Blueberries, Oh how I love thee.

imageWild Blueberries have taken over the WORLD!  Ok, maybe not the world, but definitely my kitchen.  I’ve picked 3 gallons and 3 pints of those little tiny bursts of goodness that melt in your mouth like candy.  With all those berries I can make ALOT of edibles.  But first, let’s talk about the blueberry.

Blueberries are natures superfood.  They are low in sodium, and high in Vitamin C.  They are a good source of dietary fiber and are a 1 on the glycemic index.  They are 81% carbs, 11% protein, and 8% fat.  One ounce of wild blueberries has on average 9% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C or 5.1mg.  2% Dv of Vitamin E, 6% vitamin K, and 7% riboflavin.  They are also a good source of Manganese, 28% of your Daily Value actually, and all this in just 1 measly ounce.  You can easily add an ounce of blueberries to a cup of oatmeal or yogurt in the morning with your breakfast and be on your way to a great start nutritionally for the day.

Besides all of that they taste delicious!  If you, like me, are a blueberry fanatic then you’ll want to pick as much as you can when they are in season and then preserve them for later use.  My preferred method for preserving blueberries is freezing or canning.  The reason I choose freezing or canning over dehydrating is this:  When you dehydrate wild blueberries they become tiny little morsels and a lot makes very little.  With freezing you can use the berries later on in pies, muffins, cakes, or as topping or add-ins to your favorite recipes.  When I say canning I specifically mean jams and preserves.  That way I can use an open bath canner instead of a pressure cooker.

   Freezing Wild Blueberries: Low and High Bush

Unwashed Frozen Blueberries

Unwashed Frozen Blueberries

  1.   Pick lots of berries!  Ok, OK!  Silly I know but you kinda need berries to freeze them!
  2.   DO NOT WASH THE BERRIES!  Sounds crazy but just don’t.   If you wash your berries now you’ll need to make sure they are completely dry before freezing them.  Also washing, soaking, or floating your berries allows them to soak up water.  They become mushy more easily and lose flavor.  If you leave them unwashed now you can rinse them just before use and they will retain their shape and flavor very nicely.
  3.  Sort through your bounty and take out all mushy, rotting, unripe berries.  Also remove any sticks, seed heads,  leaves, creepy crawly critters, and anything that is not a “perfect” berry.
  4.  Place all your “perfect” berries into quart size freezer bags, or if you use a Food Saver machine or other device to remove air, place blueberries in those bags.
  5.   Remove air from bags.  If you don’t have a sucker machine, which I do not, zip up your freezer bag almost all the way.  Insert a straw down into open spot and close bag as far as possible with straw still inside.  Begin sucking air out.  Once all the air is out continue sucking and remove your straw quickly and at the same time zip the bag the rest of the way.. WAHLAA!  Not you’ve sucked out all the air and your berries will freeze faster and will remain fresh longer.  Not oxygen in the environment means slower breakdown of sugars, and thus longer lasting berries.
  6. Label the bags with name and date and set in the freezer as flat as possible.  Use with in 6 months.

If you prefer to turn your blueberries into preserves, jams, jellies, compotes, or pie filling there are many, many, many recipes out there for you to try.  I’d say go for it.  I have my favorites that I will share next time.  For today though, ENJOY those berries.  Eat them up and turn them into something yummy.

Like this:

Wild Blueberry Cordial

  • 2 Quart size jars with lid and ring.  Preferably wide mouth ex. Ball, Mason, Kerr.
  • 2 -3 cups of wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 pints of Vodka, whichever type you prefer
  • 2 Cups of white sugar

Directions

    1. Combine blueberries and vodka in the quart jar.  Seal and set in a dark, cool place for 1 week.
    2. After 1 week, pour the mixture through a cheesecloth or a strainer.  Save the  blueberries.  Put the strained liquid, (blueberry-infused vodka)  into a clean and sterilized quart jar and seal.
    3.  Add the sugar to the blueberries.  Stir well and then put the blueberries into the other clean and sterilized quart jar, seal.
    4. Place both containers in a dark, cool place for 1 month.
    5. After about 3-4 weeks,  add the blueberry mixture and the blueberry-infused vodka together in a large sterilized bowl.  Strain the blueberries from the mixture and set aside. Pour the vodka-sugar mixture back into the 2 quart jars. Seal and allow to age in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months.
    6. Blueberries can be tossed out or reserved to be used in the manner you choose.
    7. Drink the cordial in cute little cordial glasses or if you’re like me, give it away to your adult friends and family for Christmas.

 

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