Blueberry Basil Vinegar
My mother never made her own jam. Homemade was always the way in our house, and even though we never let anything go to waste, preserving was not part of my upbringing. It certainly wasn’t trendy when I was a kid like it is today, but I don’t think that my Oma ever made jams or pickled vegetables and I really doubt that my mother’s Oma ever did, I’m not even sure if she cooked.
These aren’t skills that I learned from anyone, honestly, I can’t claim any skills, I am using the internet and books and god knows how everything has turned out, but I’m having fun and trying something new. I’ve made strawberry jam from strawberries that my daughter and I picked at Ambrose Farms on Wadmalaw island in June and when the blueberries were ready for picking I made this blueberry basil vinegar.
Makes about 10 4-ounce (125 mL) jars or five 8-ounce (250 mL) jars
- 4 (1 L) cups blueberries
- 4 (1 L) cups white wine vinegar, divided
- 1 (250 mL) cup loosely packed basil leaves, crushed with a mortar and pestle
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
In a large glass bowl, combine blueberries and 1 cup (250 mL) of the vinegar. Using a potato masher, lightly crush blueberries. Add remaining 3 cups (750 mL) vinegar, crushed basil and lemon zest, stirring to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a dark, cool place (70° to 75°F/21° to 23°C) for up to 4 weeks, stirring every 2 to 3 days. Taste weekly until desired strength is achieved.
Prepare canner, jars and lids.*
Line strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a large stainless steel saucepan. Strain vinegar without squeezing cheesecloth. Discard cheesecloth and residue. Place saucepan over medium heat and heat vinegar to 180°F (82°C).
Ladle hot vinegar into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Variation: If you wish to keep fresh whole blueberries in the vinegar, add 1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh blueberries to the mixture before ladling into jars.
*I used the instructions that came with the jars to prepare everything. If you already have jars, I imagine that you know what you are doing.