Thursday, June 24, 2010
I once heard a food storage specialist asked, "What is the best thing to store in your empty canning jars?" His reply was, "Anything but empty!" Canning jars and extra lids are a great storage item.
Today has been a busy day. I dried 5 lbs. of corn, 3 lbs. of peas and 1 lb. of blueberries. I also made 3 batches of strawberry sauce for the freezer and one for strawberry shortcake (see the post for blender pancakes for the awesome Strawberry sauce recipe).
The dried berries were an experiment. I got beautiful blueberries at COSTCO for $1.25 a pound. (Wish I'd bought more!) I had a few empty canning jars I had emptied recently and canned about 7 pounds of blueberries. These are great to eat straight out of the bottle or to use in pancakes, waffles or muffins. They can even be thickened to use in pie filling or tarts. If you'd rather, blueberry syrup tastes great and looks wonderful on your pantry shelf.
Wash berries and pick over carefully. Pack into canning jars to within 1/2" of top. Make a syrup of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over blueberries to within 1 1/2" of top of jar. Put hot lids and rims on jars. Process in boiling water bath 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
6 1/2 - 7 cups fresh blueberries (washed and sorted)
2 T. Lemon Juice (bottled or fresh squeezed)
7 cups sugar
Crush the berries. Use a potato masher, food processor or blender. In a large pot combine berries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Simmer till berries are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Strain the berries through a colander or large strainer in batches, letting the juice drain off and pressing berries to extract as much juice as possible. If you want a more clarified (clear) syrup, strain the juice through a double layer of cheesecloth OR a jelly bag. Discard the dry pulp. The yield of the pressed juice should be about 4 ½ to 5 cups. Combine the juice with 7 cups of sugar. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Pour into prepared jars, add hot lids and rims. Process in boiling water bath for about 15 minutes when using pints.