As blueberry season comes to an end, you realize you can only squeeze in some many blueberry-centric recipes before you need a long-term plan. How will you cope without them in the coming months? The answer is simple: get out a clean jar or few and preserve some blueberry jam.
I’ve come to appreciate how easy it is to make preserves and that you can make some pretty neat things that you might not find in the grocery store, so why not make home canning and preserving a regular occurrence? If you haven’t tried it yet, go out, buy yourself some mason jars and give this one a try–it is so easy and so enjoyable to have jars of your own home-made jam to dip into throughout the year. Plus, if you ever use jelly or jam at all (usually goes on a bagel on a Saturday morning for me), home-made just tastes so much better, especially using sweet, fresh blueberries.
- 3 pints blueberries
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 box pectin
yields 5-6 cups jam
The first thing you should do is to sterilize your jars and be familiar with all of the good practices involved in canning. Its pretty simple, but if you’ve never done it before, take some time to read up on it. After all, you’re about to take fresh fruit and put it on your pantry shelf potentially for several months. You want to do it right so that you don’t have any extra surprises growing in there for you later.
Begin by cleaning your blueberries, discarding any mediocre berries, stems, etc, and giving them all a good rinse. Get a saucepan going on medium heat and then add in the blueberries in batches (three or four), crushing each batch just a little bit with a potato masher. This way, some berries are really mushed up and others are only lightly crushed (it is jam, after all).
Let this simmer for a bit so that the berries soften and juice up a bit. Figure this could take around 5-10 minutes.
At this point, add in the pectin and raise the heat to get this mixture to a rolling boil. Once it boils, add in all of the sugar quickly and stir it in well. Keep at it until the mixture reaches a full rolling boil again, at which point, you should watch the clock and wait for 1 minute.
Now, get the jam off of the heat, skim off any foam that’s on the surface (it does no harm, it just doesn’t look great in the jar) and carefully transfer this to your sterilized jars right away, leaving about 1/4 inch of head room between the jam and the lid. Seal the jars up tightly and process in boiling water for 10 minutes before you let them cool back down to room temperature.