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I went on an adventure last week…I went blueberry picking!
I found that I have a hidden gem in my own hometown, a pick-your-own blueberries farm – the Blase Family Farm. (Check them out on Instagram for the latest updates.)
They have an impressive blueberry farm (and honey bees) surprisingly nestled in an old neighborhood. I was able to sign up for a time slot on the third day they were open for picking this year. The bushes were loaded with berries, but few were ripe (not too few, I just mean that there are loads more to be picked later). It was a bit like a scavenger hunt!
I took my mom with me and together we picked about five and a half pounds of blueberries. We had a great time. The weather, especially for June in Texas, was wonderful. The staff there is so sweet and friendly.
The blueberries are weighed when you are ready to leave (you pay for them then) – $7/lb. I looked at it as the price of impeccable fresh fruit AND an adventure. I now have two pales of blueberries and a plan!
Mrs. Blasé also makes the best popsicle I’ve ever eaten – the perfect way to cool down after an hour of picking.
I left them on the counter, so that the less ripe/slightly red ones could finish ripening I gathered the necessary items for my plan – namely pint jars, some sugar, and my Presto Pressure Cooker/Canner. Aside from the few I’ve eaten while waiting a few days, my plan was to set aside a few for eating fresh, then can/preserve all the rest of the berries. They will be great in some lemon muffins!
I know canning can sound really intimidating…I used to think so too, but my experience with the pressure cooker/canner in the last eighteen months has given me a confidence that can only be garnered from experience. As long as you follow the direction in your canner’s manual, you truly have nothing to fear. I’ve become well versed in canning tomato sauce from my homegrown tomatoes (of which I will be doing a lot more this summer), as well as pumpkins, meat, and soup base. Canned goods – such as tomato sauce and jellies/jams make great gifts too.
You can find my simple guide to canning homemade tomato sauce here if you are interested.
Canning blueberries is really easy.
HOW TO PRESERVE BLUEBERRIES
The measurements for this undertaking are dependent on the volume of berries you are wanting to preserve.
There are three main options for your syrup… light, medium, or heavy.
Light Syrup = 4 C water, 1 C sugar
Medium Syrup = 4 C water, 2 C sugar
Heavy Syrup = 4 C water, 3 C sugar
Sanitize your jars with bleach and boiling water before getting started – you don’t want bacteria or mold to grow in the jars after they are sealed.
Fill your jars with your blueberries, be sure to leave the top half inch of the jar (the mouth and threads part) empty.
Place your lids in a pan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil
On the stove, combine your sugar and water (for your desired strength of syrup) in a sauce pan and on medium low heat stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Then carefully ladle the syrup over the berries in the jars. Again, leave the top half inch unfilled.
Next, top the jars with your lids/lids and rings. Screw the lids on finger tight.
Place the jars in your canner. Be sure to add the required amount of boiling water to your canner (see manual for directions). After putting the lid on your canner, turn on the stove. Wait until the canner starts venting, then add the weight. Keep and eye on the pressure gauge and cook for 8 minutes at 6 pounds of pressure.
After the eight minutes, turn off the burner and wait until the gauge says there is no pressure left in your canner – then it is safe to open it.
Remove the jars with a set of bottle tongs (if you don’t have the tongs, carefully remove the jars with two potholders). Turn the jars upside down and leave them on a dishtowel for the syrup to cool.
After the jars have all cooled, flip them over and check that they have sealed. (Sealed equals no wiggle in the center of the lid – no popping sounds.)
And that’s it! Your blueberries could stay sealed for up to eighteen months – that is if you don’t want to add them to a batch of muffins, pancakes, or a cobbler before then.