Start to Finish: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Servings: Three 8-ounce jelly jars
Difficulty Level: Beginner
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Canning blueberry syrup at home is a simple, albeit time-consuming, process that can be accomplished with just a few tools. Homemade blueberry syrup tastes delicious and is free from the preservatives and high amounts of corn syrup prevalent in many store-bought fruit syrups. This recipe is a not too sweet version, so it can be served with sweet or savory dishes.
You can also use a double layer of cheesecloth, instead of a jelly bag, to strain the blueberry pulp.
3 1/2 cups blueberries
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Step 1: Cook and strain the blueberries
Wash and mash the blueberries with the masher in a saucepan and mix with 1 cup of water. You can also use the back of a large spoon or a muddler to mash the berries if necessary. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil steadily for 10 minutes. Stir the berries occasionally to continue breaking them down.
Strain the berries with a colander into a bowl and let them cool slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then strain the berries through the jelly bag, to puree out all the pulp and peels of the blueberries. It will take about an hour for the syrup to fully strain through the jelly bag.
Step 2: Make the blueberry syrup
Make a simple syrup by mixing the remaining water, the sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan and bringing it to a rolling boil. Stir in the blueberry syrup and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
Pour the blueberry syrup into the jelly canning jars -- commonly found in the canning supply aisle -- very carefully as the hot syrup can easily burn your skin. Leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch space between the surface of the syrup and the lip of the jar. Screw the lids onto the jars.
Step 3: Process the jars of syrup
Bring water to a boil in the canner -- this can be done while you're mixing the simple syrup with the blueberry syrup if you prefer -- and add the sealed jars once the water reaches a rolling boil. Place the lid on the canner and process for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner using the canning tongs and place on a toweled surface. Allow the jars to cool and set before storing. The syrup will last unopened for up to a year. Once opened, refrigerate the jar of syrup and use within 3 to 4 weeks.
There are a number of uses for blueberry syrup. While traditional foods like pancakes or waffles are tasty with this syrup, you can also mix a small amount in with plain yogurt or oatmeal for a fruity sweetener. Or try it mixed with red wine vinegar and olive oil for a vinaigrette dressing. You can also mix it with balsamic vinegar and turn it into a reduction sauce to be used on pork chops or other savory dishes. Vary the recipe slightly by adding lemon zest when boiling the blueberries for a stronger complementary flavor. You can also trade out the lemon zest and juice for orange or lime zest and juice.