrup canned and the rest in a flip top glass bottle to use over the week.
- Wipe the rims carefully with a hot, damp cloth; and add the hot, sterilized tops and screw rings. Don't over tighten. Process for ten minutes. Make sure there's at least an inch of water over the top of the jars. When you remove from the water, and let them cool, you should hear a satisfying ping or pop that tells you the jars are sealed. If you don't, then if you remove the screw rings the tops should be firmly in place. If they come off, you can either clean the jar tops and reprocess, or stick it in the fridge to use over the next week.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe