Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blueberry Jam

I bought an 18oz package of blueberries because they were on sale for $1.88.  I figured I could make enough jam to last the year, and I think that's about right.  It's a lot of blueberries.

In the past, whenever I have made blueberry jam, it hasn't really worked well.  That's why I've never posted it.  This time, I checked out Food in Jars to find out what I was doing wrong.  Oh, you smash them first.  I've always tried soaking them in sugar like you do other berries, which inevitably doesn't work because the skins are too thick.  Then I have to add more lemon juice and water than I ought to, to keep the sugar from burning until the berries pop.  Basically, I used a cranberry sauce recipe on the blueberries.  Yeah, that was the wrong thing to do.

So here's what I should have been doing all along.  You can either refrigerate the product for up to several weeks, freeze it in small batches to use later, or go ahead and do the whole canning thing.

I'm scaling down Marisa's recipe to the 18 oz box, or 1/3 of her original recipe.  That's about the biggest box I will ever buy.  If you get the more traditional 6 oz container, cut this in thirds again and you'll get less than a cup of jam.  I'm also using ginger instead of cinnamon.  I just felt like it.

Oh, and one last tip.  If you were planning to clean your stove or kitchen floor any time in the near future, wait until this is done.  You're welcome.

*18 oz fresh blueberries (or 2 C smashed)
1-1/3 C sugar
*1 Tb pectin powder
2 Tb lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
*1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
*1/4 tsp ground ginger

1.  Wash and sort blueberries, removing stems and any moldy ones.  Drain, then smash with a fork or potato masher until they have all popped.  Wash jars or containers.  If canning, start the sterilization process.

2.  In a medium, non-reactive saucepan or deep-sided skillet, stir together sugar and pectin.  Add blueberry mash and stir to combine.  Allow to sit about five minutes so all of the sugar can dissolve.
3.  Bring mixture to boiling over medium heat.  Skim off foam as needed and continue to boil for 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens and falls in ribbons from the spoon.  Stir in lemon juice, zest, ginger, and nutmeg and boil for 5 more minutes, until mass is sticky.

4.  If canning, process in water bath for 10 minutes.  To store for immediate use, allow boiling to subside and refrigerate uncovered until it stops steaming.  Then transfer to clean containers and freeze or refrigerate.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Difficulty rating :)

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