Fresh Blueberries are Ripe & Ready for Picking!

Adair Hoover, Program Assistant,
Home & Garden Information Center

South Carolina blueberry farms are loaded with berries this year. These fresh berries are a great source of nutrition and a good value when purchased locally or freshly picked. They can also be preserved for use throughout the year. Canning, freezing and drying are the most common methods of preserving fresh berries and the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) has loads of recipes and instructions for each method.

If you are new to preserving foods and would like help getting started, check out the HGIC and the Canning Coaches program. This past year Clemson Extension trained over 40 South Carolina residents to teach hands-on classes in canning, freezing and drying foods. Once training is completed, these Canning Coaches offer classes around the state to teach proper methods of food preservation. This very successful program is in its first year and is expected to grow.  If you would like a schedule of upcoming canning classes in your area or are an experienced canner who is interested in updating your canning knowledge, in being trained as a Canning Coach and in sharing the information with your friends and neighbors, contact the HGIC (1-888-656-9988).

For a modern twist on blueberry jam, take a look at the following Blueberry-Lime Jam recipe. It was prepared in several canning classes last summer and received rave reviews!

Blueberry–Lime Jam

4½ cups blueberries

1 tablespoon grated lime peel

1/3 cup lime juice

5 cups sugar

1 box (1¾ ounces) powdered pectin

Crush blueberries one layer at a time. Combine crushed blueberries and powdered pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in grated lime peel and lime juice. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ -inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

NOTE: As with all canning projects, great care should be taken to properly prepare jars and lids before canning. For more information see HGIC 3180, Basics of Jelly Making.

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.