Blueberry Jam

measured blueberries

When it comes to canning, blueberries were my gateway fruit (although they didn’t usher me through the doorway into the realm of canning preoccupation until I reached adulthood). Growing up, I’d often pick them with my family, but I always left the jam-making and canning to my mom, participating only when it came time to squish the berries into jammable shape with my fingers (there’s something so deeply satisfying about crushing those juicy little blue orbs into pulpy bits).

However, one fateful July day during the summer of 2007, my friend Seth and I decided to go blueberry picking and everything changed. That summer, I was in grad school and he was unemployed, so we both had free time on our hands. It was the first time I had gone berry picking without parents, a sibling or babysitting charges that needed to be entertained. We spent at least two hours out in the blueberry field, filling up our buckets and eating until our fingers were stained blue and our stomachs were ready to burst with fruit.

smashed blueberries

Later that day, when I was home alone with my berries, I did the thing that was innate. I called my mom for canning advice, ran across the street to the hardware store for some jars and pectin and made my first solo batch of jam. Thinking back on it now, it’s hard to imagine a time when I had so little canning experience, when I hovered anxiously over my filled jars, praying for them to seal (admittedly, there are times when I still check and recheck freshly processed jars, only able to relax when they ring out a ping of sealed success).

Since then, I have made at least 100 batches of jams, marmalades, fruit butters, chutneys and pickles. However, blueberry jam will always feel familiar, foundational and necessary in a way that no other fruit can match. Summer doesn’t feel complete without at least one blueberry picking trip and a batch of homemade blueberry jam cooling on the kitchen counter.

blueberry jam in pot

We’re heading into the end of blueberry picking season here in the mid-Atlantic region, but there are still to be found if you look (as a side note, if you’re interested in the history of cultivated blueberries, check out this interesting little article). You can also get them at the grocery store for relatively cheap prices, if you don’t have any u-pick farms in your area.

And on to the recipe…

blueberry jam in jars

 

Blueberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of smashed blueberries (you’ll need 8-10 cups of unsquashed berries to equal this amount)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons classic pectin powder
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Prepare a canning pot and 3 pint jars. Place 3 lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
  2. Pour the smashed berries into a low, wide, non-reactive pot. Measure out the sugar and whisk in the powdered pectin. Add the sugar and pectin mixture to the fruit and stir to combine.
  3. Once the sugar is mostly dissolved, place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook at a controlled boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the fruit begins to look thick and any foaming has begun to subside.
  4. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice and let jam continue to cook until it passes the plate test, or until the drips hang off the spatula in thick, sticky rivulets.
  5. Remove jam from heat and funnel into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  6. When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  7. Once jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals.
  8. Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
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Eat atop fresh scones or biscuits for maximum enjoyment.

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147 Responses to Blueberry Jam

  1. 101
    Lynn says:

    I love this jam but am wondering is if it is possible to make a Blueberry-Lemon Basil jelly? We have loads of lemon basil growing in our garden and its lemony-lovely flavor is fantastic! Would it work to toss some crushed basil leaves into a batch of blueberries as I am preparing to make the juice for jelly? How much basil would I use?

    • 101.1
      Marisa says:

      Lynn, you could certainly infused the basil into blueberries as you prep them for juicing. I wouldn’t add whole basil leaves, as they will turn brown and slimy during cooking. As far as how much to use, that really depends on how strong a flavor it is and how strongly you want it to taste of the lemon basil. Start with some and taste.

      • Lynn says:

        Thanks Marisa :) I was thinking of adding the basil when I crush & cook down the blueberries for juicing since it all gets strained clear in cheesecloth anyway. If this process won’t work, how would I go about getting that lemon basil flavor into the jelly? Would I need to steep the basil in a little hot water that I would then strain and add to the blueberries as they cooked for extracting the juice? BTW…we have Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil OG growing in the garden, oh my word, superb flavor-best ever lemon basil!

  2. 102
    Lisa says:

    That was a sweet story :) and yes there is something special about squishing those little suckers!

  3. 103
    Donna says:

    This is the first year since moving back to Wisconsin that I have gone blueberry picking. My hubby and I got a little over zealous and picked 30 lbs. Your recipe for the jam is easy and good. I will be making many more batches this year.

  4. 104
    Tammy Searles says:

    I stumbled onto your pages by accident while looking for a new garlic dill pickle recipe for canning. I am delighted to find so many recipes on canning and the memories that go with them. I would love to be the winner of your extra jar of jam. I am going to attempt to make some for the first time ever this year so it’d be great to see how I measure up :)
    Tammy in Maine

  5. 105
    Katelyn says:

    Hi Marisa,

    I’m going blueberry picking on Saturday and would love to try this recipe. Any idea what the approximate yield is? Trying to figure out how much picking I should do :)

    Also wanted to say that many or your recipes have become favorites. In particular we can’t do without your tomato jam to spread on grilled cheese sandwiches during the winter. I also just made a batch of your peach jam with fresh GA peaches. My husband says it tastes like cobbler in a jar.

    Thanks,
    Katelyn

    • 105.1
      Marisa says:

      You should get either 3 or 3 1/2 pints from this recipe. Yields vary a lot, so that’s as specific as I can get!

  6. 106
    Melissa says:

    Marisa, i found this page by accident, i glad i did. we picked blueberries this year and tried to make blueberry jam. the problem is, it never set up. Still thin, any suggestions on how to fix the problem. delicious but thin
    thanks
    Melissa

  7. 107
    Heather says:

    I’ve just lost my canning verginity making this wonderful blueberry jam!!! Looking forward to many more adventures in canning:)

  8. 108
  9. 109
    wynonna says:

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use splenda instead of sugar? would it be the same?

    • 109.1
      Marisa says:

      Nope, it wouldn’t be the same at all. Sugar provides a chemical reaction that you don’t get with Splenda. If you want to make a jam sweetened with Splenda, you should get a low sugar pectin, and follow the directions on the packet.

  10. 110
    Richa says:

    Hi…I wanted to know is there another source of pectin???

  11. 111
    jami young says:

    hi marisa

    just wondered can i use frozen blueberrys i have 3 big bags that i need to do something with wanted to make jam but unsure if it will set or not

  12. 112
    Katherine says:

    Hi Marisa,

    Does this recipe translate well into freezer jam, using the freezer pectin? Ideally, I’d like to use my frozen berries to make a freezer jam. Do you think I’d need to alter the recipe any other way? Thanks for a great blog – I’m a newbie but will be back for sure!

    • 112.1
      Marisa says:

      Katherine, freezer jam is an uncooked jam made using pectin designed to set without cooking. I wrote about blueberry freezer jam here. If you simply want to cook the jam and preserve it by freezing instead of canning, this recipe does work for that.

  13. 113
    Katherine says:

    Thanks Marisa! I’m going to try it out this weekend.

    K.

  14. 114

    [...] 4 pints of pickled radish/onions7. 12 half pints of strawberry vanilla jam8. 12 half pints of blueberry jam9. 12 half pints of tomato jam10. 8 half pints of yellow tomato and basil jam11. 12 half pints of [...]

  15. 115
    Meni says:

    Hello
    Love your blog. I was wondering can I use the powder pectin instead of the liquid?

  16. 116

    [...] even made the jam. It’s blueberry – recipe courtesy of Food in Jars. I achieved set in this jam to an extreme extent, but when I heated it up per the pop tart recipe [...]

  17. 117

    [...] me. Enter candied ginger, vanilla-blueberry jam. I found a great recipe for blueberry jam over at Food in Jars (I love them, so much). But I wanted something more. I had some candied ginger in my pantry and [...]

  18. 118
    Kirsten says:

    Hi, Marisa – I just noticed that this recipe and the one in your book (which I love!) are slightly different. Is there a reason why you use powdered pectin here and liquid in your book?

    • 118.1
      Marisa says:

      I tweaked this recipe recently to use powdered pectin because people are reporting that they’re really struggling to find liquid pectin in their grocery stores. It was my attempt to make the recipe more accessible and useful.

      • Kirsten says:

        Phew! I have access to all sorts of pectins in the shops here (including Pomona’s), but my farmer’s market has been giving away powdered in recent weeks, so I just stocked up! During my first attempt at using pectin, I learned the hard way that they are just not interchangeable. (Not peach jam! Peach paste!) But doing the math of translation always makes me nervous.

        Did I mention how much I love the book? FIJ and the Blue Book are my canning guides. Thanks for everything!

  19. 119
    Hoang says:

    Hi there

    My husband and I just made your jam and in your book you had put 2 oz of liquid pectin. We didn’t have liquid pectin only the powder ones and we used the whole package, and it turned out fine. However I thought it tasted a little bit “rusty” so I’m wondering how you convert the ingredient over if you only have the powder version (since in the recipe in this post said 3 tbsp of the liquid kind. Thanks!

  20. 120

    […] out Marisa’s book or her web site here. She has some really good tips, as well as the recipe for blueberry jam. Be prepared to spend a lot of time at first, waiting for the water to  boil and figuring out  at […]

  21. 121

    […] followed Marisa’s recipe for blueberry jam & it was simple, delicious & it satisfied some deep seated need I have to have a product. […]

  22. 122
  23. 123

    […] time to make another batch before the TPOBPAH show, so I went straight back to it and made this Blueberry Jam Recipe from Food in Jars. I followed this recipe to a tee except for leaving out nutmeg and using the low sugar pectin since […]

  24. 124
    Miriam says:

    Hi Marisa– are the cooking instructions on this recipe correct? The pectin powder instructions say to cook 1 minute after reaching a full boil rather than the 10 to 15 minutes called for in your recipe.

    • 124.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s correct. Because I use less sugar than the packet instructions, you need more cooking time in order to get the jam to set.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  9. Time is precious | - November 17, 2013

    […] out Marisa’s book or her web site here. She has some really good tips, as well as the recipe for blueberry jam. Be prepared to spend a lot of time at first, waiting for the water to  boil and figuring out  at […]

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