Monday, July 18, 2011

Preserving Blueberries

I picked up 20 pounds of blueberries at the farmers market (with the Double Up Food Bucks tokens I saved from last week plus this week's, they were almost free: $9!) yesterday.  I went easy on myself this time and just bagged them up and stuck them in the freezer.  I'm hoping I'll be able to pick up another 60 pounds or so before the season is over and maybe that will be enough to last us the year, but considering how much I like blueberry muffins and how much the kids like eating them frozen, I wouldn't count on it.  If I can get more while they are in season, I'll definitely go for it.

Last year, I didn't take is so easy on myself with preserving blueberries (of course, last year I had access to a large stock pot I could use for water bath canning, so that made a difference.  Last year, I made a ton of blueberry sauce for pancake/waffle topping, ice cream topping, and yogurt flavoring (okay, I hadn't started making my own yogurt yet when I made it, but we've been using it for that purpose more than any other the past few months!).  I made a couple batches:  the first I screwed up somehow, but it made a thicker sauce, so I thought that was nice.  I didn't actually realize that I'd made a mistake in the recipe until I followed it exactly (well, as exactly as I ever follow a recipe) and it ended up being a lot thinner.  I present here the recipe I used the second time, but I think it is safe to say that the water could be reduced (somehow.  Really, this recipe is so simple, how did I screw it up?!?!) if you want a thicker sauce.  It can be frozen or canned, with no noticeable difference in end result.

Blueberry Sauce

 2 quarts blueberries, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
3 cups white sugar
4 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mash blueberries in a large pot.  Add 2 cups water and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  

In a large saucepan, mix sugar and 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until temperature reaches 260 degrees.  Add blueberries; boil for 1 minute.  Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.  Let cool. 


  1. When we freeze blueberries (or other berries, actually), we spread them out on waxed paper on a metal baking sheet or some such, and put it on top of whatever else is in the freezer. Then when they're mostly frozen, we bag them. That way they're all separate instead of clumped. You can scoop out an exact amount of blueberries without having to unfreeze the whole bag. Very handy!

  2. Yay, blueberries. I brought home 5 gallons from the you-pick my mom went to last week. Had a discussion with the cutest little old lady about freezing technique. She told me she never had an issue just tossing them in the bag as-is. I'm guessing she didn't go through the trouble of de-stemming and rinsing them like I did though.

    I will have to get through my spiced jam and maybe some syrup as well as the frozen berries and flavored vodka I already made. These are HUGE berries, between a nickel and a quarter, so I can't make pickled berries with them. I will have to wait for the local wild ones to come ripe first.

    My "kids" also adore them frozen in the heat. I used to eat frozen grapes as a kid so it makes sense to me and the pups get so hot with their thick and dark coats.

  3. De-stemming = good

    Rinsing = bad

    when it comes to just popping them in the bag to freeze them. I made blueberry muffins this morning with berries I'd frozen and they poured out just fine :-)