Blueberry Bonanza

uaskigyrl(7)June 24, 2013

Hi All!

I was wondering if anybody has made the Blueberry Bonanza in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I like how it makes two products with one batch of blueberries (syrup and butter). If you made it, was it worth it?

Thanks
uaskigyrl

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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Since nobody has specifically answered, I would assume the answer to be that it hasn't been made by those who are currently active.

I generally find more use for blueberry jam that uses the whole berry. But, if you'd be more likely to use the syrup than a jam, then I would guess that the recipe makes sense to not waste the pulp and instead turn it into a butter.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 7:05PM
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alison(6b/OH)

Found 2 pound boxes of blueberries at my local kroger's this morning for $3.24 -- I'm trying out the Blueberry Bonanza recipe tonight or tomorrow! Will let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 6:32PM
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uaskigyrl(7)

I wanted to make a blueberry syrup for drinks and would hate to waste the pulp so this recipe caught my eye!

Sweet! I'm planning on going to pick more blueberries soon! I'm looking forward to hearing from you, Alison!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 7:31PM
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alison(6b/OH)

Well, I did it!

There's good news, and there's -- caveats. Be advised this takes a LOT of blueberries. I used 4 pounds, which at the insane price I found them for, only cost me $6.50, but I'd be hard put to buy so much at regular prices. If you're picking your own that's another matter!

It takes a lot of time. At least it did for me. I've not made jelly or juice from pulp before, and I swear it took hours to drip out five cups of juice. Frankly, I ended up scrapping the cheesecloth and dumping it in a regular mesh colander simply because midnight was approaching!

And it takes a lot of space. And more utensils than I have. Setting up space for the strainer, where it could sit undisturbed for a couple of hours was a pain. And the recipe directs you to cook the butter while you're cooking the syrup; I have only one jam pot, an enamelled Dutch oven, so I made the syrup and set the pulp aside until morning to make the butter.

The good news -- this stuff is fantastic! I was ambivalent about the syrup. I mean, I've had blueberry syrup before, it's nice but no big deal, right? Not this stuff. Soooooo rich and silky and essence of blueberry-ness. Really, really, really really good. I imagine this will get the most raves of anything I make this season.

I boiled the syrup a good long time, longer than the 35 minutes in the recipe, and it thickened up some. Still, I got 6 8-oz jars, 2 4-oz jars and a little in a glass for the fridge.

The butter also took a long time to cook, and I got 4 8-oz jars of that. It seemed like a lot of sugar; I think I only had about 3 cups of pulp for the 3 cups of sugar. I don't know how it ultimately set (I finished it right before leaving for work this morning) but it tasted really really nice, with all the lemon and the spices. (If I make it again, I may cut the sugar a little bit tho', so it's more blueberry taste and not sooo sugary.)

Long and short is -- I'm really glad I made this, and I think I may make another batch. Since I still have 8# of blueberries in the freezer. And I'll do it on a Saturday, when I have all day.

I say -- go for it! And good luck!

This post was edited by alison on Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 15:01

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:54PM
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myfamilysfarm

Any butter, I've found, takes a long time to get it done right. I like my roaster or crock pot for butters.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:52PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Thanks for posting the results!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:43PM
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uaskigyrl(7)

Awesome! Thanks for posting the results! I have a blueberry farm not far from me that does pick-your-own! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:17PM
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kriswrite(zone 8)

I've made it and was not at all impressed with the syrup. It's not thick, and it's awfully sugary.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 5:11PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Blueberries are low in acid and low in pectin, so in old-fashioned parlance, they're "unreliable setters." Generally without the addition of commercial pectin, they'll tend to a looser set. Getting a thick preserve can be difficult and it's easy to over-cook.

Basically with a butter you're evaporating out the water to the desired thickness. If you start it on the stovetop and then finish in the oven at a low even temperature (somewhere in the neighborhood of 250) you should be able to reduce sugar somewhat and get a thicker product without risk.

Carol

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 3:48AM
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alison(6b/OH)

Actually, the texture of the butter ended up good, but that's a great tip, Carol.

The syrup is a bit thinner than I would like. The taste is great, very intensely blueberry, but I wonder if I had just cooked it longer. Think putting that in the oven to finish would work?

Ah, well; I just keep it in the fridge after opening!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:35PM
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msmarieh(Z5/N IL)

Thanks for posting your reviews ladies. I am buying MI blueberries this weekend and I think I'll try this recipe. I'll look to see if there is anyway to streamline some of the steps.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 3:04PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I have one recipe for a strawberry preserve done in a shallow pan in the oven. It can yield a luscious result and I see no reason it wouldn't work for other fruits. The downside is I find it's more difficult to identify the jell point as the usual temperature tests don't apply. Basically it's a slow evaporation process rather than a cook-to-jellpoint process. You just have to be careful not to overcook, resulting in an excessively stiff preserve.

Carol

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 1:53PM
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myfamilysfarm

I'm having a terrible time with my blueberry jam. It doesn't seem to jell. I've reprocessed and added more pectin, but still doesn't seem to jell. How much extra pectin do I need to add to get a good jell.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:45PM
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cindy_7

mff-

You could try Ponoma Pectin. I've had good results with it and it doesn't expire like regular pectin.

Cindy

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:34PM
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myfamilysfarm

I bought 5# from nuts.com and have been very happy. I think I forgot the lemon juice. I made some low-sugar with Dutch Jell lite and it jelled, but I did add the lemon juice to that. I may just need to use it as syrup. Lesson learned, lol.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:35PM
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2ajsmama

Question about yield on this - the Bonanza recipe says 12C of berries and 3C water yields 5C juice which boiled down with 1C water, 3C sugar and 2C corn syrup yields 4 half pints (4C) of syrup. Seems awfully thick to me - and I would like to avoid the corn syrup.

The Ball Complete also has recipe for Blueberry Syrup without corn syrup on page 195. That calls for 8C of berries, but to compare to the Bonanza syrup, multiply by 1.5 (not sure if I'd actually make it that way), so 12C of berries, 3C of water makes unspecified amount of juice but let's say it's 5C since it's made the same way (maybe this recipe lets it drip longer - 2 hours).

Using 6C of water instead of 1, and 4.5C of sugar (again, adjusting the recipe for the 12C of berries) to make a simple syrup, then adding the (5C?) of juice, the yield would be 1.5 times 3 pints listed, or 9 half pints (9C), more than twice as much as the corn syrup version! And you still have the pulp to make butter with.

So is the version with corn syrup very thick (almost like corn syrup straight out of the bottle), is the no-corn-syrup product very thin (almost like sweetened juice)? Is there a happy medium without using corn syrup (like just boiling the simple syrup longer before adding the blueberry juice, or using a pouch of liquid pectin)?

I'd like opinions if anyone has made either (preferably both) of these recipes. I have a bunch of blueberries I picked and froze before the heat wave, it's raining and cooler today so I figured I'd make something with them and free up freezer space!

Thanks

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:39AM
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myfamilysfarm

I can tell you that the longer you cook syrup, the thicken it will get.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:38AM
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