Making blueberry preserves is one of the most convenient ways to elongate the life of blueberries. Preserves are by mixing whole fruit along with pectin, sugar, and acid. Enjoying whole berries provide a chunkier texture in contrast to the smooth texture of jellies or the lighter texture of jams. Varying preparation techniques and the conditions of the berries would affect the overall texture of the preserves. Too much heat would disintegrate the blueberries while less heat would impact the preservation process. A critical balance and technique should be acquired after a couple of trial-and-error procedures. It’s a long and worthy investment as blueberry preserves make for great gifts for friends and family members.
Blueberry Preserves Trivia
- Blueberries are native to North America and were long used by Native American Indians for medicinal purposes. Blueberries are concentrated with antioxidants which boost the immune system and fight cancer.
- Blueberries also help fight against dementia and cardiovascular diseases as they are high in fiber and low in calories and fats.
Blueberry Preserves Buying Guide
Blueberry preserves are available in the condiments and jellies section of grocery stores and supermarkets. You can purchase either the commercially packed preserves or those produced by artisan families.
It’s best to buy blueberry preserves during the blueberry season to celebrate the blueberries’ prime flavors. Blueberry preserves also have an assortment such as pectin, no pectin, all-natural, and low sugar. You can choose which one is best for your taste and preference.
Blueberry Preserves Production & Farming in Texas
Blueberries are truly native to North America and can easily grow in acidic soils accompanied by the appropriate climate. Rabbiteye blueberries are the most common blueberries found in Texas and are commercially grown in the East.
Rabbiteye blueberries bloom best during the spring season. However, their yield is affected by chilling hours and the warm temperatures of spring. These shrubs can also be injured and affected by the chilly winters. Thus, it’s best to choose the kind which only requires 150 chill hours.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Jams, jellies, and preserves have four basic ingredients including fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar
Pectin is essential to form the gel-like consistency of jams and jellies. Adding the right amount of pectin would depend on the fruit’s natural pectin content. For instance, peaches and blueberries have very low pectin content. So, an extra amount of pectin is needed to achieve the desired texture.
Acid is essential to maintain gel formation and as a natural preservative. Some fruits contain an adequate amount of natural acid. Meanwhile, others need additional acid which can be naturally derived from lemon juice. Artificial acids are discouraged since they can have harmful effects on the body.
Sugar also affects gel formation, contributes flavors, and acts as a preservative. Honey is commonly used as a natural preservative. However, commercially produced jams, jellies, and preserves are usually mixed with artificial sugars such as sucrose, glucose, sucralose, and aspartame which can have a long-term damaging impact on a person’s health.
Safely canning jams, jellies, and preserves are essential to maintain their flavors and lengthen their shelf-life. The Boiling Water Method for Blueberry Preserves is one of the most reliable. To do this, prepare the canning jars filled with food and completely submerge them in boiling water at 212°F.
Certain measures should be done before doing the boiling water method. Check the cans to ensure they are safe for food packaging and consumption. Look for cracks, chipped edges, and even tiny scratches. Discard the jars if you can find any of these inconsistencies. This is an essential step since any small cracks or chips can be triggered by heat during the boiling process.
Also, check the rubber lid to ensure that there are no mold growths since any mold could spoil an entire glass. Never use the metal covers if there are patches or specks of rust since it can also contaminate the blueberry preserves, making them unsafe for consumption.
Enjoying Blueberry Preserves
Making blueberry preserves is one of the best experiences during the blueberry season. Enjoying those are even better. Make some pie and fill it with luscious and plump blueberry preserves. To make some beverages, add blueberry preserves to hot lemon tea, or serve it along with cold cider or even sparkling water. Like any other jams, jellies, and preserves, blueberry preserves are a great addition to grazing tables, cheese platters, and even charcuterie boards. Don’t forget to make a decadent cheesecake topped with blueberry preserves long after the blueberry season.
Properly storing Blueberry Preserves is essential for their maximum shelf life. As a standard procedure, any unopened preserves, jams, and jellies can be stored at room temperature for at least a year, given that those should be put in a cool, dry place, away from the direct heat of the sunlight. Once opened, the blueberry preserves should be refrigerated and consumed within a week if made without preservatives. However, it can be consumed within two weeks or more if it is made with chemical preservatives.
5 cups fresh blueberries
2-1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook 15-18 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into three hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding a hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
- Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.