With blueberries in full abundance for only a short time, gathering as many as possible and preserving blueberries for the winter is a must in our family.
We use them in smoothies, oatmeal, granola, in pies, or on top of ice cream as well as flavoring kefir and kombucha all winter long. If you are what you eat, then we have 5 blueberries in this family.
However, freezer space is very limited as we lost a large deep freezer and haven’t had the money to replace it.So, since I got 50lbs. of blueberries that I needed to store, canning blueberries and other items is an option I turn to more and more lately. They can store for up to a year without losing taste and quality, and I don’t have to worry about a power outtage and losing them.So, here’s how I do it:
First, get some blueberries.
Easy enough, right? I got these at our local produce auction.Then, wash and remove stems. After you rinse them, you layer 4 cups of blueberries and cover with 1 cup of sugar in a large pot. Continue with those layers until the pot is about 2/3 full. You don’t want to over crowd the berries at all.
Let sit for about an hour or so, until the berries begin to glisten. They get so pretty!
Then, turn the pot on medium high heat until the blueberries and juice begin to boil gently for 5 minutes.
Ladle into hot quart jars and water bath for 20 minutes. Remove from boiling water, let cool and test the seals. Any that didn’t seal should be refrigerated and eaten within a week or so. Wipe down the rest of the jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
Viola! Canned blueberries!
Now, to preserve them in other ways
For freezing, I simply lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. This way, you can put them in freezer bags and they are frozen in a “free flowing” form and are easier to use in recipes later on. If I have a lot to do, I will put freezer paper on top, and add another layer of blueberries. I can usually get 3 layers per baking sheet this way. Lay flat in the freezer for 24 hours, then remove to air tight freezer bags. Enjoy! To use, simply take out the bag, and remove the blueberries you need for your recipe.
To dehydrate the berries
simply place on a dehydrator sheet (here’s the one I use) in a single layer. Dehdyrate on medium or 145 degrees for 6-8 hours. Place in an airtight container. These are great for granola, trail mixes and just plain snacking. If you want, you can also rehydrate them for other recipes by placing one cup of dehdyrated berries in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes.