Skip to main content

Latest Installment in the Shu Chronicles: Blueberry














A local farm literally only a few blocks away sells blueberries by the tubful. There's also a U-Pick option, which sounds lovely but doesn't work with my schedule. Their business is a bit up this year as most people who would normally travel to Gunma, Ibaraki or other prefectures a bit north of Tokyo for a fruit vacation aren't because of concerns about radiation. Fruit growers, like tea farmers and so many others, have been hard hit by the Daiichi Power Plant crisis resulting from the March 11th Earthquake.

My motivation is vaguely similar at best. The blueberry patch at the farm lost out to dreams of expansion, and so I bought a small bush for the balcony. Clearly, though, that wasn't going to get me enough for jam any time soon, so I kept a watchful eye on the farm up the way. (They also have chickens, so I'm working on a relationship so I can beg some manure in the future.)

The berries are expensive (about 600 yen for 250 grams or upwards of $7.00), so I decided to freeze some and make blueberry shu out of the rest. I'd need a goodly number of berries for jam, and while I love the flavor I've also got to heed current calls for conservation. While the energy would be well-used, I can't quite justify it. Plus, it looks like we'll be needing to conserve into the winter months and it occurred to me that a pretty little glass of blueberry shu might warm me up as much as my long underwear.

Blueberry Shu
500 grams of blueberries
1.4 liters white alcohol
250 grams of rock sugar

I essentially followed the same recipe I used for the ume, yuzu, and rhubarb shus. Wash the jar, plop in the ingredients, screw on the lid, and wait. Our laundry area, a.k.a. the 'shu closet', is getting a bit crowded these days, but I can't resist a good experiment!

Note on the photos: The top photo is looking down into the jar. The smell was fantastic! The bottom photo is a side view of the jar to see how things are progressing after about ten days.

Comments

Sarah Elaine said…
This is such a fabulous way to preserve precious blueberries! I appreciate your thoughtfulness about how to conserve energy in the way you preserve. Your blog has become one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Thank you!
Thanks, Sarah Elaine! I did up some plums (sumomo) just before we left on vacation, too. I've got to write up that post in between naps, bike rides, and tasty snacks from area farms. :) I'm also thinking that the fruit will make a tasty jam at some point.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro