We've picked a lot of blueberries this year. A total of about 6 gallons. Most of them have been frozen so we'll have them on hand for blueberry muffins, smoothies, or mixing them, still frozen, into our applesauce. But, this weekend I gave a try to making blueberry syrup. Since blueberries are higher in pectin than other berries, you don't cook it very long or you end up with jelly. And I speak from experience - I have several jars of blueberry jelly in my cabinet right now to prove it. :D After the jelly making episode, I looked around for other recipes. I ended up making some changes to one of the recipes I found that didn't use at least a cup of sugar for each cup of juice. This is what I ultimately used.
2c. water for cooking the berries
4c. water for the sugar solution
Mix the blueberries and 2c. of water in a large pot and cook for 10 -15 min. Most recipes tell you to mash the berries, one layer at a time as you add them to the pot, but blueberries are a little tough to try and mash. I let them cook a bit first because it breaks them down some, then I mash them while they cook. It just seems much easier that way for me. Once they have cooked awhile, I run them through my food mill to get all the juice. Blueberry syrup is so dark it's okay to get the very fine pulp in with it. You could press them through a sieve if you don't have a food mill, or you could drain them through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. Whatever way you do it, press as much juice as possible out of the berries. I ran them through my Roma food mill three times.
Next, clean out your large pot and thinly slice the peel off the lemon, making sure not to get the white part of the rind. Put the 4c. water, sugar, and lemon peel in the pot and bring the solution to a boil. Boil for approx. 15min. or until the syrup reads 225 degrees on a thermometer. While this cooks, juice the lemon. Once the syrup is ready, fish out the lemon peel and add the blueberry and lemon juice to the pot. Boil for 2 minutes once it returns to a boil. If the solutions starts to form a lump in the pan while your pouring in the juice, just keep cooking it. The mass will dissolve. This may have only happened to me because my juice was made on Saturday and held in the fridge until Sunday afternoon when I had the time to make the syrup, so it was cold. I don't know, but it didn't really hurt the final product.
Ladle the syrup into sterilized, half-pint jars, leaving 1/4" headspace, wipe rims, add lids and rings and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes once the water reaches a full boil and steam is escaping from under the lid.
There's not a huge amount of sugar in this, so it's not overly sweet, which I like.
I should also add that it is absolutely delicious over vanilla ice cream.
This recipe made almost 9 half-pints. The ninth jar was nearly full, but since I wanted to taste it, I didn't bother putting it in the canner. You could easily halve this recipe if you wanted.
I've linked this post with the Carnival of Home Preserving. Check her site out some time. There are some great links.
I've also linked with the Homestead Barn Hop. They also have a lot of great links.