It is really nice having several blueberry bushes on my backyard. Every summer I can enjoy this highly beneficial gift of nature without paying extra money.
Right behind my backyard fence, there’s a nice trail with blackberry bushes alongside. It’s another blessing, to collect some blueberries when it’s a season.
This little piece of nature always remind me my childhood when I visited my grandparents in a village. Every summer I went to the nearby forest to collect blackberries and bilberries (these are smaller than blueberries in size).
Years back, when I lived in Ukraine, I used to do a lot of canning. There were no much available fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries during long winter and spring seasons. If there were any on market, they were too expensive and not affordable for most families. So that was a huge part of Ukrainian tradition – to preserve/conserve all kinds of vegetables, vegetable salads, berries and fruits in forms of compote (like this one) and/or jams.
Today I had some extra blueberries so I decided to go behind my backyard and collect some blackberries, mix them and can, to make delicious drink, called “kompot” (compote), later. This is a good way to save berries for later if you don’t have extra space in freezer.
I washed the berries, and filled both blackberries and blueberries into clean 1-qt glass jars (you can take only one kind of berries too).
I often use a canning funnel to fill jars with berries.
Then I added 3 tbsp sugar into each jar.
My traditional way of canning is a water bath canning. If you like canning a lot, you may get a nice stainless still water bath caner kit. Or just simply use a deep pot if you have one available at home.
Then I put jars into a large pan, putting a paper towel on the bottom (you may put a rack, if you have one), filled jars with boiling water and filled a pan with hot tap water up to 3/4 of jars height.
Then I put lids loosely on the top of each jar, took to the range top on high heat, cover a pan with a lid.
When It started boiling, I reduced heat and boiled jars with berries for 10-15 minutes (you can extend boiling time to 20 minutes if unsure about food safety).
Then I took each jar out of a pan, using a jar lifter, then twisted each lid ring tightly.
Sometimes I may reuse old lids. Before using, I always inspect them if they still look good (not bent edges, rubber sealing compound is rubbery, soft and not dried out) . In this case it is highly recommended to turn each jar upside down and keep it for a while, then check later to make sure there is no air leak. With new lids this step may not be necessary, but I do it anyway, just in case (the old habit).
After a while, turn the jars upright and the berries are ready to store for later time.
Anytime later, after opening, I pour out berry juice into a pitcher, add more water and sugar to taste. The mix of blackberries and blueberries creates an amazingly tasty drink. Many times when I have guests I make this compote drink and every time they are asking what is it made of. It tastes delicious!
You can use this way of canning for other berries like cherries or strawberries.
Canned berries can have a long shelf life, up to several years, if stored properly in cool place. Before opening any canned/jarred products, always inspect it for a bulging lid first. If this happens, never use it, discard it away. If a lid looks good, open and inspect by smell and visually. If anything seems suspicious, never use it, through it away. Don’t risk and stay healthy, eat only high quality food.