The evening got away from me last night, so jam making started first thing this morning. I checked on the dehydrating blueberries and they are drying away. I also put another tray of blueberries into the freezer – one more tray to go after this one! When I first started making jam – I was a little intimidated – thinking am I really going to me able to do this? I was successful with my first attempt, which by the way was blueberry jam – I had made applesauce before, but jam was new.
Making Blueberry Jam (just follow these steps and you should be enjoying some jam in no time).
10 cups of blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Package of Pectin
2 1/4 cups sugar
1. First you want to wash and sterilize the jar. You can use a dishwasher, which I do not have – so I wash the jars and then put them in boiling water, the same water I use for the water bath.
2. Put a spoon in the freezer.
3. Wash and sort the blueberries. You will need about 10 cups of blueberries. I wash them in a colander and then sort them as I am measuring them out – looking for stems, remnants of the flowers and pulling out any mushy ones.
4. You now need to crush the berries. You can use a food processor or a potato masher or you can use a blender if you want really smooth jam. I use a combination of both. You should end up with about 6 +/- processed blueberries.
6. Mix a box of pectin with 1/4 cup sugar, then pour that along with the lemon juice and water into the pot and turn on high. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning. I have a wooden spoon that I use for items that will stain, because you will now have a blue wooden spoon. You want the mixture to come to a boil – this takes about 5 – 10 minutes.
7. Since my kitchen is very small and I really only have one counter top to use – I am pretty anal about cleaning up as I go. While the mixture is coming to a boil I wash all the items used so far and then set the jars out on an old dish cloth, so they are ready to be filled.
8. Place the lids into a pan of water and set to boil. Once the water has boiled turn the burner off and let the lids sit in the hot water. Keep the cover of the pot on.
9. Once the mixture is a rolling boil, where stirring it will not get rid of the bubbles, add the remaining sugar. I use no sugar pectin, which still calls for 3 cups of sugar, which I do not do – but it is what your preference is for sweetness. To me the berries are already sweet.
11. It will start to thicken. Take the spoon out of the freezer and fill it about 1/2 way. Let it cool to room temperature – taste and if the thickness you want – it is done. This is when I turn the burner on to heat the water bath pot.
12. Using tongs or a magnetic top taker outer and take the tops out of the hot water and place on the dish cloth next to the empty jars.
13. Place a funnel over a jar and using a ladle, ladle in the jam mixture into the jar to about 1/4 inch from the top. Continue this until all jars are full. Place the tops on and then put the ring on and tighten. I also used reusable tops this times, which are plastic. If using these, place the tops on and then screw the ring on tight and then loosen 1/4 turn.
14. Place the jars into the boiling water. After about 7 minutes you can start taking them out – using a jar grip. Place them on the dish towel and then listen for the popping – this is the jars sealing. If one does not seal turn it upside down and let it stand there for about 5 minutes turn over and it should have sealed. If one does not seal that is the one you will place in the refrigerator after it has cooled and use it tomorrow morning on your toast. The jars should keep for about 12 months.
You can make labels for your jam and give them as gifts. The people we have given them to have all enjoyed them and love the fact that it was homemade. We come up with fun names for our jams: Happy Blueberry Jam, Peachy Delicious Jam, An Apple A Day Cinnamon Butter and Apricot Mango Madness Jam – which will be made tonight.
Please note that I am changing the host for my blog and depending on the timing, may not be able to blog tomorrow. Same address http://simplyrurban.com