How to Make Homemade Canned Blueberries - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs

This month's notes: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

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How to Make Home-canned Blueberries and other Berries - Easily!

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Making and canning your own blueberries is also quite easy.  These directions may also be used with raspberries, blackberries, currants, dewberries, elderberries, gooseberries, huckleberries, tayberries, loganberries and mulberries. It doesn't work for strawberries; they are too soft.  Instead, see this page for canning strawberries.

Here's how to make it, in 12 easy steps and completely illustrated. These directions work equally well for regular sugar, low sugar, fruit juice-sweetened and Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda)-sweetened jam.

For more information about blueberries, see Blueberry Picking Tips.   Here are some other related pages:

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Fruit - fresh blueberries - any quantity  - the crunch down some, so you'll need about 1 and 1/4 pints raw per pint jar finished.
  • Lemon juice - either fresh squeezed or bottled. Alternatively, Citric acid (brand name, fruit fresh).
  • Sugar - About 3 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar. See step 6. It is possible to make low-sugar,  fruit juice-sweetened, or Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda)-sweetened fig jam; I'll point out the differences below.
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you need, and at a pretty good price:
  • 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
  • Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7.50 per dozen pint ounce jars including the lids and rings)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.

Optional stuff:

  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)

Blueberry Canning Directions

This example shows you how to make canned blueberries. The yield from this recipe is about 7 pint jars per 9 pints of raw berries.

Step 1 - Pick the blueberries! (or buy them already picked)

It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!

I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy, don't require pesticides and they make beautiful landscaping plants with red/gold leaves in the Autumn - but that does take some space and time.

As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use frozen blueberries (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some jam in December to give away at Christmas!

Choose ripe, sweet berries with uniform color. At left are blueberries almost ripe! If you want to pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms.

Step 2 - How much fruit?

Canned blueberries can be made in large or small batches - you can can one jar at a time if that's all you have.

Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids

Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.

NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes.

Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam. Some newer dishwashers even have a "sanitize" setting.

Step 4 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water

Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming water is fine)
water (or on the stove in a pot of water on low heat) for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean and sanitize  the lids.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?

Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!

 

Step 5 -Wash the berries and sort!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a colander of plain cold water.

Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy berries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the berries as they float.  With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy berries get caught in your fingers.

Then just drain off the water!

Step 6 - Make and heat the syrup

Depending upon which type of sweetener you want to use (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concetration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice) you will need to use a different syrup from below. Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color, and shape. It does not prevent spoilage of these foods. Heat the syrup to near boiling in a pot.

Most people prefer the medium syrup (highlighted) or blueberry juice with added sugar!

 

 

Sugar syrup proportions for 7 to 9-pint jars of blueberries (double it for 9 quart jars)

  Type of syrup
(Choose ONE)
Water
(cups)
Fruit
juice
(cups)
Sugar
(cups)
Powdered Splenda, or Stevia
1 Plain water 7 0 0 0
2 no calorie sweetener 7 0 0 1/4 cup
3 Fruit juice (white grape or peach juice works well) 0 7 0  
4 Reduce calorie / fruit juice 4 3 0  
5 Fruit juice and Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) 0 7 0 1/2 cup
6 very low calorie 7 0 1/4 1/4 cup
7 very light (10% sugar) 7 0 1 0
8 light (20% sugar) 6 0 2 0
9 medium (30% sugar) 6 0 3 0
  • Nutrasweet (aspartame) will NOT work - it breaks down during heating).
  • Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) (sucralose) substitutes exactly with sugar BUT even the manufacturers of Splenda will tell you that you get best results if you just use a 50-50 mix; half regular sugar and half Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda).
  • Sugar not only affects the sweetness, but also the color and flavor.  It does not affect the preserving or spoilage properties - that has to do with acid and the processing method.

Step 7 - Add the natural preservative to the jars

Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar to each of the jars.  Alternatively, you may add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (also goes under the brand name "fruit fresh") per quart or 1/4 teaspoon per pint to the jars. This is to increase the acidity and help prevent discoloration and spoilage.

Step 8 - Fill the jars with blueberries

Fill jars with blueberries, gently tapping the bottom of the jar on the countertop to help pack the blueberries down gently (tapping does it without breaking the blueberries).

Note about "hot packing" vs. "raw packing".  You may have noticed that some recipes or canning directions call for the berries to be heated in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds to several minutes before filling the jars.  That is the 'hot pack" method.  We're using the "raw pack" method (no preheating) because most berries are delicate and would be adversely affected by the preheating, and being small, it isn't needed to ensure uniform heating in the canner!

Step 9 - Fill the airspace in the jars with syrup

Add the hot syrup from step 6, leaving 1/4 to 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe any spills jam off the rim of the jar.

 

 

 

Step 10 - Put the lid /rings on and put in the canner

Seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.  This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy! Place them into the canner

 

 

 

Step 13 - Process the jars in the canner (either boiling water bath or pressure canner)

You can use either a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner, since there is sufficient acidity in berries. In the water bath canner, keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling.

The processing times are shown for each type of canner in the tables below!

 

 

 

 

 

To adjust, process according to the recommendations in the table below:

Recommended process time for raw pack Blueberries in a
Boiling-water Canner
.

 Process Time at Altitudes of
Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Pints 15 min 20 20 25
Quarts 20 min 25 30 35

 

Recommended process time for raw pack Blueberries in a
Pressure Canner

Canner pressure (pounds of pressure) at altitudes of
Jar Size Processing time 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 and above
Pints 8 min 5 1b 10 1b
Quarts 10 min 5 1b 10 1b

Step 14 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!

Lift the jars out of the water in the water bath canner (wait till pressure is zero in a pressure canner) and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.

Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last about 18 months. After that, the get darker in color and start to get runny. They still seem safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 12 to 18 months after you prepare them!

 

 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:


Summary - Cost of Making Home Canned Blueberries - makes 7 pint jars, 16 oz each**

Item Quantity Cost in 2006 Source Subtotal
Blueberries 11 lbs (about 2 gallon, or 4 dozen large blueberries) $8.00/gallon Pick your own $8.00
Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings 7 jars $7.50/dozen Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $7.50
Sugar 1 cup $0.50 Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $0.50
Total $16.00 total
or about $2.30 per pint jar

* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! If you already have jars or reuse them, just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!

Answers to Common Questions


This page was updated on

Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

Home Canning Kits

Features:

Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!