Okay someone please tell me why I feel the need to make my own jams and jellies when there are perfectly good store bought products available?
Tell me that it’s totally worth it because I’m controlling the ingredients and sugar content. And it doesn’t matter that I’m melting over a hot stovetop on a 90° day!
Okay enough self-pity.
Late last summer, I decided that I was going to try to create enough canned jams and jellies so there wouldn’t be a need for commercial product.
Since I started so late in the season, all the cool fruits were out of season (like strawberries, blueberries, and stone fruit), so I started with an easy apple cider jelly, then onto batches of Concord grape jams & jellies.
I’m so proud that I made enough to last us through winter! But spring couldn’t come quick enough as I was down to one last jar of sad apple cider jelly, along with a few emergency jars of Concord grape “syrup” that didn’t quite work itself into jam.
So when Whole Foods Market announced that they were offering organic blueberries for $1.99/pint I knew it was time to start making more jam!
I had borrowed “Put ’em up” from the library and I found a “quick blueberry jam” recipe that utilized Pomona’s Pectin without the need for massive amounts of sugar, so along with 4 pints if blueberries, I also purchased a box of Pomona’s.
I used Pomona’s a couple of times last year. I like that I can use a smaller amount if sugar and didn’t have to worry about making the jam thicken on its own.
So this morning, despite the 90° heat wave, I got my ingredients ready and proceeded to make a batch of blueberry jam while a big pot of water and jelly jars came up to boil next to it.
I was doing really well, following the directions, allowing the jam to come to a boil slowly. I then added the lemon juice, calcium water, and sugar pectin mix and stirred stirred stirred waiting for the second boil.
I kept peeking, and it wasn’t quite there yet, until I turned away for a little too long and splurshhhh, blueberry jam erupted all over my gas stove!
Then it was time to remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before ladling into jars for the hot water bath. When I was finished, I had 4 (eight oz) canned jars and 2 for the fridge.
The other good news was the sticky blueberry mess on my stove was thankfully easy to clean!
Here’s the recipe:
Quick blueberry jam
Based on recipe from “Put em up” cookbook by Sherri Brooks Vinton
Makes about 6 cups (original recipe stated 4 cups, I used 4 US dry pints of blueberries. 1 US dry pint = about 2.3 cups, even after losing some to boil-over on the stove)
This jam is full of fresh blueberry flavor. Because these berries are easy to stem and have no hulls or noticeable pips, it’s a quick project too.
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons Pomona’s universal pectin
4 US/dry pints blueberries, stemmed (about 9-10 cups, original recipe stated 8 cups)
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 teaspoons calcium water (mix included in the Pomona’s box- I still had a batch in the fridge from last year)
- Whisk the sugar and pectin together in a bowl and set aside.
- Rinse blueberries and add them into a (nonreactive) sauce pan (I used my 4qt stainless pot) and slowly bring to a boil over low heat.
- Continually stir and crush blueberries with potato masher and/or immersion blender (I used both)
- Add the lemon juice and calcium water.
- Slowly pour in the sugar pectin mixture and keep stirring to make sure it all dissolves.
- Return jam to a boil, and then immediately remove from heat to let the jam rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles. Skim off any foam.
- Carefully ladle jam into small jelly jars and either store in fridge for 3 weeks or process for 10 minutes using hot water bath method.
Using only 1 cup of sugar, it’s approximately 17 calories and 4g sugar per Tbsp!!!
I couldn’t resist sampling on a slice of my homemade whole wheat bread!