29 July 2011

Blueberries brought me out of the funk...

I can't say why exactly I've been in a funk.  Life is good, all is well.  Yet I kept letting the small things get to me.  Well, other small things got to me as well, namely 4 quarts of exceptional Michigan blueberries! 
This year's berries are quite large and sweet, firm and plump!  John purchased them from a local fruit farmer at the Farmers Market in Saline Michigan and I began the hunt for a little something different to create.

I am the savory type, versus the sweet tooth.  I cannot make another batch of jam, we just won't eat it all!  So I was perusing a magazine and much to my delight came across a recipe for Honey-Bourbon Pickled Blueberries.  (Better Homes and Gardens "Canning" magazine)  What is not to like in THAT combination?!  I whipped up a batch at home and then presented it to my PRESERVE IT! class last night.  WINNER!  I adjusted the recipe slightly on my second and third batches...I added some white balsamic vinegar and peppercorns for a hint of spice.  I also added a bit of kosher salt which really balanced the sweetness!  The recipe that follows is my adjusted recipe!

When looking at the name and listing of ingredients, you would imagine this being too savory for sweet applications, yet not really.  I can see this layered in a sour cream coffee cake or served with a whole wheat dessert waffle just as well as drizzled over a grilled pork tenderloin or served with a lovely sharp cheddar cheese.  Another reason to make this is the yield factor...6 half pints.  Small, doable in the morning before heading to work in my case! 


3 inch cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole allspice
6 or 7 whole peppercorns
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
8 cups blueberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1 3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Put spices in cheesecloth or spice bag.  
In preserving pot combine vinegars and spices and set over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 5 minutes.  Add blueberries and bourbon and bring to medium heat and cook about 8 minutes until berries are heated through.  Do not stir as you want the berries to remain as whole as possible.  Remove from heat, cover and let rest 8-12 hours.  (I did these steps in the evening and let the mixture set overnight.  It was then ready to be processed in the morning!)

Remove spice bag and place mixture in a colander placed over another large pot.  Ladle blueberries evenly amongst sterilized half pint jars.

Heat juice and add honey over high heat, boiling until mixture turns syrupy, about 5 minutes.  Pour over blueberries leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe rims of jars and place lids and tighten bands or clips.
Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Remember to start timing once water is boiling! 

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