Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bilberry Preserve

  Bilberry! Never heard of it, till my daughter’s friend gifted me a jar of homemade Bilberry preserve from Kotagiri in Nilgris (a hill station in South India)for Christmas last year. It was the most awesome berry preserve I‘ve ever tasted!
  Bilberries are related to Blueberries, but are smaller and darker in color and since the bilberry plant is difficult to grow, it is seldom cultivated and are collected from forests in hilly regions. Here in south India , Bilberries are found in Nilgris, they have tremendous antioxidant properties which are considered very effective in improving night vision, lowering blood pressure and for diabetics.
Armed with this information, I wanted to buy Bilberries when I went to Nilgris for our school reunion in the first week of September2011. To my disappointment, I was told that Bilberries are never available in shops and moreover the harvest season had just got over (between July and August). I was crestfallen. Anyway, the day we were to leave Nilgris, being Sunday, we went to a very cute Church in Coonoor  and after  service there was the church sale. Guess what I saw on a table? Bilberries! I could not believe my eyes and  I nearly jumped for  joy! I managed to get just one kg of bilberries and here is the  Bilberry preserve I made and trust me, it is the yummiest of all preserves.

The difference between a preserve and a jam is that, with a preserve the fruits are preserved whole in their own jelly whereas with jam the fruits are mashed  up into a spreadable consistency.

       Bilberry Preserve

My home made Bilberry Preserve

1 kg Bilberries
¾ kg sugar (you can reduce the quantity of sugar )
¼ cup water
Nip the tiny stalks and wash and clean the berries thoroughly.
Put it in a vessel along with water and sugar. Simmer for about 45mins to 1 hour till setting consistency is reached. Be  careful not to break up the berries while stirring . That’s it! Done! Your Bilberry Preserve is ready!

Bilberry Preserve on bread

To test the setting consistence -Chill a plate in the freezer for 5 mins. Pour a tsp of the preserve in the chilled plate. After 30 seconds, tilt the plate. If it moves but does not run, it is done. If it runs, continue cooking for some more time.I prefer it a little runny , as it thickens in the refrigerator and it is much easier to use as toppings for ice creams and desserts.

Bilberry Jam

My Homemade Bilberry Jam

1 kg Bilberries
Bilberry Jam
¾ kg sugar
1 lime

Wash the Bilberries, put it in a pan and mash it well with a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice, sugar and simmer.Just before  setting point, ladle out a cup of jam and  run it in a food processor for  just one whirl.Put it back in the pan and simmer till setting consistency .While warm bottle it.That’s it.

Absolutely delicious and scrumptious as toppings on Ice creams, yogurts, pancakes and desserts .

The Church in Coonoor

The cute church in Coonoor

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  1. Yummy yummy yummy, Babyma! How long will the preserve last? Any idea?

  2. Should last at least for 6-8 in the fridge.Maybe if you uses a preservative,it should last longer!

  3. Is it possible to get it in mumbai.its important for me



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