I don’t think it’s possible to get tired of eating fresh blueberries. I picked several buckets this season (see my post about Beck Blueberries and U-Pick Thornless Blackberries and Blueberries). I picked enough blueberries to make yogurt ice pops, German blueberry fruit cake, and home style blueberry muffins. I ate a few pints of fresh blueberries over the last six weeks, adding a handful of the fresh ripe fruit to my Greek yogurt and granola breakfast nearly every day. Dominic ate several bowls of them, too, as if he would never have them again. I froze several jars of fresh blueberries, and we ate the frozen treat from the ice cold jar. I did manage to save enough blueberries to make the best ever blueberry jam recipe. I must admit; this was the first time I tasted blueberry jam. It’s not the kind of jam that fills grocery store shelves. It’s not the kind of jam that accompanies breakfast at any of the well-known breakfast cafes. These are reserved for the more popular grape and strawberry jam, apple jelly, and orange marmalade.
I have to confess: I was a little hesitant about smashing all of those beautiful plump ripe blueberries. Did we really need blueberry jam? We still had strawberry jam left from the batch I made earlier this year. Then there’s the fresh blackberry jam I made a week earlier. I smashed the blueberries with a potato masher, one cup at a time, until all four pints of luscious blueberries were nothing more than pulp. I added the crushed blueberries to the pot with the sugar and watched as the mixture boiled and turned a vibrant blue. I then added two pouches of liquid fruit pectin to the boiling blue liquid. I’ve always used the dry pectin, but I read somewhere that liquid pectin made the jam thicker than the dry pectin. It did, too. I think it might be my new thing to use when making jams and jellies. (Read more about canning jams and jellies online at Ball Fresh Preserving. It’s a great place for beginners.)
Before the jars were cool enough to handle, Fred had dipped into one of them and sampled nearly half a jar of the warm blueberry jam. Later, when it was chilled, my daughter sampled a good portion of what remained in the jar that Fred opened earlier that day. Simone licked her English muffin until not a trace of the jam was left. I secretly tried a tablespoon or two. Oh—double yum! The sweet jam tastes like freshly picked ripe blueberries. It has just the right amount of blueberry pieces hidden in the vibrant blue goodness.
I gave a couple of jars of the best ever blueberry jam to friends and family. We ate the rest nearly right away. Blueberry season is over here in Florida. The blueberries here now come from out-of-state farms. I still eat them; I can’t pass up fresh blueberries. I only make jam and jelly with fruit I pick myself from the local pick your own farms. I have big plans for the next blueberry season. I’ll get an early start. Maybe I’ll make two or three times the jam. I will definitely eat all the fresh blueberries that I can get my hands on.
- 4½ cups fresh crushed blueberries (about 4 pints)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 7 cups sugar
- 2 pouches liquid pectin
- 4 Ball pint jars and 1 half pint jar with lids and rings
- Waterbath canner (21½ quart with rack and cover)
- Jar funnel, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter
- To prepare jars: Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water. Put jars in the waterbath canner, and cover completely with water. Bring water to a simmer (don't need to boil). In a small saucepan, add lids and bring to a simmer. You don't need to add the rings. It is important to keep jars and lids hot or your jam might not seal.
- To make the jam: Wash and prepare blueberries. Remove the stems and any overly ripe blueberries. Place blueberries in a deep bowl or pot and crush using a potato masher. Crush 4 pints of blueberries or more until the crushed blueberries equal 4½ cups.
- In a six or eight quart saucepan, add crushed blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Add a half teaspoon butter to help keep foam to a minimum. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in liquid pectin, and return to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Remove any foam that has settled on top of the hot mixture.
- To process the jam: Remove one jar at a time from the canner. Empty the water in the jar back into the canner. Fill jars within an ⅛ of top. Wipe jar lids and threads. Center lid on jar, add ring, and screw tightly. Place all jars in canner. Add enough water to cover by at least one inch and increase heat to high. Once the water reaches a full boil, cover and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Allow jars to rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pot. Let cool completely before storing.