Blueberries are a very versatile fruit for jam and it is easy to create a simple classic blueberry jam. But if you want to add a little interest to your jam, you can add basil, ginger, or lime. With this recipe, we are going to add lime juice and zest. I find this jam is great on toast or spread on goat cheese with crackers. It’s also great in oatmeal, on ice cream, on vanilla pudding… you get the idea.
All of that being said, if you don’t want to mix it up – just swap out the lime juice with lemon juice and eliminate the lime zest.
This is a small batch of jam and I cook it in a large sauté pan. This allows for more surface area on the jam, which helps it set up quickly. This means that your jam will taste more like fresh blueberries than cooked blueberries.
This blueberry jam relies on the natural pectin levels in blueberries for thickening the jam. If you have some slightly underripe blueberries, they will help with the set of the final jam as they have a higher pectin level that the full on totally blue blueberries. Because there is not added pectin in this recipe, you’ll want to check that the jam reaches 220 F to make sure it sets. You can also go by eye – it’s done when a spoon pulled along the bottom of the pan leaves a clear zone.
Because this is a small batch of jam – you can use any large stock pot to water process the jars of jam. You just need to make sure that the water depth in the pan is high enough to cover the tops of your jars by at least an inch. Place a trivet or a towel on the bottom of the pot so the jars aren’t directly on the heat source. You’ll also want to make sure that the jars have enough space in your pan so that they don’t touch and water can move around all sides of the jars.
Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
- 4 cups blueberries, with some slightly underripe, if possible
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 T bottled lime juice
- zest from one lime
- Prepare a boiling water bath and 3 half-pint (8 oz) jars or 6 4-oz jars. A boiling water bath can be done in any stock pot that allows for water to cover the jars by at least 1-inch.
- Wash and prepare lids and rings, according to the package directions.
- Combine the blueberries and a splash pf water in a large skillet. The skillet allows for more moisture loss over the surface, which reduces cooking time and maintains the fresh blueberry flavor. Stir and crush the berries over high or medium-high heat until they begin to break down.
- Add the sugar, lemon juice and zest.
- Stirring regularly, bring the fruit to a boil and cook until it bubbles and looks quite thick.
- This will take about 10-12 minutes. It’s done when you pull a spatula through the jam and it doesn’t immediately run back into the cleared space. You can also check the temperature with a candy thermometer – it’s done when it hits 220 F.
- When the jam is done cooking, remove the pot from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim any foam off the surface. Ladle into the prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, remove air bubbles, if necessary, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- If you don’t want to process this recipe (or if you have a jar that doesn’t seal), you can jar the jams and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. It will also freeze well.