Make-Your-Own Monday is a weekly series that challenges you to take something that you would normally purchase in the grocery store and make it yourself. This challenge is about getting the processed ingredients out of your kitchen, making your home and family healthier, and saving money.
This week, I made a batch of our favorite blueberry jam. I know–making jam sounds really intimidating to some of us. I am no canning expert, although it is a goal of mine to eventually have a large garden harvest to can some day. But I really like making small batches of jam whenever we need them. It so happened that we were running low on our blueberry jam supply, so I whipped some up.
We always have a good stash of blueberries in our freezer, thanks in large part to my parent’s fabulous blueberry bushes. We are also blessed with lots of blueberries from other family and friends. We always welcome blueberries with open arms around here.
This jam recipe does not contain pectin, which is great since pectin isn’t an ingredient I have on hand very often. The combination of the blueberries and lemon juice produce a natural pectin that holds the jam together quite nicely.
We enjoy this blueberry jam in many ways– on toasted fresh bread, over ice cream, and in our morning oatmeal are just a few ways we have it. This recipe only makes enough for one pint jar, which works out perfectly for us. However, if you have a larger family and require more jam, just feel free to double the recipe. I don’t mind!
Also, I do not officially “can” this recipe for storing in the pantry. Since I only make it a pint at a time, I just store it in the fridge. If you are making several pints, I’d recommend following the proper canning procedures to make sure it stores properly for you.
Since I’m not using pectin in this jam, I test the jam by using the spreading test. All you need for this test is a plate or saucer. Stick it in the freezer for about ten minutes, or until it is very cold. Spoon about a tablespoon of your hot jam mixture on the center of the plate. If the jam gels around the edges and doesn’t spread, that is how you know the jam is ready. The jam in this picture wasn’t quite ready. See how it is spreading a bit? If that happens, just cook it for a few more minutes and test again.
Here’s what you do:
- 1 1/2 cups of blueberries– fresh or frozen
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Juice and zest of a large lemon
- In a heavy pot, combine the lemon juice, zest, and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. This could take up to ten minutes.
- Add the blueberries and sugar.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.
- Gently crush the berries with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Cook the berry mixture for about five minutes, or until it passes the spreading test.
- Pour the jam into a clean jar. Allow to cool thoroughly and store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
Try some of my other blueberry recipes: