Spicy Blueberry Preserves


Pick over, rinse and drain the berries. Combine them with water in a heavy, non-reactive 8 quart pan. Add the cinnamon and Bouquet Garni, tied with twine in a cheesecloth bag. Cover the pan and bring contents slowly to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 10 minutes.

Strain the blueberry juices for 5 minutes into a measuring container. Reserve the berries and spice bag in a large bowl. Pour the juices into a clean 5 quart pan and reduce them to 2 c. Return juice to a boil, stir in 2 T lemon juice and add 2 c sugar, 1/2c at a time allowing mixture to come to a boil before each addition. Continue cooking until mixture reaches the jell point, which is 8 degrees above the boiling temperature as measured on your thermometer. This will take 5-10 minutes.* Pour the hot jelly into the bowl containing the reserved blueberries and spices. Let them steep together for 15 minutes. Return all to the pan and bring to a boil. Add remaining T lemon juice and the last 1/4c sugar. Cook and stir frequently for 5 minutes**; the thickened preserves should heat to 216-218 degrees F.

Pour the finished preserves into a 1-quart measure and remove the spice bag. Stir the preserves once or twice over a 5-minute period. Fill hot, sterilized jars to within 1/4" of the lip. Wipe the rims clean, attach new lids and screw caps on tightly. Invert jars briefly to vacuum seal, or process in a boiling water bath, submerged by 1" for ten minutes.

* I've always needed longer than her indicated times
** Again- go by your thermometer, not her times
*** I've always added pectin to this recipe after once canning blueberry sauce that should have, according to the recipe, set up without pectin. It was delicious, but very runny, sauce and I've added pectin ever since, even if the recipe doesn't call for it.

Time to Prepare: Lots - Allow 3 hours

Submitted By: Betsy
Original Source: Gourmet Preserves

Despite the time needed and labor-intensity, this recipe is worth making.

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