I told you on Tuesday that Wheat and I went and visited my parents on Father’s Day and took my Dad a delicious coconut creme pie. While we were in Bristol, Wheat, my Dad, and I picked a boatload of blueberries! In case you’re wondering, my Mama supervised. ;) My dad planted their bushes before I came around, and they are the BEST blueberries. When my sister and I were little, we had a couple of dogs that liked them too. All four of us (Anna Jo, Sugar, Sally, and myself) would go picking blueberries, Anna Jo and I picking and eating the ones off the top, and Sugar and Sally would eat the berries straight off the bushes from the lower branches. It was a pretty good arrangement. :)
Unfortunately, I was leaving on Tuesday to go to South Carolina for the rest of the week for work. (But if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you already knew that. :) So, not wanting a single berry to go to waste while I was gone, on Monday night I scrambled around and made blueberry jam, which is the very best kind of jam, IMHO.
Note: This recipe made 11 jars of jam for me. If you don’t fill the jars up quite as much as I did, you could probably stretch it to make 12. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
Another note: Never ever make the mistake of trying to double a recipe for jam or jelly. It won’t jell, and you’ll be super duper sad. I learned that the hard way once. Carry on.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have fresh blueberries ripe for the picking available to you (aren’t they beautiful?), check your local farmer’s markets. They’re practically certain to have locally grown, fresh blueberries right now, as they are ripening in North Florida/South Georgia as we speak. Get ’em while you can! The fresher the berries, the better the jam. Support your local farmers, y’all. K, hopping off my soapbox now. :)
Anywho – this recipe isn’t anything fancy. I actually just use the recipe from the CERTO Liquid Fruit Pectin box! That’s the recipe my grandmother taught me to use the first time I ever made blueberry jam, and it’s sweet and simple, and I’ll think of her every time I make blueberry jam (thinking of you, Tezzie!). I’ve tried a reduced sugar recipe from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, and while I thought it was tasty, it did not earn rave reviews from the family and friends I shared it with. So I went back to using this tried and true version.
Simple Blueberry Jam (from the Sure-Jell CERTO Liquid Fruit Pectin Packaging)
– 4 1/2 cups washed, de-stemmed, and crushed berries (measured after crushing)
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 7 cups sugar
– 2 pouches CERTO liquid pectin
Note: Sanitize your jelly jars and lids in the dishwasher ahead of time, and leave them in the dishwasher hot, or put them in the microwave to keep them warm until you’re ready to fill them.
First, bring your canning pot (basically, a Hugh Jass pot with a wide diameter – mine holds 5 quart jars at once) to a boil. It takes a while (mine takes 30 minutes), so get started early.
Crush your berries in a large bowl with a potato masher (or some other instrument well suited for smashing). I don’t like to completely smash all the berries, because I like to ensure there are some remotely whole berries in my jam. This is the part where your personal preferences come in. But you’re making jam, not jelly, so the more whole fruit, the merrier, if you ask me.
Next, measure out your mashed berries EXACTLY and put them in a 6 to 8 quart non-reactive sauce pot (just don’t use aluminum pots, really ever). Stir in the lemon juice. Measure the exact amount of sugar in a separate bowl (do NOT reduce or alter the amount of sugar or your jam won’t jell), then stir it into the berries. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when you stir it) on high heat, stirring constantly.
Once you’re at a full rolling boil, stir in both pouches of liquid pectin quickly. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. You’ll know it’s going to jell if when you dip your spatula into the mixture and bring it back up, the drips are MUCH slower than before, and even come off the back of the spatula in a small sheet. Remove from heat.
You can skim off any foam with a metal spoon at this point if you’d like, but it doesn’t bother me much, so I leave it. Plus, I was doing this late at night, so I wasn’t too worried about anything but getting it done.
Using a jar funnel and a ladle, ladle the mixture into your sterilized jars, filling to 1/8 of an inch from the top. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the rims of all the jars and threads, then screw the lids on tightly.
Process the jars in your canning pot, making sure they are covered by 1 to 2 inches of water, for 10 minutes. As I’ve mentioned before, I highly recommend investing a couple dollars in a jar grabber. I’ve seen little canning kits like this one that include a jar lifter/grabber, a funnel, and some other fun but probably unnecessary stuff. The jar lifter alone will make you a happier person.
Remove the jars to cool completely on a towel. They should start popping as they cool down and seal! Let stand untouched at room temperature for 24 hours.
As always, if a jar doesn’t seal properly, refrigerate it immediately and use that jar first.
So glad I caught the blueberries when I did and got to put them up for us to enjoy the rest of the year. :)
Again, this is nothing fancy, here. This jam just tastes like plain old fashioned blueberry jam, in the very best way possible.
I hope you’ll get to make some, too. Enjoy!