Canning Fresh Blueberries at Masala Farm with Suvir Saran

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Canning seems to be one of those skills that you are born into. Most canners can’t remember the first time they saw their mom or granny doing it, it was just always there. I imagine them sitting in a bouncy seat on the kitchen counter watching as jars got filled with the season’s crops. Next thing they knew they were in the process of washing fruit, brewing simple syrup and dunking jars in caldrons of hot water.

Then there are folks like me, who are completely enamored with the notion of “putting up” food, but find it a daunting mystery, too big to take on as an adult. Either you’re born with it, or you’re not, was how I thought.

I imagine it is similar to how many folks feel about baking bread. Too time consuming, difficult and rife with stories of disaster. Knowing full well that this doesn’t have to be the case with bread, doesn’t it stand to reason that I could have faced canning as well? It took a visit to Suvir Saran’s American Masala Farm to show me the way. He gave me the gift of canning!

In the amount of time it took me to make a cup of coffee he’d set himself up to preserve a batch of fresh berries he’d bought at a local farmer’s stand. He was so nonchalant about it all. I grabbed my camera and in the following 45 minutes he rocked my world. I asked Suvir how he learned this art and he confirmed my suspicions …

“I first saw canning when watching my mother can jams, jellies, ketchup and squash in Nagpur, India. My mom sowed the seeds when I was in first grade.”

Those of you born into canning families may think my discovery is as obvious as breathing air, but for those of you who have avoided it, I hope you, like me, will be inspired to “put up” everything you can get your hands on*. My only issue now is getting enough jars.

Suvir’s Canning Fresh Blueberries in Lavender Simple Syrup

*This process does have to be done by the guidelines set up by the USDA to ensure that you are eliminating any chance of food poisoning. Suvir consults the Bell Jar books to find out the proper cooking times for various fruits.

Fruit or berries can be used for this recipe. The amount will be determined by the size and quantity of your jars.

Simple Syrup – equal parts water and sugar, amount will also be determined by quantity and size of jars.

Vanilla Bean, scraped (use 1 bean per quart of simple syrup).

Lavender sprigs

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

During my visit to Suvir’s we stopped at nearly every farm stand we passed and he knew all the farmers intimately. It IS a small community, but also Suvir is dedicated to supporting his neighbors and eating locally. This seems to be both an effort to eat the tastiest, ripest, most gorgeous foods, but it is also because he is deeply connected to the people. Brian Talmadge is the farmer from whom he bought the Chandler blueberries. Brian and his wife Christina teach in local schools and run Black Lab Farm.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

The blueberries were plump, sweet and juicy. Had I been picking them, I doubt I’d have enough to put in the jars after popping them in my mouth as I went along.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Suvir has way more willpower than I do and told me “In Cherry season, Grandma Burd (His partner Charlie’s grandmother) and I can pit about 100 pounds of cherries in 2-3 hours and then make jam, process and package and cool that and enjoy the next morning. There is a certain joy to working so hard. It comes from knowing you are preserving the best of a season to bring it back in even greater magic in seasons hence. A rewarding act in the kitchen that brings joy back in times when you need it. Like the very cold and frigid mornings and short days of winter in North Country. Nothing like waking up people to the smell and sounds of fresh biscuits, good thick, steak-cut bacon and an assortment of home made jams and jellies.” – you can find recipes for the biscuits and assorted jams in Suvir and Charlie’s upcoming book Masala Farm.

Blueberries are an easy way to get started because all you have to do is rinse them and they are ready to go. But I tasted his cherries and they are well worth the extra effort of dealing with the pits. I imagine the company of Charlie’s grandma makes that time fly!

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

There is some equipment that you need and some that just makes the process easier.

A big caldron Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack for boiling/sanitizing the jars

The Jar Lifter – which Suvir is using above to get the jars out of the pot of boiling water, which sanitizes the jars before filling them.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Fill the sanitized jars to the top and then tuck in the lavender.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Of course, Suvir and Charlie have a gorgeous supply of fresh herbs on the farm, so I just went out and snipped lavender.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Suvir set a giant vat of simple syrup to boil with vanilla beans. Any leftovers can be refrigerated or turned into sorbet.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Ladle the hot syrup over the berries to fill the jar.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Make sure it goes to the top.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

The lids also need to be boiled to sanitize them.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Lift the lids out of the water with a Ball Magnetic Lid Lifter so that you don’t contaminate the lid, nor burn your fingers.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Screw the lids tight.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Place the jars back into the boiling caldron of water and cook to the directed amount of time, as determined by the USDA, which can be found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

Lift the jars out and set to cool on a towel.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

That is it. I promise it is that easy. I had a master chef teaching me, and I do mean TOP CHEF MASTER, but the process is simple once you have the equipment and the correct times.

canning blueberries with Suvir Saran at Masala Farm | photo by Zoë François

The result is gorgeous and as Suvir said, you will be so happy in January when you can open up a jar of berries and recall summer. I popped the seal on these blueberries when I was visiting my in-laws in Vermont. They turn out like a thin jam, with a sweet syrup, which is perfect as a sauce on dessert or just to eat on buttered toast. I served them on fresh whipped cream sitting on a lightly toasted almond dacquoise. It was a perfect summer dessert, one I will make again this winter and think of Suvir and my time at his farm. Thank you my friend for such a gift.

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76 thoughts to “Canning Fresh Blueberries at Masala Farm with Suvir Saran”

  1. I have a deep-rooted connection to preserving food through canning, baking bread from scratch, and indulging in homemade meals and gardening. My passion for these activities knows no bounds. As for the Peanut Butter pie, it holds a special place in my heart as it happens to be my son’s absolute favorite dessert. I reserve the joy of making it exclusively for him during holiday occasions. Needless to say, he will be immensely grateful and delighted! Laughter ensues letmelivebetter explains.

  2. These look lovely, and it’s almost blueberry time. I can’t find the amount of headspace needed—I did see “fill it to the top,” but that’s counter to other canning I do, so I want to be sure. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly! They do get filled all the way to the top–check out the photos in the blog post above for reference. I hope this helps. Enjoy!

  3. When I came to America I fell in love with two things: quilts and canning. As soon as I could I started with wild berries jellies, graduating to jams then water boil canning and then pressure canning. Nothing equals the feeling of seeing storage shelves filled with all kinds of canned items!! And I also collect quilts from families who (gasp!) throw away beautifully made quilts!

  4. My Aunt started teaching me when I was about 12. I actually think she just wanted help. But wanted to learn, We started withjams and preserves. Apricot, peach, blueberry, blackberry, apple, Marsala wine pear!!!every fruit you name…we canned. Then,we progressed to vegetables…One year we made watermelon pickles in her husband’s mother’s grandmother’s crock! She gave it to me. I treasure it. I wept when she passed. She was like a second Mom. I continued my journey into meats, syrups, and nuts! I just finished chicken stock and black-eyed peas today!!! I love this because any home cook can get delicious fresh home cooked food with a side of satisfaction!!!! Blessings to you and yours!

  5. I was watching one of those live Ball tutorial and they said you no longer have to boil the lids to sterilize them. All you do is wash them in hot soapy water. I’m trying it this year. I just got a load of blueberries, I’m going to try this recipe 🙂

  6. Hello! I just made this….. Looks great… Except jar is leaking…. I guess the lid was not on…… Can we open and use tomorrow or refrigerate for a certain amount of time? Also…. How long do you boil filled jars for?

  7. All I want is the recipe. The pictures are nice but completely unnecessary. What are the ingredients???!!!!

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      As I say in the post, it depends on the fruit you want to use and the size of the jars you have. All the ingredients and instructions are written there. Read through it again and you’ll find them.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. Dont you wipe your rims before placing the rings to ensure good contact with the rubber on the lid? I’ve always done so especially when working with substances other than water.

  9. I’m touched by your mention of Jennifer’s husband and I’m glad you did, because a friend died a few days ago and I’ve been lost in the experience and pickled some onions in angst. These bastards will be amazing in her honor.

    The blueberries must be just like canned cherries and great in drinks. I recently did a batch of cherries like this and the results have been great. Some bourbon in an old fashioned, rum in a blueberry mojito, that’s some good stuff right there. So anyways, thanks for the blueberry concepts and flashback and hope your friend has healed. Cheers.

  10. Since I don’t have access to the canning time book is there a basic time for processing that I could use and then adjust that based on my sea level?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      I would check the Ball Canning website. There are so many variables and you want to make sure you get it right or the canning doesn’t work and can be unsafe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I did this last night, using lemon peel instead of lavendar. I checked a couple of my jars today and they have sealed–but in two of them, the blueberries are stuck together in clumps! One I kind of jiggled around a bit and loosened the clumps, but the other is still clumpy. I have NEVER had this happen before! Should I be afraid??

    1. Hi Mari,

      The berries will rise to the top of the jar, which is totally normal. I may have had them packed in tighter, so you just don’t see as much of the syrup at the bottom of my jars.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I have tonnes of berries and would like to try this right away. I love blueberries, although not when there cook. I don’t have access to lavender right now. Is the lavender and vanilla beans a preservative or flavor only. Can I preserve them in the simple syrup only?

  12. I do not have fresh lavender for this recipe. Do you think that I could use Lavender essential oil for this recipe?

    1. Hi Christy,

      Make sure the oil is edible. Some are suitable for use on skin, but are not edible. If so, be sure to use it sparingly, since they are very intense and your berries will end up tasting like soap.

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Casey,

      If you can them properly they will last for a very long time. If you are just pouring them in a jar and refrigerating them, then you probably have a week.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. I have canned a lot during my life but never canned blueberries, I need to try this soon thanks for sharing

  14. to Suvir Saran, you have a great talent and it is wonderful to pass on to someone to enjoy! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and the beauty is in sharing and passing it on for others to learn from and share also. Thank you for sharing with Zoe so she could share with all who want to learn canning.

  15. I was one of those that grew up with my grandmother who used to can just about everything. I have been making my own relish and canning that, but it takes so darn long for the water to boil, in the summer – that’s just not fun 😉

    I never even thought to can fruit – ha! I am going to try steaming this year, I bought a new canner that you can do either water bath or steam – have you ever tried it? It takes less water and time, kinda nervous about it, but gotta try it to find out, right 😉

    Thanks for sharing the process of canning blueberries.

  16. I just love to can. I preserve almost everything like that. From pizza sauce to well just about everything. This looks like a great idea, Im wondering if you can raspberries like this as well. I have a big farm of fruit, vegetables and herbs, so I really will try the blueberries. Thanks for the story that came with it. Keep it up. love reading it.

  17. I also was born in to canning, bread making, just home scratch food & gardening. I have a great passion for all. On the Peanut Butter pie not a problem. That is my sons favorite & I only make it for him at holiday time. So he will greatly appreciate this. LOL

  18. Thank you for this post and I am enviouos of your stove. This is a lovely process one I will be doing tonight!.. Love blueberry season!

  19. I have been around canning all of my life and I still LOVE “putting up” vegetables and fruit! There is something about that instant gratification that I just love! I can about 50 qts of tomatoes every summer as well as other veges and I make some awesome jams and preserves, sorry for the patting of my own shoulder! I should rephrase that by saying that everyone says that they are amazing!

    My question is, I pick blueberries every summer also, and never really knew what to do with them except freeze them. Unfortunately, I have found that unless you are going to bake with them, they are not very good to use in other ways. I have 4 gallons of frozen blueberries in the freezer and would love to use them for this recipe with the simple syrup and lavender. Do you think they would be ok or would they turn to a soggy mess?

    I am so glad that I found your site thru SB Canning’s Facebook page! I can’t wait to look around here in the morning! Thanks for sharing all of your experience and excitement for canning!

  20. This is such a wonderful post….in so many ways! I am dying to learn to can most of my life, but with no one to show me, I have been quite intimidated by the task. I think the photos and descriptions you gave were fabulous….not only were they gorgeous, but they also make it seem so much easier than I tend to think canning is. But I must say, after enjoying this post as much as I did, I read down through the comments and fell in love with the two of you. Suvir….you are much too hard on yourself. Humble for sure and definitely beautiful inside and out! I was so touched by your comments about your friend Zoe. You are a true friend and obviously a very loving, sweet person. You made me wish I knew you as well, for everyone needs a person like you in their life. 🙂 I wish the best for you both! I am new to this blog, but think I will now have to check in regularly. Thank you for spreading your joy of life to us all.

  21. Thanks for the great post Zoe. I can’t wait for the next berry season to come so that I can try this out with the saskatoon berries I grow in my backyard. I usually end up with tons of them from my huge tree and would like an alternative to pies and jam and this might just be the perfect solution. I’ll me sure to put up a post on the blog once I try it out.

  22. What a lovely, lovely nod to blueberries and canning. I learned to can years ago, no longer do. . .but I absolutely marveled at how I could turn an entire kitchen purple, and my 80 year old neighbor processed even more, but her old kitchen was neat and clean from start to finish, not a drop of purple anywhere.

  23. Yes Suvir, once I get my hands on the Jamuns, will do just that…wonder if we can make jams or jellies with Jamuns…we can, right?

    Yes, have that problem with Jamuns, can’t eat too many at one stretch…eat some, wait a while and eat some more, smile…

  24. Suvir,
    I am the proud owner of 12 beautiful quart jars of vanilla bean infused peaches. Okay, only 11 will make it to the winter shelves, my husband had to sample. . . .I will be doing more soon. . . I ran out of peaches. . . my daughter (6) thinks peeling peaches is great fun, and spent most of the afternoon with me working on this.

    Thank you for this inspiration!


  25. I have an Indian friend that is like a sister to me. The first time she ever tried blueberries was in a pie my mom baked. I have never seen anyone slowly savor anything as much as she did that pie. I think blueberries hit the Indian taste buds just right.

    Just like the first time I had a mango lassi. It was like I was drinking something that I had waited my whole life to drink.

  26. Hello Suvir! Thanks for the message – Zoe and I will have to plan a trip to see you – that would be fantastic! Spoiling is NEVER a bad thing, and we are always on the look-out for girls’ trips! 😉 The honor would be mine. Loved hearing about their visit to see you, sounded fabulous!

    I am great, thanks for asking! Zoe gave me the “Welcome Spoken Here” post card – love the connection and the sentiment! Will have to be in touch with her about our work – as different as it is, yet a common sensibility…

    Hope you are well!

  27. Jen Sommerness – Come visit us at the farm with (preferably) or without Zoe (we would still LOVE to have you, and spoil you as best we know and can) anytime you are able to. It would be an honor to host you. I am a HUGE fan of yours. How are you?

  28. Mari – Thanks for commenting here. How wonderful that you are already pickling and canning.
    This particular recipe is for canning whole berries. You can do it with blueberries, black raspberries, cherries, peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries. Raspberries and black raspberries are very delicate.

    When making jam out blueberries and other fruits, you have to cook longer and get the jam to the jamming consistency. Since you want a spoonfruit or jam that will neither be too set or too runny. Or want it the way you like it to be.

    Glad you find my smile refreshing. That is the power of friendship. Zoe is very dear to me.

    LOVE making marmalades. Hope to have Zoe at my side when I do that this winter. Zoe, shall we plan on that?

  29. Hi Suvir and Zoe!

    Thanks for sharing this easy technique of making canned berries. I have been in pursuit of making jams/jellies for a while now, since I have seen my mother make blueberry/strawberry and mango jam in her days. I am now trying to do those things, and have so far done pickled cucumbers, pickled chayote, jalapeno jelly, lemon/orange marmalade. I still have to crack on berries…and thanks for this technique, I sure will try this. Question tho, how long will this last? Will this work with any fruit? I really love this method because I do not want to put pectin. Thanks in advance and to tell you the truth Suvir, it is so refreshing to see the smile on your face while being photographed by Zoe.

  30. Jennifer – Thanks a ton for sharing the lessons you gleaned from your mom-in-law canning and you being part of that invaluable lesson.
    She taught you VERY well.
    The art of canning is a chore in the preservation of perfection of scent, taste and ultimate overall flavor.
    If you can substandard fruits, you get substandard jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys.
    Can the best and the best outcome awaits your tastebuds whenever you savor this treats.

    Of course the lid story is wonderful too. I am glad you shared it. It is that kind of detail that can save so many years. Thanks for sharing.

    What are you going to can in the next several weeks?

  31. Sharon – I have never canned Jamun’s.
    They are very sour… so you may want to do a thicker, sweeter syrup. Which would mean more sugar, less water in the ratio.
    I think they would even hold their shape better and be happier for it with Zoe’s driving. Since her blueberries burst and mushed up in the car ride from NY to VT.

    Take photos, taste and tell us the outcome please. So curious. LOVE jamun’s. But I can only eat so many, and then my mouth is all parched. Do you feel that way sometimes with Jamun? Or are you lucky to not have that happen?

  32. This post makes me want to do a whole lot of things….makes me want to can more often, obviously…makes me want to take pictures that are inspired…the first one with the steam and copper pots is especially fabulous…makes me want to go to Suvir’s with you, Z….but mostly, makes me want to share all of these things with people I love…I LOVE this post and all it meant in the making! I love your posts because they make me want to ACT. Truly lovely…

  33. Suvir,
    Since you said please. . . . 🙂 Two things I can share that stuck in my mind.

    One was how extremely particular she was about choosing her tomatoes. Where I saw an entire picnic table filled with perfectly lovely ripe tomatoes from her garden she only saw a large bowl of perfectly unblemished useful ones. She explained as she chose through them that they needed to be fully dark red all the way to the stem of the flesh, no white, or even light red was acceptable. The rest would be used for another purpose or left to finish ripening fully for another day of canning. For her, this is not just an exercise in using your own stuff and not having to buy canned tomatoes, but in putting up perfection.

    The other thing I particularly remembered was how she showed me to screw the lids on. I was fumbling with the rim, trying to keep the lid still underneath, and it kept jumping around. She showed me that if you set your lid on the jar straight, and then insert your index finger through the rim, and press it onto the center of the flat lid, it will hold still while you easily screw the rim on around your finger. I would never have noticed her doing this, she goes so fast, but she pointed it out to me, and no more fighting the lid! I will not forget that now! A small thing, but it may have been 20 years before I thought to do that myself!

    Such a pleasure to see you on Zoe’s blog! I stop through here regularly, and am always impressed with the things I glean from her tutorials! I don’t know a lot, but always end with a delicious masterpiece with recipes from here. I can’t wait to try the berries! Blackberries will soon be ripening wild here, and I can’t wait to try this instead of my usual freezing.


  34. Hi Suvir, we have a Jamun tree in a friend’s house nearby…as it is, Jamuns are a delicacy here, not very many Jamun trees around that I know of.

    Can I can those like how you did the blueberries? Or will it be a better idea to make jams or jelly out of it? The juice in itself is such a sparkling purple colour! Thanks.

  35. Kerry in my response to Kulsum, I meant to thank you for your comment as well. Forgive me. If you scroll up, you can read about the provenance of the yellow farmhouse. Thanks for writing a comment here. Please can away and share your reactions here.

  36. Jennifer – whilst you have the experience of canning with your mother-in-law fresh in your mind, please share some of the tidbits of information she shared. Please! That is the brilliance of cooking together – the back and forth, the release of information very naturally, and the education that happens for all sides involved. The best of teachers remain students as they teach, looking at things happening, being present in the moment, and learning as they watch an amateur. Sometimes one learns the best lessons from the least experiences. Lessons of what to do better oneself the next time around, and lessons of what mistakes to not make. There really is no mistake to be made in a kitchen. Only lessons to be learned. A smart person looks at life that way, especially in a kitchen and never worries too much about performance. It is all about being present and being modestly proud. Proud that the labor of love and time is being invested for the joy to be shared with loved ones later. What greater joy is there in life?

  37. Kulsum – you embarrass me with your words. Thanks a ton. The house is very wonderful and the yellow was chosen by the couple that restored the farmhouse. We had nothing to do with it, other than falling in love with the farm and the house at first sight.

  38. I just cornered my mother in law into teaching me to can tomatoes last weekend! I never did this growing up, no one I knew did, and she does hundreds of jars every summer, of all sorts of produce, and then gives most of it away, just for the joy of canning. I told her I wanted to learn and she was only allowed to talk and not do anything, so that my hands could do the work, so I would remember better when it is me alone! :-)) It’s amazing how many little snippets of information she had that I wouldn’t have even noticed just to watch her. But, she saw things that would help my clumsy hands go faster and better. It was great! I had not thought to do berries before, just for the joy of berries. I think I would EAT THEM WITH A SPOON.

  39. Sharon – can and preserve the many other amazingly flavorful and perfectly ripe fruits you can get easily and in abundance in Southern India. That is the key to canning. Not a specific fruit, but flavorful fruit.
    Thanks for your kind words. Hope you will can away and share some photos and thoughts as you do so.
    Keep well and stay cool.

  40. Is there anything you haven’t mastered Zoe..?

    Excellent photography, and thank you both for taking me back to my childhood. I’ll have torturous dreams about my grandmother’s canned huckleberries for the next week!

  41. Thanks for this info, I love blueberries, as soon as they come on to season I will try this recipre!!! again many thanks for your great recipes!!!

  42. Hi Suvir

    Those pix Zoe took of you are so natural and refreshing…usually, one is used to seeing chefs in prestine white most of the time…this one,home cooks would easily relate to, smile.

    Loved what Zoe said, that you were dedicated to supporting your neighbors and eating locally. I am inspired.

    Living in S.India, we don’t have easy access to Blueberries (other than the canned types), so will have try with some other fruit…

  43. i grew up with an unschooled grandmother who ran her own farm, raised two boys alone, raised her own food animals, smoked/cured her own meats, grew all her own vegetables, had a porch off the kitchen with shelves full of hundreds of jars of tomatoes, corn, okra, beans, field peas, peaches, pears, apples, crabapples, figs, local berries… the pictures remain with me forever.

  44. Good work! While it may have once been true that one had to be born to canning, that’s no longer the case, Zoë. A deep interest in controlling what goes into one’s mouth has inspired many, many previously disinterested folks to learn to can. There are lots of blogs that include the subject and the Ball folks (who, btw, have a lock on “approved” canning jars in the U.S.; they make Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Bernardin [for the Canadian folks] jars and lids) have been promoting it *heavily* this year. Check out to get a glimpse into what they’re pitching. Your favorite ribbon slut has been at it, too. Boozy Floozy Peach Amaretto Jam is done! And now, Dearie, you have canned blueberries just in time to realize that the Colorado peaches are reaching market – the Elbertas that are preferred by canners. You know what I always say: There’s nothing to encourage a person like success. Mazel tov!

  45. Snippets of Thyme – You can get there just as quickly as you find some flavorful and wonderfully ripe fruits to can. That is how simple it is. Do not worry about canning. It is cooking for dummies at its best. If I can do it, so can you. Just enjoy doing it and have the desire in you to save the flavors, extend the seasons and to bring joy to people all year long. If you can make home made pasta, canning will seem too easy and juvenile to you. Look forward to hearing your canning stories from your adventures into this realm of cooking. I am sure you will find great success.

  46. Zoe – as long as I look adorable to you, I am happy with the photos. You are my Diva, and if you still want to know me after seeing the pics on this post, I am just fine with them. You are so inspiring. I am lucky to have you as a friend.

  47. The whiskey drink was my riff on an Old Fashioned that I had enjoyed in Bend, OR the week before. Mary Blanchard Sonnier from NOLA had made me some. Of course using cherries that were local. Not one who drinks much at all, I ended up going for seconds and thirds. Hence I used the blueberries and the Suntory Whisky to make a blueberry Old Fashioned that I knew would become a la mode in no time.

    Zoe – it was a pleasure to host the boys and you. You left a wonderful impression in my heart when we first met years ago at the CIA and ever since, each time you come into my life, my world, I feel every empty spot inside me is full, comforted and feeling hopeful. When you depart, it feels like autumn has arrived all of a sudden and I find emptiness and longing return. Such is the beauty of your spirit and the largesse of your ways. Our farm is yours to share with us anytime.

    Next time though, drive more steadily, or perhaps drive as you did and you will enjoy the berries yet again with sighs. But seriously, they are good about holding their shape, but I am sure one must keep them steady and not shake the jar too much.

    My favorite whole berries to can are sour cherries in verjus. Heaven on earth!

  48. Zoe – did yours not hold their shape? A rough car ride into VT, perhaps? Ours are keeping their shape. I pour the berries onto home made vanilla ice cream (even store bought when not enough time) and give people a wonderful taste of high-summer in the summer or in the thick of foggy frigid winter.
    They are great poured over pound cake with creme fraiche.
    I LOVE using the syrup left in the jar to make fresh blueberry lemonade. Of course you need to squeeze some lemon or lime juice. Add some zest if you wish and tons of ice and chilled water. You get a beautiful jeweled tone drink that pleases the eye just as much as it does the belly.

    1. Hey Suvir,

      You are a dream for inviting us into your home and allowing my camera to document your morning ritual of canning! My berries were a mix of whole and some crushed into a blend of perfection. They were eaten with sighs and ahs of delight.

      They would be glorious in the whiskey drink you made us too! 😉

      xo Zoë

  49. But what do you use blueberries for? If you want to include them in a recipe, wouldn’t it just be easier to freeze them?

    1. Hi Chris,

      Great question, I added a little note at the bottom of the post explaining how I used them. They turn out like a thin jam, with a sweet syrup, which is perfect as a sauce on dessert or just to eat on buttered toast.

      Thanks! Zoë

  50. I so enjoyed this post! I grew up canning a variety of things with Mom, and used to can my own salsa about 15 years ago. I’m just getting back into it again – and it feels wonderful! What a lovely experience this was, and an even lovelier note from Suvir.

  51. Kellypea and Vijitha – You are being most kind and gracious in saying the pictures are awesome. Well they are great. Of course they also show the great ugliness that is me.
    I so wish Zoe had kept the camera focused on the fruit, jars, kitchen and her beautifully handsome husband and sons.
    But she knew what she was doing. Creating a contrast between me and the beautiful berries to bring the point home even clearer. Can the beautiful bounty of summer! Lest all one has to please guests in the winter is someone that looks like me.
    When one is not as gorgeous as Zoe or as gifted with baking skills, one has to rely on canning as a means of pleasing others.
    I try hard, and I use great perfectly in-season and fresh fruits to bring to the preserving jars.
    This is an easy task. Hardly as daunting as people make it out to be. Always very rewarding and so meditative too.
    Thanks Zoe for coming back to the farm and for bringing the boys along this time around.
    You are one of the most beautiful families ever. Beautiful in physical appearances for sure – but even more richly beautiful in actions that stem from a deeply kind place in your hearts that is precious to have around.
    The farm is yours to come share with us and the jams, jellies and chutneys we have in the pantry – yours to savor and celebrate with us at our table or kitchen-counter.
    Your blog has me drooling every time I visit. You are a gift to have in ones life. I worship the altar that holds you for the world to learn from. Thanks for being as fabulous as you are and for sharing as generously as you do.
    You brought great bread, countless smiles, and big dreams into our farm and our lives – for those we shall be eternally grateful to you.
    Come visit again, very soon.

  52. My grandmother did pickling but that was totally different to what pickles are meant here in the US. I am used to the spicy (chili, coriander and turmeric powder) and oily Indian pickles 🙂 What an experience to watch Suvir show the steps. Awesome pictures and thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  53. I was not born into a canning family so am right with you. But this post! What an experience — and what a teacher. Love all the beautiful photos of what has always seemed to be a scary process to me. Fabulous!

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