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Friday, June 29, 2012

Making blueberry vinegar -- very easy

by Lili Mounce

This is a slightly sweet blueberry vinegar, ideal for making vinaigrette to dress a leafy green salad (it's my favorite for spinach salad). It can be kept, refrigerated for at least a year (I've never had mine that long, so really can't say how long it'll keep. But my current last bit is from last summer's harvest.)

Blueberry Vinegar 
(this will make enough for you and a gift; if you just have a cup of berries, just do a half recipe)

about 2 cups (about 250 grams) blueberries, washed and dried
2 cups (475 mL) white vinegar
1/4 (50 grams) cup sugar
  • In a stainless saucepan, place blueberries, 3/4 (180 mL) cup white vinegar and sugar.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add remaining vinegar and cool.
  • Pour into a 1 quart (950 mL) jar, berries and all. Store in refrigerator. Allow to steep for at least 3-4 weeks. 
You can strain out the berries after about 2 months, and decant into individual bottles, if desired. Makes a really lovely gift, especially if a card with a blueberry vinaigrette recipe is included, such as this simple one.

Blueberry Vinaigrette (for 1/2 cup (120 mL)  dressing)

whisk together:

6  Tablespoons vegetable oil
2  Tablespoon blueberry vinegar
pinch salt
dash pepper
pinch sugar

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  1. Lili

    So how do you get your blueberry bushes to be so abundant??? I just wrote to another blog asking the same I am just going to copy here and see what you have to say. "I have 7 blueberry bushes
    (mixed variety: low-bush, high bush, early/late, etc). We have had them ~6years now, and each year is an adventure. First couple years we battled rabbits, then had to deal with the pH, then the weather... so you get the idea, the bushes has not been very productive! This year, all conditions went went and the low bush gave a handful (not even that) while all the others... nothing!! They are all in the same plot, so they get the same sun, water etc. I am harvesting our service berries (fighting the birds somewhat) and raspberries just fine. I have check with several books and greenhouse in the area, and I get basically, 'It might just be the year'. Well how many of those do I wait before I call it quits and move on to something else? Do you have any idea of why they are not producing? "
    Can you tell the frustration level is rising?!?!? Thanks for any advice, and your great blogs.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I'm not an expert on blueberries, but I'll tell you what I do know, and what works for us.

      My bushes that are in the richest soil are doing the best. We built up this area with layers of compostable materials, paper, kitchen scraps, yard waste. We even moved 3 bushes that were in poorer soil, and the new soil really kicked them into gear. This new area is in the open sun, the old was in the sun but up against the house (maybe to much heat at times?)

      I put all our coffee grounds around the base of the bushes every week, even in winter.

      And they get heavily watered often in summer (they're right next to some rhubarb, so put a sprinkler on the both).

      So quality of soil, acidity (coffee grounds) of soil and lots of water are what work for me.

      I do have some plants not doing as well, and I think it's that the soil was not as built up with compost as the other area. We did move 3 of our plants and they survived. You might consider spending the summer building up an area. If you don't want a mound, you could dig out a spot and do some layering in the hole all summer. Then in spring before budding, move one bush and see if it doesn't look better in summer.

      Good luck, and if I think of anything else, I'll add it here in the comments.

    2. Thanks Lili

      Maybe it is the house thing! Ours are right up by the house, facing east. So they do get a good amount of sun, but not the overly hot of the afternoon. Been thinking of moving them, so maybe somewhere more open would help. Unfortunately my husband and I are not big coffee drinkers, but maybe I could ask the neighbors and grab their grounds. Composting is not an issue, so maybe I will find a spot and start prepping it this summer, move the bushes in the fall and hope for the best in the spring. Thanks and have a great weekend!

    3. Hi Lisa,
      About coffee grounds, most Starbucks will give their used grounds for free. They call them silver bullets, as they use the silver package that the beans come in to repack the used grounds.

      Some Starbucks just have a basket with the used grounds, some Starbucks you have to ask, and they'll just give you a large garbage bag full. I've found that the free-standing Starbucks are the ones who'll do this, not the Starbucks inside a grocery store.

      There are other soil amendments you can use, like cotton seed meal, that are very acidic as well. But obviously, I like the coffee grounds, cause they're free!

    4. Lisa, one other thought. Blueberries like acid soil. Up against the house, the concrete foundation might leach alkaline substances in tiny amounts that could affect the soil. And that could've been part of why mine did so much better in the open sun, away from the house. So, moving yours out away from the house may make a significant difference.

  2. Oh, that sounds good! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Shara,
      I love it! I first started making it after a trip to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, a few years ago. The vendors have all sorts of samples out. And one day, little cups of blueberry vinegar were out. I had a recipe already for it, so knew it would be easy.

      It was so incredibly easy, I could not believe they were selling the vinegar for several dollars a small bottle. Even if I had to buy the blueberries, homemade blueberry vinegar would still be less than half the price of what I find it selling for at the market!

      And I think it's very pretty in a nice little bottle, pretty enough for a gift!
      Thanks for commenting!


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