Did you ever wish a blueberry was a tomato? probably not. perhaps if you’ve had to become as familiar with late season blight as we’ve had to here in the northeast you might have..but never-you-mind because even if you have thousands of tomatoes falling off your bushes and you’re eating juicy heirloom tomatoes out of hand at every meal and your bottling your year’s supply of sauce and your pickling the green ones and salsa-ing the red ones…
even if you are doing all of that I say this: tomatoes ain’t got nuthin’ on blueberries. i mean, tomatoes are peachy and all but… blueberries go better with champagne. blueberries like exotic spices that can take you here and here in a single jar. blueberries are falling off my trees and if you’ve ever heard that expression ‘love the one you’re with’then you know what i’m talking about. but seriously folks. ahem. all tomato envy aside (ok i said it!). this is the berry thing that i have been searching for!
it’s sweet and kind of jammy, but with a delicious pickled tang. the berries remain whole so the texture is divine, and the spices give it a hint of exotica that pairs as well with (dare i say) a meaty (free range, organic, grass-fed, happy life and all that jazz) main course or a scoop of frozen dessert.
whole pickled blueberries
adapted from the joy of pickling
2 quarts blueberries (firm but ripe)
12 allspice berries
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches each)
1 1/2 cups champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 cups sugar (i use raw)
3 pint or 6 1/2 pint canning jars
yields approximately 3 pints
1. tie the spices in a spice bag or a piece of cheese cloth with twine. place spices in vinegar in a fairly large pot (so the blueberries don’t get crushed when you add them in step 2) and bring to a simmer slowly, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
2. add the berries to the pot and cook over medium heat until they are just cooked through. they will swell and get darker, and look like they are just about to burst, but don’t let them! this will take approximately 8 minutes. take pot off heat, cover and let stand for 12 hours.
1. place you clean mason jars in canning pot and heat. details on hot water bath canning here. you do not need to boil them for 10 minutes to sterilize, just let them get warmed.
2. remove the spice bag and drain the liquid off the berries by placing in a colander over a bowl. i prefer to scoop most of the berries out first so that they do not get crushed.
3. return the liquid to pot and add sugar, stir to dissolve and bring to the boil. boil briskly for approximately 5 minutes to thicken the syrup some.
4. while syrup is boiling, take jars out of hot water and fill equally with the whole blueberries. pour hot syrup over the berries and leave a 1/4 inch headspace.
5. process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.
even though you will want to eat these right away. they are pickles, and like all canned pickles they should be left at least a couple of weeks to let the flavors settle and mingle.