Blueberry Gems

Blueberry Agar Agar

This is another in the summer jewel kanten experiments. Blueberries are so lovely eaten out of hand that one could say that making this dessert is superfluous. But it is pretty.

Blueberry Gems

Blueberry Gelatin4 half-cup servings

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons agar-agar powder (1 packet)

In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, cook the blueberries with 1/2 cup water and sugar. Stir to encourage the berries to pop and release their juices. When all the berries have disintegrated, strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve. This takes several hours. I remember my mother making jelly with a variety of fruits and she said not to sqeeze the fruit to force out the juice or the jelly would be cloudy. But I finally resorted to squeezing the crushed berries in the cheesecloth. I ended up with about 1 1/4 cups of juice. (There was still a lot of flavor in the “pulp.”)

In a medium saucepan, heat the water and agar-agar to dissolve. Taste the juice, and if you like, add sugar to this mixture. Heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the room temperature juice and stir well. Taste, and if you add more sugar, heat to be sure it dissolves.
Dip 4 half-cup molds into water, shake out excess. Pour in the gelatin. Cool. Chill. EAT!

Blueberry Kanten, Japanese Dessert

Notes:
I started out with a small amount of sugar, and didn’t add more, but I don’t have a sweet-tooth. My theory is that you can always add more, but you can’t remove it if you add too much.
You could simply puree the berries, but I wanted a smooth clear gelée.
I think that making this with agar-agar sticks would result in a softer texture. Or perhaps I should have added a little more water: this turned out to be quite firm.
Just purchasing bottled blueberry juice would be much easier. Of course, the blueberry juice I’ve found is bottled as concentrate in rather large expensive containers.

Blueberry Kanten, Japanese Dessert

Other Japanese Sweets and Agar-Agar Recipes from Tess

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5 thoughts on “Blueberry Gems

  1. Hi Tess, the blueberry gems are very refreshing and completely natural. I have just passed on the Brilliante Weblog Award to you. Check out in my blog!

  2. Oh my, Tess, those are stunning, and just as delicious, I’ll bet.
    My kitchen is sort of shut down because of fall out from some water damage, so I’m happy for fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, salamis and whitefish salad.
    Maybe later, I’ll make the blueberry gems with frozen wild Maine blueberries, I find at Costco.
    Trader Joe’s has a bottled blueberry juice, but I’ve never tasted it, so no help there.
    Congratulations on the award. You have a beautiful and delightful website. Mr. Tess is a fortunate man. :)
    Marcia

  3. Hey Marcia,
    Marcia,

    As for Mr. Tess, he tells me that all the time. And I tell him that as well. I mean that I am fortunate.

    The real-fruit gelatin is good. I’ve tried the bottled cherry juice just to drink, and according to the label it’s just juice and is very delicious. The blueberry juice looks about the same, so I’m thinking you could make this recipe very well with it easily. I’d say to buy the juice and use your precious wild Maine blueberries for pies, muffins, pancakes…mmm cheesecake topping…

    Sorry about your kitchen damage. One could hope that it will be back better than ever soon.

  4. Whoa! Thanks for the nomination! ^_^ What an honor!…Now to see if I can be un-brain dead enough to figure out how to link all of it…gah!

    Blueberrrryyyy……I can’t believe it – McDonalds has BLUEBERRY McFLURRIES here right now!….I’ve also seen Blueberry vinegar around, too! Do you have any ideas how to use that? I really want an excuse to buy a bottle before it’s sold out for the season!!!…Thanks for this delicious dessert idea – I really have to quit being so squeamish around kanten!

    P.S. My tare never did work out….I cooked it slowly for a solid hour and it still never thickened up….and you were right, it was incredibly salty, though it did taste good in small amounts over rice. *sigh* Where am I going wrong?

  5. I’ve never seen blueberry vinegar, but it seems you could use it on fruit or salads just as you would use balsamic vinegar.

    If you consider the alternative to kanten is animal gelatin, a sea vegetable is nothing to be squeamish about. Bones, cartilage…

    My yakitori sauce is not as thick as the teriyaki sauce. If you want it thicker, finish by simmering in a wide skillet—you’ll get more surface evaporation. But keep an eye on it and taste it often! It doesn’t have enough sugar to caramelize and thicken as much as teriyaki sauce; if you cook it down too much it will concentrate the saltiness of the shoyu.

    By the way, if you use chicken wings to make the sauce, you can eat them when the sauce is finished, so they are not wasted. When the sauce cools, it sets just like jello—bones and cartilage…

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