Blueberries are so much more than jam and danish. So much more than just sweet. Don’t get me wrong; they’re wonderful in all their sweet glory but factor in a little savoury burst and suddenly, they have an added level of wow.
When writing the menu for our next flip, I’d talked myself through all the obvious blueberry concoctions and then a crazy notion to pickle some blueberries kissed my imagination. That afternoon a punnet was sourced on the way home and whilst making dinner, the experimentation began. There were a couple of mad scientist crazy giggles to myself, but I had a feeling that a brined sweet berry would be completely amazing. Once the pickling solution had cooled around the blueberries, I snuck one into my mouth and pure bliss induced shut eyes. They were better than I’d imagined! I left them out on the bench for 2 days and the flavour and crunch just got better. I must say, these are an experiment that has brought me a lot of cheeky joy, purely because the method is so unexpected and so left of centre!
So here’s some cheeky joy for you
Find a jar that will fit a punnet of blueberries with at least a knuckles’ worth of room under the rim.
Load the jar with your berries, the peeled zest of an orange, (use your peeler so you don’t get any of the bitter pith and the large pieces look beautiful), 3 or 4 bay leaves and 2 cloves of garlic smashed with the skin on just to release their flavour.
In a pot bring 250ml each cider vinegar and water to the boil with 50g of good quality salt.
Pour the hot brine over the jarred blueberries, pop the lid on and allow them to sit and pickle for at least 2 days before using. Et Voila it’s that simple!
They’re great served on a cheese board that includes a blue brie or a Ploughman’s Lunch with smoked ham, cheddar, apple, a beetroot chutney and buttered bread. Try them in a beautiful salad with smoked salmon, boiled eggs, watercress, tiny pieces of poached pear and a dill mayonnaise or in a side salad of peas, red onion and cucumber with a piece of grilled salmon and a chervil bernaise.
At the moment I’m just popping them in my mouth straight from the jar!