How to Make Homemade Blueberry Butter - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: January 2017: Apples are still available, but already picked. In some areas, late season crops, are still available (if there hasn't been a frost) - like persimmons, pears, winter squash, kiwis, even figs and raspberries. See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. But now it is time to tag your Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree farm (and enjoy a bonfire, smore, hot chocolate and free hayrides, and often Santa visits! And next Spring, you'll want to take your children to a free Easter egg hunt - see our companion website to find a local Easter Egg hunt!
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How to Make Homemade Blueberry Butter - Easily!
For more information about blueberries, see Blueberry Picking Tips
For jams (strawberry, blackberry, peach, raspberry, etc.) click here, and for easy applesauce or apple butter directions, click on these links. And here are simple directions to make blueberry desserts: cobbler, coffee cakes / buckles and pie!
- Blueberries - 5 pints (which is: 10 cups, or 2.25 liters, about 3.5 lbs, almost 1.75 kg) preferably fresh, but frozen (without syrup works, too)
- Lemon juice - either fresh squeezed or bottled. 1/4 cup.
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - See step 6. My favorite is the low sugar formula, using about 4.5 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar. It is possible to make low-sugar, fruit juice-sweetened, or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, -sweetened blueberry butter; I'll point out the differences below.
- Seasoning - 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
- Large spoons and ladles
- 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
- Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
- Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and
grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see
this page. It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take
the hot jars out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold below has
everything you need, and at a pretty good price:
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)
Blueberry Butter-Making Directions
This example shows you how to make blueberry butter! The yield from this recipe is about 5 eight-ounce jars.
Step 1 - Pick the blueberries! (or buy them already picked)
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!
I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy - but that does take some space and time.
As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use frozen blueberries (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some butter in December to give away at Christmas!
At left are blueberries (in my yard, actually; they make a great hedge or landscaping bush) almost ripe! If you want to pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms.
Step 2 - How much fruit?
It takes about 10 cups of raw, unprepared blueberries per batch to make about 3 cups of blueberry butter. Between the air spaces in loose blueberries and the fact that it cooks down by about 1/3; the final result is half of the loose berries; for each cup of berries you start with, you'll end up with 1/2 cup of blueberry butter.
Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 10 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny blueberry butter), it's better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot blueberry butter.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!
Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming
water is fine)
water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids. I just leave them in there, with the heat on very low, until I need them!
Step 4 -Wash the berries and sort!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a colander of plain cold water.
Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy berries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the berries as they float. With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy berries get caught in your fingers.
Then just drain off the water!
Step 5 - Puree the berries
The easiest way to get a really smooth blueberry butter is to puree the blueberries in a blender before cooking them. Alternatively, a hand-held food blender in the hot cooked blueberries works, too, but the risk of being burned by splattered hot blueberry puree is there.
If you don't have a blender, you can hand mash them (see photo at left), but it won't be anywhere as smooth!
Either way, if you start with 10 pints of berries, you'll end up with about 6.5 cups of blueberry puree.
Step 6 - Measure out the sweetener
Depending upon which type of blueberry butter you're making (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concetration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice - especially for those on sugar-restricted diets) you will need to use a different amount of sugar. You can also use honey instead! About 1 cup of honey per cup of sugar. I don't recommend using Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, by itself - plain old sugar makes a big difference in the color and taste. Unless you're diabetic, for best results, try the low or lower sugar formula below.
|Type of blueberry butter:||Amount and Type of Sweetener|
|regular (best results)||7 cups of sugar (best results)|
|low sugar||4.5 cups of sugar|
|lower sugar||2 cups sugar and 2 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)|
|no sugar||4 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)|
|natural||3 cups fruit juice (blueberry, grape, peach, apple or mixed)|
Step 7 - Fill the crock pot with the pureed blueberries, lemon juice and sugar
Fill the crock pot to within an inch of full with the blended blueberries. Now, you CAN do this using a regular large pot on very low heat on the stove, but the crockpot works much better, because its heat is very low. I've never had a batch burn in the crockpot.
Add the sugar (about 5 cups of sugar per 10 cup batch of blueberries) and turn the heat on. I start with high, then change it to low once it gets hot and starts to boil. You can taste and add more sugar later, if you desire. Next, add the 1/4 cup of lemon juice - it helps to act as a preservative by acidifying the butter.
This is a good time to add any spices you want: Typically, people add a small amount of cinnamon and/or cloves; say 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
Step 8 - Cook down the blueberry butter
Before you leave the crockpot unattended, set the crock pot on low or medium heat.
Cover it loosely or use a large pot splatter-guard. It will spatter as it boils slowly, so I also cover nearby surfaces with towels. You don't want to seal it tightly because you want the steam to escape so it can reduce in volume and thicken. A visitor suggests, take a couple of butter knives, and lay them across the top of the crock pot. They are parallel and located about 2/3 of the way out from the center. Then put the lid on these supports, leaving it "covering" the pot and keeping the splatters under control, but, leaving a good gap for steam to escape. I just made a batch and tried this approach, but I used a pair of wooden chopsticks or bamboo kebab skewers - they worked great!
Leave it to cook for 6 - 12 hours. How long depends on the size and power of your crockpot, and how thick you like it, If you want to stir it occasionally, that's fine but not necessary. I let mine go overnight, set on low.
When is it done? When it reaches the thickness you desire; that's all!
Step 9 - Blend the blueberry butter (optional)
You want a smooth, creamy texture, right? The easiest way is to use a hand-held drink blender. It does a great job of making it smooth. You can also put it into a regular blender, but if you are going to do that, you might want to blend the blueberries before you put it in the crock pot (it will be much thicker afterwards and won't move in a regular blender). Another visitor says running it through a food mill with a fine screen or through a sieve works, too.
- Too thick? if the blueberry butter cooks down too much or is too thick for your liking, just add a little bit of blueberry juice and blend it in.
- Not thick enough? Just let it cook some more, with the lid off so the steam can escape!
- Not sweet enough - add more sugar, honey or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you'll need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, , as you prefer.
Step 10 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on
Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled butter off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner!
This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy!
Step 11 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 10 minutes. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 8 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work.
Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the butter and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
I you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 min. If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, see the chart below.
Recommended process time for Fruit Butters in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
0 - 1,000 ft
1,001 - 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints or Pints
Step 12 - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Blueberry Butter - makes 10 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2009||Source||Subtotal|
|Blueberries||1 gallon||$10.00/gallon||Pick your own||$10.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||10 jars||$7.00/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$6.00|
|Sugar||5 cups||$2.00||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.00|
or about $1.80 per 8 oz jar
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars, and that reduces the cost! Just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]