Stocking the Pantry: Blackberries in Winter

berries on the vine

berries on the vine

This has been a banner year for blackberries in my climate. I have been picking a pint a day from the vines in my own yard, and more from random patches I have found on walks with my dog. I have made loads of jam, frozen some and given them away, but I have been searching for a new way to preserve them, and have remembered a trick from my childhood.

fresh harvest

fresh harvest

Fruit can be canned whole or sliced in a sugar syrup. I have tried this with the blackberries, and they are just lovely this way!

First, the syrup: I like a light syrup in mine. It doesn’t detract from the natural fruit flavor, and keeps their original color, beautifully.  My syrup is as follows: 1 cup of sugar to 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and continue a full rolling boil for 10 minutes.

Wash and dry fruit. Pour berries into a sterile jar to within 1 inch of top. Pour syrup over berries to same level (1 inch from top). Tightly fit lid and ring, and place in canning kettle. Cover jars with water to 2 inches above tops of jars. Bring water to a boil and begin timing. 10 minutes processing is all that is needed for this type of canned fruit.

Remove from water bath, and cool on a towel on the counter overnight.

That’s it! The fruit will last up to a year unopened on the shelf.

canned berries, ready for the pantry

canned berries, ready for the pantry

Later, when you are hankering for blackberries when it is cold outside, and Summer is a distant memory, your perfectly ripe berries will be ready for you!

One possible use for them is to stir a teaspoon of corn starch into the cool syrup and berries and heat them in a saucepan. When the syrup returns to clear (from being opaque) and the syrup is thick enough for your taste, it’s ready to be a delicious, nutritious pancake syrup, ice cream topping, or filling for a layer cake. The possibilities are endless. Summer can go on and on this way, no matter what the calender says!

Now that’s Awesome America!

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