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LaLena MaeRee
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I moved to the pacific northwest so I am currently surrounded by LOADS of berries that are starting to ripen, from what I have read jam seems sugary and not very healthy, what can I do with these berries? I would prefer to turn them into some sort of probiotic or tonic, maybe something that can sit on the shelf but isn't loaded with sugar, any ideas? My google search found how to remove pacific northwest blackberry instead of eat it
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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My regular habit is to freeze them in gallon bags: pick, soak lightly to wash, and put on a tray or a small amount in a gallon bag in the freezer so they freeze without sticking. combine the frozen berries into quart or gallon bags and keep them in the freezer.
During winter, I take them out 10 or so at a time and eat with homemade applesauce that was also frozen for winter -- great moprning or evening food!
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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There was a link to a recipe posted on this thread

wildberry preserves

for a lacto fermented berry preserve with no-sugar pectin, if you're into probiotics it might interest you...i'm going to try it but have no results to share just yet...
 
Leila Rich
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I haven't tried lacto-fermenting fruit; it's on my 'to-do' list for this summer
The ways I preserve blackberries, if not in the freezer, tend to involve a fair amount of sugar, although I'm sure you could make a pasteurised, sealed cordial with very little sweetening. Honey would work.
My number one suggested use for blackberries would be wine. Best wine ever! I've never made schnaps, but blackberry schnaps sounds yummy.
Could they be dehydrated and rubbed through a sieve?
 
LaLena MaeRee
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Thank you all so much! I am definitely gonna ferment some and see how that goes, freezing also. Drying I am not sure about because it is so wet here and I don't have a dehydrator of any kind, I have read in the PNW just laying things to dry does not work. I am curious about alcohols, but am afraid of ruining them. I remember as a kid whenever we got a bad stomach flu or ache my dad would get out his super old bottle of blackberry brandy and give us a shot, I would love to make some of that. I hadn't even thought about using our raw honey as a sweetener, berries from the yard + honey from down the road has got to = yumm right? Maybe I will spend the next month doing everything we can all think of to blackberries, sounds like a tasty experiment.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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LaLena MaeRee wrote:I hadn't even thought about using our raw honey as a sweetener

If you want the honey to stay raw, you'll need to add it after the cordial's cooled a bit; while this would knock out the 'seal while hot' factor, honey's antibacterial properties will probably balance it.
Do you have lots of honey? I've never made mead, but blackberry mead sounds nice...
I've got blackberry wine on the go and it smell amazing Still tastes pretty average, but give it time...the main thing is it isn't vinegar!
I'm pretty casual about hygeine, and after much hair-tearing, I decided to make my first batch using suphur dioxide.
btw, I'm not obsessed with alcohol, it's just been on my 'learn how to...' list this year
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Me too - taking a pass on the sugary stuff.

Last year I packed lots of small plums in jars and poured brandy over them. About 6 months or so later I started opening up jars. Great sipping drink and my husband loved the plums with his pork roast, I also minced them into some quickbreads and I can't remember what else we did with them but they disappeared quickly. If I can ever get my blackberries going I'll do the same with them.

I am also a huge fan of juicing and freezing what I don't drink. The birds get the pulp so that is less food I have to buy for them. The muscadines will start ripening soon so me and the chicks are going to be full of muscadines (juice and plup) again soon.
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I'm in Wisconsin so I don't have blackberries growing like weeds (I remember one summer in Berkeley amazing my roomates with a blackberry/plum cobbler from foraged fruit) but I am starting up a PrimeJim/PrimeJan blackberry patch and they've worked very well in my steam juicer.

I steam juice foraged elderberries and get a deep dark juice that I add to applesauce prior to canning. I figure the same thing would work with blackberries. You would still get a fair amount of stuff to give your birds after extracting most of the color and flavor. The instructions that came with my Mehu-Liisa steam juicer talk about decanting straight from the juicer into sterilized bottles and storing at room temperature. I just watched a video on their website of making rhubarb juice. The videographer put clean quart jars into the oven to sterilize them, and used a pan of boiling water for the lids, just like for water bath canning. The juice is decanted into the quart jars and the narrator says "for water batch canning, I close them finger tight, this is the UDSA recommendation. Otherwise I close them tightly and set them aside to cool."

For myself, if I'm confident that I have an acidic product (pH < 4.6) that is clear and easy to evaluate for fungal contamination, I am OK with doing the sterile bottle thing. I have a couple of grocery items that come in 1 Liter swingtop bottles, so I've accumulated a few of these. If you want to try this at home, folks, learn from me: REMOVE the swingtop before sterilizing the bottle in the oven. The white piece is plastic and will melt.
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I pour into sterilized jars and seal, and it works great. I use canning jars and glass juice bottles with the 'clicky' screw on lids (from juice, snapple, ice tea, etc..)

Any kind of acidic juice should be safe this way - fill right from the steam juicer. I like to throw some grapes on to of apples for a great blend - then use the food mill on the remains to make grape-applesauce - yum!


 
LaLena MaeRee
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I had never heard of a juicer steamer...but now I want one! So far we have half a freezer full of blackberries and some jars of brandy brewing. Still lots of ripe berries around us so we are still gathering, I have yet to make cobbler but the weather is finally cool enough to want to make more use of the oven. Thanks for all the great ideas everyone!
 
Judith Browning
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This is really making me miss the huge blackberry patch we picked and ate from on our walks to our mailbox...it provided enough for us and a neighbor until the electric company sprayed it. We haven't found another as reliable. Juice sounds delicious. when I used to make jam I always felt like I was canning sugar...I guess I was. How wonderful to have them ripe in october.
 
Saybian Morgan
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going to have to give a bump to lacto fermented blackberry, It makes a spread that gives you a head buzz from the bubbles. I take it by how fizzy it get's it would go to alcohol easy and on to vinegar if things are right.
Im so happy with the pineapple vinegar that if anything goes alcoholic on me I just start rooting for exotic vinegar.
 
leila hamaya
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some simple suggestions (hey- simple is good =)) and stuff i make with them

blackberry salad dressing by adding some vinegar and oil, +whatever spices you have and like.

and lately i have been into making blackberry tea.
really its just adding a cup of some squished berries to regular tea- it satisfies my cravings for the fruit teas that i sometimes purchase, but would rather just make some myself. i do this with other fruit, but the blackberries are the best flavor.
 
Marcos Buenijo
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LaLena MaeRee wrote:I moved to the pacific northwest so I am currently surrounded by LOADS of berries that are starting to ripen, from what I have read jam seems sugary and not very healthy, what can I do with these berries? I would prefer to turn them into some sort of probiotic or tonic, maybe something that can sit on the shelf but isn't loaded with sugar, any ideas? My google search found how to remove pacific northwest blackberry instead of eat it


MAKE BLACKBERRY WINE!!! Sorry, but the answer seems so obvious to me that I had to use caps. I'll put it this way: Since I know how good blackberry wine is, and I know how easy it is to make, I would be out there all day long for several says on end filling up 5 gallon buckets with blackberries and/or paying kids to do it for me. Blackberry wine is among the very best wines you will ever taste, and it keeps well for several years. Blackberry is a common fruit used to make wine, so you can find lots of fool proof recipes online. Blackberry is low in sugar, so you'll have to add sugar. Please use a wine yeast even if the recipe calls for brewers or bakers yeast.

If you make a good batch of blackberry wine, then you will look forward to harvesting blackberries every year.

 
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