Fragrant Blueberry Jam Recipe
Not too sweet with bursts of berry flavor, this jam is a must-have for a respectable start to the morning. Pectin is necessary to make a properly thickened jam, but rather than go for the store-bought kind we used apple peel for an all-natural spread.
We’re assuming that you already have basic tools lying around (like cutting boards, bowls, and measuring cups), so here’s the special equipment you’ll need for canning:
• Lids with sealing compound for 4-ounce jelly jars
• Bands for 4-ounce jelly jars
• Boiling water canner or 15- to 20-quart pot with a tightfitting lid
• Canning rack that fits inside the boiling water canner or 15- to 20-quart pot
- 3 cups blueberries (about 1 pound)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated apple peel
- 4 teaspoons bottled lemon juice
- Wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Dry the lids and bands, and set aside.
- Place the jars in a boiling water canner or a 15- to 20-quart pot fitted with a canning rack and a lid. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat.
- Keep the jars in the hot water until ready for use, removing one at a time as needed.
For the jam:
- Place a plate in the freezer to chill for testing jam. Place blueberries in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and crush with the back of a wooden spoon until some of the berries are broken up and they start to release their juice.
- Add sugar and apple peel to crushed berries and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil vigorously, stirring frequently, until jam reaches its setting point, about 15 minutes. (Bubbles will rise to the surface of the pan; if they get too high, just stir jam until they decrease.)
- Once jam reaches 228°F, start checking if it is properly set. Conduct the plate test: Put a spoonful of jam on the chilled plate, and place in the freezer until jam reaches room temperature, about 1 minute. Draw your finger through jam. If it immediately runs back together, it is not ready. Once jam is ready, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
- Remove the jars from the hot water with a jar lifter, letting excess water drip off. Bring water in the canner back to a simmer (about 180°F) for processing the packed jars. Fill the sterilized jars with jam, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. (If you have a half-full jar, place in the refrigerator and eat jam within 5 days.)
- To remove any air bubbles, slide a clean rubber spatula down the side of each jar and press inward on the jam while rotating the jar; repeat 2 to 3 times for each jar.
For processing the packed jars:
- Wipe the rim and threads of each jar with a clean, damp towel. Place the lids on the jars, checking that the sealing compound is centered. Fit the jars with bands and tighten just until resistance is met.
- Check that water in the pot or boiling water canner is at a simmer (about 180°F), and set the jars in the canning rack. (The jars must be covered by 1 to 2 inches of water. Add additional boiling water as necessary.)
- Cover the pot with a tightfitting lid and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Process the jars for 10 minutes at a gentle but steady rolling boil. (Begin calculating the processing time once water is at a rolling boil. Check occasionally that water remains at a steady boil.)
- Once processed, remove the jars with the jar lifter and set upright, 1 to 2 inches apart, on a dry towel. Do not retighten the bands; let cool at least 12 hours.
- After the jars have cooled, check for a seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the center is concave and does not flex, remove the band and try to lift off the lid with your fingertips (don’t pull too hard). If you cannot lift the lid, there is a good vacuum seal. If the lid pops off, your jar did not properly seal. Eat the jam within two months.
- To store properly processed jars, wipe each lid and jar with a clean, damp cloth (the bands don’t need to stay on for storage), label the jars, and store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Unopened jars can be kept up to a year when stored properly. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and use within two months.