If you’re looking for something with a little more “bite” than typical blueberry canning recipes, then this pickled version is worth considering. The finished product is still sweet, but it also has some tanginess as well, and it is nutritious enough to deserve a place on a shelf in your emergency stockpile or pantry. Follow the steps below, and see how easy it is to whip up a batch in no time.
2 quarts of whole blueberries (fresh if possible)
1 ½ cups of red wine vinegar
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of allspice (berries if possible)
3 cinnamon sticks
The first step is to put the cinnamon, cloves and allspice into the center of a large cheesecloth in order to make a spice bag. Fold up the sides, give the cheesecloth a twist, and tie it off with some cooking twine or wire. Place the bag into a large saucepan before adding the vinegar. Bring up the heat to medium and let the liquid simmer for 5 minutes before adding the blueberries and stirring gently. Let the ingredients simmer for another 5 minutes, and gently shake the pot to stir the berries throughout. Don’t use a spoon or spatula, because it will break the berries as they soften up and tenderize. Remove from heat when finished, cover the pot, and let the mixture cool at room temperature overnight.
The Next Day
Prepare your water bath canner and warm sterilized canning jars before you continue with the recipe. When ready, pour the contents of the saucepan through a colander and bowl to capture the liquid. Take out the spice bag and transfer equal amounts of berries into each canning jar. Return the liquid to the saucepan and bring up the heat to high. Carefully stir in the sugar as the liquid begins to boil, and stir continually, but gently, for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat as the liquid begins to reduce and thicken slightly, and immediately ladle it into the canning jars. You should have enough liquid remaining to cover the berries and maintain ½ inch of headspace. If not, just add some boiling-hot water to compensate.
Give the jars a gentle shake to remove air bubbles and add more liquid if necessary to maintain headspace. Wipe down the rims with a damp cloth to remove any sticky residue before screwing on the lid assemblies. Place the jars into the canner and make sure that they are submerged with at least an inch of boiling water before starting the processing time. Process the jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.
Remove when finished and place the jars on a rack or towel on the counter. Let them cool overnight at room temperature before checking the quality of the seals. Label and date the jars that you want to store, and the finished product can remain shelf-stable for more than a year.
Feel free to use less sugar or more vinegar, and you can also experiment with different spices or even a little bit of lemon juice to create a variety of subtle flavor accents as well. Try this for yourself, and see how this sweet, yet tangy variation is a great way to have access to the nutritional benefits of blueberries now as well as in the midst of a prolonged crisis.