It’s International Can-It-Forward Day! Time to stop what you’re doing, get yourself some produce and head to the canning pot. If blueberries are still in season, may I suggest a batch of Gingery Pickled Blueberries?
When I first started pickling fruit four or five years ago, I experienced a lot of resistance. People weren’t familiar with it and so often dismissed it as unappealing. However, thanks to both the increasing popularity of shrubs/drinking vinegars and chefs who started putting all manner of pickled fruit on their menus, I’m finding a more welcome climate out there for these tangy preserves.
I find that pickled blueberries are a really great introduction to the world of pickled fruit. For one thing, the require almost no preparation (pickled peaches are also delicious, but you’ve got to scald those peels off). You give the berries a quick rinse and look them over to remove any stubborn stems.
The brine is nothing more than vinegar, water, sugar, and some sliced ginger. Once it boils, you tumble the berries in and cook for a few minutes. Once they’ve started to boil and the brine turns dark purple, the cooking portion is done. You get the berries in the jars, top them off with brine, pop the lids and rings on, and into the canning pot they go.
I like to eat these berries with cheese or scattered on top of a salad of baby arugula, feta, and toasted almonds. They pair really well with creamy cheeses, and I’ll often take a jar to parties with a log of goat cheese and some sturdy crackers. They also go really nicely anywhere that you’d serve cranberry sauce.
- 3 pounds blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 3 inches fresh ginger, sliced
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and three pint jars and new lids.
- Wash the blueberries and pick them over for any stems or bad berries.
- Combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring them to a boil. Add the sliced ginger to the brine.
- Once the brine is boiling vigorously, add the blueberries. Stir to combine and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the brine has returned to a rolling boil and has started turning a vivid purple
- When cooking time has elapsed, remove pot from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, ladle the blueberries into the prepared jars. Cover the berries with brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place a few ginger slices into each jar. Remove any trapped air bubbles from the jars with a wooden or plastic tool, and adjust brine levels, if necessary.
- Wipe the jar rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals. Any unsealed jars should be kept in the refrigerator.
- Let jars sit for at least 24 hours before eating to all the flavors to settle.
Save any leftover brine. It’s essentially a fruit shrub and is delicious mixed with sparkling water.