Fermented Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries

Variety of Berries at Market

by Cat, Dec 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

After the great success of my Fermented Cranberry Relish, I was wondering what I’d do when I’ve used it up and I can’t get more cranberries until next Holiday season. Then I remembered that blueberries are closely related to cranberries, so perhaps they could be used instead. Plus my friend Shelli grows wonderful blueberries locally. I found a recipe on OhLardy blog (1) that assures me I can ferment these berries, as well as boysenberries, raspberries and blackberries, but NOT strawberries. I can do just one type of berry, or I can mix them up.

I will need less sweetener with these sweet berries, than is required for the tart cranberries. And I can use some freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice in place of some of the water. Can also add grated zest, or use the entire peel, cut into small pieces.

  • Includes: 1. Fermented Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, or Mixture; 2. Fermented Berry Relish or Compote, with Nuts and Spices;
  • See also: 1. Fermented Cranberry Relish2. Peach Chutney3. Tropical Fruit Chutney; Other Sites: 1. Old Fashioned Blueberry-Basil Preserves recipe (2); 2. Learning with Herbs, Blueberry Soda recipe (3); 3. The Elliott Homestead, Lacto-Fermented Fruit Kvass (4); 4. SheSourceful Fermented Blueberry Chutney recipe (5)

Fermented Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries or Mixture

This is based on the OhLardy! recipe (1) for Fermented Berries, and does not include the nuts and citrus from the cranberry relish recipe. It’s just berries.

NOTE: To protect your health, use only Organically-grown berries

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 cups individual or mixed berries; use any berries except strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp raw local honey (my preference) or Rapadura sugar (I don’t recommend agave nectar)
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp liquid from another lacto-fermentation product (or ½ tsp culture starter mixed with a few Tbsp water)
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • filtered water
  • Equipment
  • wide mouth pint Mason or Pickl-it jar
  • measuring cup or small bowl
  • pounder, potato masher, wooden spoon or your fist

Method:

  1. Put the berries into mason jar.
  2. Push them down a bit – I use my mini potato masher
  3. Mix starter culture with a few tbsp water (if not using liquid from another lacto-ferment), sweetener, and a pinch of salt in measuring cup, stirring to dissolve as much as possible, then add to berries.
  4. Fill jar with filtered water, leaving 1 inch head space.
  5. Press down (I use my mini potato masher) to be sure liquid has filled all the air spaces; if some air bubbles are stubborn, run a butter knife blade around the inside of the glass to break up the air bubbles (same trick used when canning fruits) and press down again.
  6. Cover tightly and leave at room temp for 1-2 days. the warmer the room, the less time, but 48 hours is max to avoid alcohol production.
  7. Store in the refrigerator.  Use within 2 months.

Fermented Berry Relish or Compote, with Nuts and Spices

This is based on the above recipe for Fermented Berries (above) and my Fermented Cranberry Relish recipe. The later adds nuts, citrus and spices. You could also add golden raisins and some type of chile to make more of a chutney (see my recipe for Chutney (Lacto-Fermented Fruit, Veg, Nuts and Spices).

Berries: Raspberries, blackberries, Marion berries, boysenberries, blueberries and huckleberries work well in this recipe, tho I’ve not yet tried huckleberries for this recipe; I do not recommend strawberries.

NOTE: To protect your health, use only Organically-grown berries

Spices: I recommend any of the following: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger (especially grated fresh ginger-root), or Garam Masala spice mix. I’ve never tried coriander or turmeric, but they may also be good. See my Herbs and Spices (About) Menu for more about these.

I love the berry & nut combination in the relish, so I’d like to try the following combos:

  • 2 cups blueberries, ⅓ cup pecans and ⅛ – ¼ tsp cinnamon and/or cardamom, with 2 – 4 Tbsp whey, 2 Tbsp Rapadura or raw local honey, and ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt. Lemon juice and zest would also be good with this combo. I’ve tested this, and it is my FAVORITE!
  • 2 cups raspberries, ⅓ cup almonds, ⅛ – ¼ tsp allspice or cinnamon, and 1 – 2 tsp grated fresh ginger, with 2 – 4 Tbsp whey, 2 Tbsp Rapadura or raw local honey, and ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt. As of Aug 2020, I’ve not yet tested this, but I got lots of raspberries this summer so will do that soon.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 2 cups individual or mixed berries (any Organic berries except strawberries)
  • ⅓ cup chopped Organic pecans or almonds, optional (pecans are my fav)
  • 1 Organic orange and/or 1-2 lemons, for the juice, flesh and peel
  • ½ tsp lemon zest or 2 – 3 tsp orange zest (if not using the whole orange/lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp raw local honey (my preference) or Rapadura sugar (I don’t recommend agave nectar, especially if you are pre-diabetic or type-2 diabetic)
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp liquid from another lacto-fermentation product (or ½ tsp culture starter mixed with a few Tbsp water)
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • Spices of your choosing (see suggestions above)
    • For blueberry relish, I add ⅛ – ¼ tsp each cinnamon and cardamom.
    • Clove or fresh ginger are other options.
  • filtered water
  • Equipment:
  • wide mouth pint Mason or Pickl-it jar
  • measuring cup or small bowl
  • pounder, potato masher, wooden spoon or your fist

Method:

  1. Prep berries: Rinse and drain berries, then put them into mason jar. Push them down a bit to break them up – I use my mini potato masher.
  2. Prep citrus: lemon or orange juice for part of the water.
    1. I use all parts of a whole lemon or orange:
      • Squeeze out most of the juice; separate the flesh from the peel, chop it and add both juice and flesh to the berries;
      • Then slice peel (including the white pith) into thin strips, and cut them into ¼″ pieces, and add to the berries mix. I include the bitter pith because it provides several health benefits.
    2. Alternately, squeeze the juice form the citrus and grate the zest from the peel; add juice and zest to the berries. You may add additional zest if desired.
  3. Prep nuts: If using pecans or whole almonds, chop them into ¼″ pieces; if using sliced almonds cut each slice in half. Add nuts to the berry mix.
  4. Mix starter culture with a few Tbsp water, or use liquid from another ferment; add, sweetener, and a pinch of salt in measuring cup, stirring to dissolve as much as possible, then add to berry mix.
  5. Add filtered water to mostly fill the jar, leaving 1 inch head space.
  6. Press down (I use my mini potato masher) to be sure liquid has filled all the air spaces; if some air bubbles are stubborn, run a butter knife blade around the inside of the glass to break up the air bubbles (same trick used when canning fruits) and press down again.
  7. Cover tightly and leave at room temp for 1-2 days. the warmer the room, the less time, but 48 hours is max to avoid alcohol production.
  8. Store in the refrigerator.  Use within 2 months.

Testing:

10/29 – 11/7/20: I’ve made this a couple times before, without recording the testing. This time, made as written: used 2 cups frozen Organic blueberries, thawed and chopped up in my blender; also 1 large Valencia orange, removed seeds, broke-up the flesh in blender, cut peel including pitch into small pieces (less than ¼″ cubes); and chopped pecans with a knife. Mixed all together in sterilized quart Mason jar, added spices, unrefined sea salt, raw local honey, and brine from previous batch, and mixed to combine; added enough filtered water to cover the mix. Wrapped a towel around the jar and let it rest on counter overnight. Stirred daily, then divided into 2 sterilized pint jars on 11/1; a little too much liquid, so I poured some off into a half-pint jar for future cultures. 11/8 taste test (a week in fridge): It is not bubbly, so likely not forming alcohol; however, its taste has a sharp punch indicating alcohol amidst the wonderful fruity-sweet flavor. I’ll check in another week (11/15) to see if any change.

References:

  1. OhLardy! Fermented Berries recipe: ohlardy.com/lactofermented-berries
  2. Katy She Cooks, Old Fashioned Blueberry-Basil Preserves recipe: katymcarter.com/2012/07/old-fashioned-blueberry-basil-preserves
  3. Learning with Herbs, Blueberry Soda recipe: learningherbs.com/soda_recipe.html
  4. The Elliott Homestead, Lacto-Fermented Fruit Kvass recipe: theelliotthomestead.com/2012/01/lacto-fermented-fruit-kvass
  5. SheSourceful Fermented Blueberry Chutney recipe shesourceful.com/2012/06/14/recipe-fermented-blueberry-chutney-2

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