How to Make Pickled Blueberries

Sweet and tangy, pickled blueberries are the fruit condiment you need to try.

On a trip to Maine, Taste of Home’s deputy editor, James Schend discovered something uniquely quirky on a local restaurant menu: pickled blueberries. (Yes, you read that right!) While we know you can pickle just about everything, this was the first time he’d seen blueberries quick-pickled and served on top of a grilled pork chop. “I know it sounds strange, but it really was an unbelievable combination,” James recalls. “It was that combo of sweet and sour, but the blueberry flavor was still present.” He described the brightness of the pickled blueberries as the perfect complement to the fatty pork chop.

Ready to give it a try? Lucky for us, there’s no need to visit a restaurant to get your hands on pickled blueberries. They’re easy to make at home. For this refrigerated pickle recipe, you’ll need vinegar, sugar and a few aromatics—plus blueberries, of course!

Red Wine-Thyme Pickled Blueberry Recipe

Ingredients, overheadJennifer Schwarzkopf for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 lemon peel, sliced into 3 one-inch strips

Instructions

Step 1: Make the pickling liquid

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan. As you bring the mixture to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Once it’s boiling gently, remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. (For a jammier pickle, you can also boil the berries with the liquid at this step.)

Step 2: Add the fruit and aromatics

In two clean and dry glass jars, alternate the dry ingredients—cleaned and picked through blueberries, sliced shallot, bay leaves, black peppercorns and thyme sprigs.

Step 3: Add the pickling liquid

Filled jars of pickled blueberries, overheadJennifer Schwarzkopf for Taste of Home

Pour the pickling liquid over the blueberries, covering them entirely. Let the jars’ ingredients cool to room temperature. Once cooled, refrigerate for 24 hours. Then dive right in!

These pickled blueberries will last a couple of months in the fridge.

Tips for Pickling

This combination of salt, water, vinegar, sugar and aromatics results in great pickled fruits and vegetables. Once you have the basic formula down, you can mix and match to pickle almost anything from in the garden.

PIckling Salt vs. Kosher Salt

Salt preserves food, so it’s essential for pickling, and pickling salt is designed specifically for that. However, kosher salt can be used in lieu of pickling salt because the two salts are identical, other than the size of the salt crystal. However, note that 1-1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt equals 2 teaspoons of pickling salt.

Vinegar for Pickling

You need vinegar to prevent the growth of bacteria. You want to use vinegar with at least 5% acidity. It’s common to find white distilled vinegar used in pickling, however, you can use other types of vinegar, as well. Try champagne vinegar, cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.

Play Around with Aromatics

While you can find pickling spices in the store, it’s also possible to make your own pickling spice at home. Experiment with fresh herbs, whole spices and delightful ingredients that hold up well in vinegar, such as citrus peels, or members of the allium family, like garlic, onions or shallots.

How to Enjoy Your Pickled Blueberries

You can use the pickled blueberries like preserves or chutney. Here are some ideas:

  • Include them on your next charcuterie board
  • Serve with pork, lamb, chicken or fish
  • Top a bagel with a cream cheese schmear and pickled blueberries
  • Spread on one side of a toasted sandwich

To learn more about pickling, consult our Canning 101 guide or explore our primer on how to make pickles with any vegetable.

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Note: Recipes submitted by our trusted contributors are created and tested in their kitchens.

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Jennifer Schwarzkopf
Half Chilean, half Irish descent and all joie de vivre, I'm a food writer/photographer who loves to share stories about different cultures and the magic that is sharing a meal together. When not doing that, you'll find me working on my culinary degree, hanging with family & friends, and just trying to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." Salud!