Gingery Pickled Blueberries for International Can-It-Forward Day

August 1, 2015(updated on August 30, 2021)

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?

blueberries in colander

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.

pouring berries into colander

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.

berry-stained tools

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.

pickled blueberries side

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.

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Gingery Pickled Blueberries


  • 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.

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35 thoughts on "Gingery Pickled Blueberries for International Can-It-Forward Day"

  • Can one do this with frozen blueberries. Not knowing about canning options, other than pie filling for blueberries, I purchased a flat and froze them. This looks yummy

    1. It’s best not to do this one with frozen blueberries because they don’t hold their texture as well as fresh.

    1. I won’t bother to peel the ginger when I make it. You’re not eating the ginger and since its sliced there will be plenty of cut surface for the flavor to get out.

  • I have some tart cherries left over from soaking in balsamic vinegar. Any ideas on how to preserve them? I know they are already preserved in a way, but could they be made into a crazy jam or jarred up somehow? Or am I being insane and I’m really best off just trying to eat them now?

  • Saving this recipe!! Thank you. This sounds good and I have a daughter who is in love with blueberries and ginger.

  • Is this recipe safe to can for shelf storage? We have some immunity issues in our family and I usually only use recipes from extension offices. Also, how do you recommend I make processing adjustments for elevation? Thank you!

  • Hey, Thanks for sharing. can I share these informations on my facebook? (I will transfer to chinese). In addition, I can’t understand the function of brine? Brine means salt with water?

    1. I would prefer that you not share my content in a translated state. And brine can also mean a pickling liquid, whether it’s water with salt or water, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

  • How much is 3 lbs measured approx in cups or litres? A kitchen scale is on my wishlist …. and i buy by the tub or flat which are not usually by weight …

  • I live at 3600 altitude and always add on an additional 10 minutes of processing time. Do you think these blueberries would disintegrate too much?

  • These were a little tart for our taste. I presume that the vinegar water ratio must stay for preservation purposes, but would a little more sugar be ok. Also 5 minutes was a little long. We had a few popped berries.Still. pretty tasty.

    1. You could certainly add more sugar. And the cooking time really depends on the freshness of the berries. If five minutes was too long, shorten it next time.

  • Hi! I just made this tonight and it smells and tastes wonderful! I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!

    I had a few issues though, and I’m hoping you might have some insight. I had exactly 3 pounds of big fat sweet local blueberries. My yield came out to about 2.25 pints with an extra 1.5 pints of brine. It took a while to get my blueberries back up to a rolling boil, and by the time it did, they had all burst. Is my yield so off because my blueberries shrunk so much?

    Or, should I not have filled the jars so full of blueberries? It looks like your jars have a lot more brine in them than mine do, from the photo.

    Are the shrunken blueberries just an aesthetic bummer? (I suppose they wouldn’t be too pretty in a cocktail.)

    I went ahead and canned the extra brine to use for shrubs. Can I assume that the 10 minutes is enough for them to be shelf stable or should they go in the fridge?

    Thanks for your recipes! I have all of your books (2 of them signed!) <3

    1. I think the popping of the blueberries is the reason you had a lower yield. The goal with this product is to have the berries remain intact. If they pop, they release their juice, which then makes it possible to squeeze more fruit into the jars. Because of that, you’ll then end up with a lot more liquid. The shrunken blueberries won’t be quite as beautiful, but they are going to perform beautifully in pan sauces and braises. They won’t be a gorgeous for cocktails.

      You did just the right thing with the extra brine. Ten minutes is plenty and it will be great as a shrub.

  • Have you tried this recipe broken into smaller quantities, like 5 or 6 half pints? Would the head space and processing time change because of that? I’d love to gift this in smaller quantities while keeping a full pint for myself.


  • This is the first food In jars failure I’ve had in years of using the recipes. Don’t do these with big juicy blueberries like bluecrop. They don’t hold up at all+- it’s just mush, even t without stirring, and canning is going to mushify it more. Going to try to cook it down to a chutney maybe, with some dried fruit and nuts or something. I’d hate to just throw out 3lbs of berries. I think just pouring hot brine over fresh berries would work (I do quickle berries this way all the time), but I assume that won’t be shelf stable. Thanks anyway 😉

  • Hi being diabetic May I substitute an alternative as monkfruit ? Help I really love to make this Thanks so much for your help n recipe

    1. I’ve not tried it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. Just know that because sugar is a preservative and monkfruit doesn’t contain any true sugar, the blueberries will probably lose their color faster than they would have otherwise.