Don’t you just love blueberries? I think having your own blueberry patch is a little bit of heaven on earth. Those little bits of sweet tartness exploding in your mouth. It’s like nature’s nerds! 🙂
At the peak of the season I find myself with a kitchen full of these little gems as I work to preserve them for the winter months.
Blueberry syrup, blueberry jam, dehydrated blueberries, and of course, blueberries in jars! 🙂
Blueberries are one of the easiest things to can. Really. You can can blueberries in a syrup or in water. I like to can them both ways.
Syrup for the quart jars that will turn onto cobblers and pies, and water for the pint jars and half pint jars I’m going to add to sourdough muffins, pancakes, or my famous Blueberry Coffee Cake.
Here’s how you can up some be-yoo-tee-ful jars of blueberry goodness.
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If you are new to canning or just need a refresher, you can read all about it here.
Supplies for canning blueberries
- blueberries ~ about 3 pounds of fresh berries gives you 1 quart of canned
- filtered water or syrup*
- canning jars ~ I usually use quarts and half pints
- new lids or Tattler reusable lids
- jar lifter
- magnetic lid wand
- pressure canner or waterbath canner
*Syrup for canning blueberries
- extra light syrup ~ 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water
- light syrup ~ 2 cups sugar to 4 cups water
- medium syrup ~ 3 cups sugar to 4 cups water
- heavy syrup ~ 4 3/4 cups sugar to 4 cups water
You can use honey instead of sugar if you would prefer. Keep in mind that a strong tasting honey will change the taste of the fruit. So a mild honey works the best.
Dissolve the sugar or honey in the water in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the syrup to a boil then remove it from the heat and keep hot until needed.
I usually use the light or extra light syrups because I am trying to decrease my sugar intake.
And isn’t that the best part of making your own stuff? Being able to control what’s in it is so worth it!
How to can blueberries
You can can blueberries in a water bath canner or a pressure canner. I used a pressure so that’s what you’ll see in the pictures, but I have included directions for both canners.
Prepare your jars. Make sure they are clean and keep them hot until needed. Prepare your lids following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Put the berries in the sink with enough water to cover. Swish them around in the water to wash off any dirt.
Remove any stems that might be still attached. Then I put them into a strainer over the sink to drain.
You can use either the hot pack or cold pack method for canning blueberries.
Cold Pack Method for Canning Blueberries
In the cold pack method, you pack the cleaned blueberries into one hot jar at a time leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Then fill the jar with boiling water or syrup, again, leaving 1/2 headspace.
Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth, and seat the lids.
Then put on the rings, tightening them to finger tight.
Hot Pack Method for Canning Blueberries
In the hot pack method, you put the blueberries into the boiling water or syrup for about a minute, then pack them into the hot jars.
Leave a 1/2 inch of headspace and then fill the jars with the boiling water or syrup.
Wipe the rim of the jar, seat the lids, and put the rings on finger tight.
How do you know which method to use? It’s entirely up to you!
But here’s what I do. If I am using water, I use the cold pack. If I am using syrup, I use the hot pack.
The reason I use hot pack with the syrup is because if I have syrup left over, it’s now flavored with the blueberries.
So I can up whatever is left to use as blueberry syrup. I do that with all my fruits that I can.
That gives you some options on when you whip up a batch of sourdough waffles some Saturday morning. 🙂
Whichever method you use, the next step is to put the jars into the canner.
My pressure canner has a 2nd rack so that I can do more than 1 layer.
I have quarts in the bottom and the half pints on the top in this picture.
If you are using a pressure canner, add the amount of water your directions tell you to add.
Then put on the lid and lock it.
If using a water bath canner, add hot water until the jars are covered by 1 to 2 inches and put the lid on.
In a pressure canner, process at 6 pounds of pressure for 8 minutes for half pints, pints, 1 1/2 pints, and quarts.
Make sure you adjust pressure according to your altitude using this chart.
In a waterbath canner, process for 15 minutes for half pints and pints, and 20 minutes for 1 1/2 pints and quarts.
Make sure you adjust processing time according to your altitude using this chart.
After processing, remove the jars from the canner lifting the jars straight up. Don’t tip them. That could cause the jars to not seal.
Put the jars on a towel covered cabinet out of drafts, and leave undisturbed for a minimum of 12 hours.
After 12 hours check the seals. If the seals are good, remove the rings, wash the jars, and label and date them.
If the seals are not good, you can reprocess them with new lids or simply refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.
When stored in a cool, dark place, canned goods can stay good for several years.
Now put them on your pantry shelf and enjoy looking at your purty jars of blueberry goodness!