Sadly, there are no blackberries free for the foraging in Colorado, but blueberries are currently abundant and since they were on sale at my local market, I decided some blueberry preservation was in order. In the middle of the long Colorado winter, when snow covers the garden and my windows are frosted over, I will crack open a jar of homemade blueberry syrup and stave off the oppressive cold with a stack of blueberry pancakes and a hot cup of tea. It sounds so good, I almost can't wait until winter. Hah! Just kidding.
7 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar, I used organic evaporated cane juice.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups blueberry juice (Yeah, it's ridiculously expensive, so I used a cheaper 100% juice blueberry-cranberry blend.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wash and sort the blueberries, making sure to remove any stems or gross squashy berries. Reserve a cup of berries, and puree the rest in a food processor, or mash with a potato masher. Strain puree in a cheesecloth over a colander over the pot you will use to cook the syrup. I like to use my hands to help smoosh the juice out of the cheesecloth.
If you have a juicer, you can skip the pureeing and squishing, and just juice the bluebs, but you will miss out on half the fun and having bits of blueberry in your syrup. I'm not too picky about making sure it's clear, cause I like the bits of fruit - they're tasty. After you have most of the juice out, heat it to boiling with the lemon juice and blueberry juice. Add the sugar and vanilla, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then add the reserved whole blueberries. Bring it back to a boil, and ladle into sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth, cap with sterilized, heated lids, and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, or 20 minutes if you live at a high altitude like me.
Whole Blueberries (Recipe adapted from pickyourown.com)
7 cups blueberries, washed and sorted
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
2 cups blueberry-cranberry juice
To make a syrup, bring the water and juice to a boil. Add the sugar, stir to dissolve, and bring back to a boil. Ladle your blueberries into sterilized pint jars and add one tablespoon of lemon juice to every pint. Ladle hot syrup over the berries, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth, cap with sterilized, heated lids, and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, or 20 minutes if you live at a high altitude like me.