How to make pickled blueberries and why you should bother
This post is a follow-on from my post about saffron vinegar which explains how much I enjoy my favourite treat – reading Food & Travel Magazine in bed with a cappuccino, and how I came to discover the possibility of pickling blueberries.
It all came about as a suggestion by Ben Orpwood, the executive chef at 20 Berkeley. He gave an interview in the magazine about blueberries.
Among other things his suggestions were to make a ‘soft berry compote infused with botanicals’; to use them like sloes (infusing, though, with thyme or myrtle berries) to make gin; or for more obvious uses such as muffins and clafoutis.
And then he mentioned that pickling blueberries was a very underrated option. I had the blueberries; I had the saffron vinegar; and I had the cheeseboard Orpwood was suggesting serving them with. I gave it a go and this is what happened.
Orpwood makes a standard pickling liquor using the saffron vinegar from The Vinegar Shed which he says is very mellow. I’ve tried it and I think it’s wonderful stuff too. He likes the heady fragrance of lemon verbena, so he adds that too. For how to easily make your own saffron vinegar follow this link.
You’ll notice there’s no salt in this – these pickled blueberries are light and bright. If you want a heavier version consider adding salt and a cinnamon stick.
So, based on his broad outline this is what I did.
How to make pickled blueberries
Serves – 2
- 60g/2 oz/⅔ cup blueberries, kept in the fridge
- 45g/3 tbsps soft brown sugar
- 45ml/3 tbsps water
- 45ml/3 tbsps saffron vinegar
- Sprig of lemon verbena
- Heat the sugar, water, and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves – don’t let it boil.
- Pour the pickling liquid over the cold blueberries in a sterilised jar. Follow this link for how to sterilise.
- Add a couple of small sprigs of lemon verbena.
- Put in the fridge and leave for about three days when they will be ready.
- Keep in the fridge and eat within a couple of months.
- If there is any pickling liquid left over use it in a dressing.
What to do with pickled blueberries
- In a salad – for example replace the blueberries and raspberries in this goat cheese and walnut salad with pickled blueberries
- In a duck confit and morbier toasted sandwich
- They go intriguingly well with a salmon steak
- Add to gravies for venison or pheasant
- Great with roast duck instead of the more usual cherries or orange
- Give as a gift
- We haven’t tried this but we think they might be rather intriguing on ice cream
- They are very good on a plate of hams and salamis