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This post about preserving blueberries is sponsored by Fagor America. I received their pressure canning kit at no charge to facilitate this post but all opinions are my own.
Eating local, in season produce is easy when you live only a few hours from Florida and it is the peak of summer. I go to farmers markets and even out to my own back yard and there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available. When winter gets here, however, all the produce is coming from Chili or South Africa and I refuse to buy things that are not grown here in the US unless I can buy the organic version. The solution, obviously, is to preserve all of this local, in season produce until I need it in January. Over the years I have mainly been using my freezer or dehydrator to save all these summer goodies. Preserving blueberries, hot peppers, rhubarb and all of the other tasty things I grow in my garden or find at the market. I have been hesitant to start canning, although the idea has always appealed to me. Canning allows me to store things at room temperature rather than taking up valuable freezer space. I recently received the Duo 9 Piece Canning Set from Fagor America to try out in my kitchen. I decided to try preserving blueberries using pressure canning instead of freezing and thought I would share my experience with you. Keep in mind that this is the first time I have canned ANYTHING! I was a little nervous but the entire process was very easy. If you are interested in preserving blueberries, carrots, homemade stock or anything else you don’t have room for in your freezer here is how things went in my own kitchen. Keep in mind that this is my first canning attempt…I got directions from the Fagor America recipe book and directions that came with my canning set and also referred to the back of the package of the Ball canning jars that I used. Your experiences may vary! For full directions and more images you can check out the Fagor American canning guide.
Fist things first you need to start with fresh, clean blueberries with no random stems. Pull out all the ones that aren’t quite ripe or are a bit too squishy. Wash them in a stainer and let sit while you get everything else ready.
Everything you are using must be very clean! Wash all canning jar lids and rims in hot, soapy water. Then put in a large pot of water and bring to a simmer on the stove. Keep hot but not boiling until you are ready to use them. Jars must also be sterile. The easiest way I found that was recommended was to wash them in the dishwasher and leave the door closed so the interior stays HOT. Make sure you use the jars when they are still warm to reduce the risk of glass breaking when you add hot food into them.
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Put on a kettle full of water to boil. You will need to add a bit of hot water to each jar if you are preserving blueberries….if you are pressure canning something like jam or stock you won’t need to add liquid. Jam will be my next project but this time I am just canning plain blueberries. Bring another large pot of water to boil and dump in the blueberries. Heat for about 30 seconds. When I researched preserving blueberries I found information on ‘hot packing’ or ‘cold packing’ and wasn’t sure which way was best. Since the Fagor America recipe book used a hot packing method that is what I went with but I might try cold packing fruit on my next canning experiment. If you have any input on this I would love to hear it!
So, you have sterile jars now on the counter and hot blueberries. Just add the hot berries into the canning jars, leaving about 1/2 inch head space at the top. Add 1/4 cup hot water (I used pint sized jars) and remove any gas bubbles that may be trapped in there. The Fagor America canning kit came with a handy little plastic stirring rod for that purpose. Then, I used the magnetic lid lifter to pick the lids and rims out of the hot water and set them on the jars. Loosely screw the lids onto the jars. Pick up the jars and set them into the Fagor pressure canner that has the wire rack at the bottom and a few inches of steaming hot water.
Use the direction appropriate for your pressure canner to finish the canning process. Once the jars have been processed and cooled, check the seal to make sure it worked. Push down the center of the lid….if you hear a ‘pop’ the seal didn’t ‘take’ and you should put them in your refrigerator and use them in the next couple of weeks. Jars with a good seal can be stored at room temperature. Make sure you label and date everything you can so you know what is in there.
Preserving Blueberries using a Pressure Canner
So, what did I think of the Fagor America canning set? This is really a very complete set with everything I needed to get started canning except the jars. The accessories made handling hot jars and lids easy and the books that came with the set were very thorough. I was pleased to see a ton of pictures, not only of the food but of the steps in the directions. There are very easy to understand markings on the pressure canner so you know what settings to choose. All of the accessories fit right into the pressure canner itself, making storage easier. I only canned 4 jars of blueberries and had 2 that sealed and 2 that didn’t. I figure the more I can the better I will get at it so I am going to check out the farmer’s markets and see what else I can find to experiment with. Now that I have done it once, canning isn’t quite as intimidating! The Fagor canning set should get a lot of use over the years and I am happy to have a way to extend my selection of local, in season produce into the winter!
Disclaimer: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”: I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. Some of the links in this post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.