Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We’ve gone blueberry picking in Somis every June for the past three years, and each time we come home with more berries. This year we harvested 8¼ pounds, enough for copious snacking, our old favorites blueberry buttermilk cake (twice) and blueberry frozen yogurt, and, as I’d hoped, a new endeavor: a small batch of blueberry jam. I wanted something quick and painless—a fun Saturday activity with Friend P, not an all-day project, so I turned to this recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I always feel like a cheater using pectin, especially when I dump in all the sugar it calls for, but sometimes you just can’t beat the convenience, and anyway, this jam turned out wonderfully. You can’t taste the lime specifically, or at least you don’t take a bite and think “Lime!”, but it adds a certain something. I halved the recipe and, after barely more than 90 minutes of work (relaxed, chatting, laughing work, not the sweaty, slogging work of some of our previous jamfests), I had four pretty jars of purple-blue goodness (I used these adorable, squat wide-mouthed jars M gave me for my birthday) and next to P’s ruby-red strawberry ones. We’ve only eaten this on toast so far, but I can’t wait to try it on pancakes. (Other ideas for using homemade jam: stir into oatmeal or plain yogurt, or make oatmeal-jam bars.) Next year, maybe we’ll pick enough berries for me to make a full batch.

4½ cups crushed blueberries (about 9 cups whole berries)
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
1 package (1.75 ounces/49 to 57 grams) regular powdered fruit pectin
5 cups granulated sugar

1. Prepare jars and closures as in steps 1–2 here.

2. In a large, deep, stainless steel saucepan, combine berries and lime juice and zest. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

3. Fill jars and process for 10 minutes, as in steps 7–9 here.

Yield: 6 8-ounce jars
Time: 2–3 hours
Leftover potential: But of course.

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