I ran into a neighbour the other day who has lived in our neighbourhood since inception in the late 60s, so naturally she proceeded to ask me about the raspberry bushes that she transferred to my yard 20 years ago. I mentioned that they were having a good year and we started trading recipes. She mentioned raw packing the berries in a light syrup, which I hadn’t heard of, but sounded incredibly easy and tasty. So, I went home and did a little research and decided to give it a shot. This recipe is based mainly on Wilda’s advice. I had a few cups of both blueberries and raspberries so I thought I would try some different kinds, and, just to add my own twist, I added liquers (Amaretto to the blueberries and Grand Marnier to the raspberries). The result looks fantastic, but I haven’t actually busted into them yet, the taste test still being a few weeks away. What I will say is this; easiest fruit canning experience of my life and they look beautiful and, I think, would make a great gift. Worth a shot for sure if you have a few berries kicking around. Other flavour suggestions would be to add some fresh lavender or mint to the jars; use what you have.
Berries (Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, saskatoons, etc.)
Various liquers or herbs to taste (optional)
1. Sterilize as many jars as you need. Fill the jars just to the neck with berries and make sure to really pack them in there or your jars will end up looking half empty (I made this mistake with the blueberries). If using fresh herbs, I would pack them in the bottom of the jars.
2. Make a light syrup by using a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. For three 1/2 pint jars I used 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. Put in a saucepan and just bring to a boil until all traces of the sugar have disappeared. Meanwhile place the lids of your jars in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
3. Pour a tablespoon of liquer (if using) into each jar of berries, then fill just to the neck with the syrup (over filling will result in an overflow during the water bath; I found out the hard way). Place the lid on top and screw on the ring.
4. Process the jars in a boiling water bath (the top of each jar should be covered by at least an inch of water) for 10 minutes (start timing when the water returns to a boil).
5. The jars should seal as they cool. I would give them a couple weeks before busting into them, just to give the flavours a chance to mingle.