24 June 2013

Blueberry Butter and My First Attempt at Canning

Though sometimes my stage in life doesn't permit me to be zealous about it, I am hugely into preservation. I want to preserve the past, I want to preserve cemeteries, I want to preserve the earth, and I want to preserve food. ;-) Why not, right? I've actually been wanting to get into canning for a very long time. Kind of like the food blog thing -- years. Remember, though, I am so NOT into cooking the savory. I'm all about the sweet stuff. So butters, jams, jellies, and the like are right up my alley.

I've hesitated with these delectables in the past mainly because I thought it was time consuming and a little silly when there is just two people in the house. Even though both of those reasons are nonsense, I feel better about it when partnering the process with canning.

Since I've been doing a ton of reading on the subject, I've become mildly obsessed with the Food in Jars blog. And that is where I found my first recipe -- Slow Cooker Blueberry Butter. (That just sounds awesome, doesn't it?)

I was a little nervous about waste if I screwed something up, so I made a very small batch, beginning with 3 pints of pureed blueberries.

Marisa (at FiJ) wrote about leaving the blueberries in her slow cooker for five hours on low, then notching it up to high for the sixth. I have a 1.5 quart Crock Pot that has only one setting (supposedly low), and it worked just fine. I did have my butter in for a total of seven hours, though.

After five hours, I added the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (just halving her recipe). I did zest a whole lemon like she put in her full batch.

I'm not sure I can express how delicious this stuff is. I thought the blueberries alone were pretty tasty, but the nutmeg and lemon are standouts that make it divine. I've had it with my toast every morning since.

How did I fair with the canning process, you ask? Very well, thank-you! I literally had only one pint jar to go with, but I got my experience. I have a Ball Canning Discovery kit that had been sitting in my pantry for at least a year. It comes with a basket that I used with my deepest pasta pot -- about seven inches. Right away I could tell that was pushing it in depth, but I pressed on with fingers crossed.

After processing for ten minutes, I set the jar on the table anticipating the "ping"! Twenty-four hours later I tested the seal. The lid was firm when pressed, no movement at all. And I could lift my jar by the lid alone without worry of it coming off and spilling my beautiful blueberry butter. Success!

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