Tag Archives | blueberry jam

Small Batch Spiced Blueberry Jam

On tonight’s live broadcast over on Facebook (Monday, June 18, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT), I am going to be making a small batch of spiced blueberry jam. This recipe is super speedy, because blueberries need so little prep and because it’s a small batch (it cooks down in less than 15 minutes!).

I will show you how to process the jars so that it’s shelf stable, but you could also scrape the jam into a couple containers, stash them in the fridge, and eat through them over the course of the next couple months. Perfect for folks who want to make their jam right now!

Oh, and don’t forget about Can Together! This month, we’re focusing on berry preserves. If you make something with berries and post it to social media, make sure to use the hashtag #cantogether so that your fellow jammers and picklers can find you. Let’s keep our preserving community strong!

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Guest Post: A First Time Canner Makes Blueberry Jam

I don’t often run guest posts, but I do find that it’s nice to occasionally include a voice other than my own. Today’s guest writer is Todd Van Patter from the blog Foodie’s Arsenal. He is an able cook but a very new canner. This is his account of his first preserving experience (aided by my cookbook!). Thanks so much for making one of my recipes and writing about it, Todd! 

For whatever reason, I’ve never tried canning before. I realize that in our convenience culture it’s more of a niche skill or a hobby for the culinarily ambitious, so I’m not exactly alone in my cluelessness. But I have every reason to be all about canning, and it just hasn’t clicked until now.

I grew up in a family of good cooks and pretty good gardeners; my wife and I care a lot about our food and are always looking for ways to simplify our lifestyle; I have a food blog where I write about such important things as being better foodies and learning skills to get more out of your food on a frequent basis. I even grew up in Central Pennsylvania, come from Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, and have a surprising number of Mennonite friends. But still no jars. So I guess my canning destiny has been a long time coming.

The final push I needed came from Marisa and her awesome book. She didn’t ask me to promote it or anything, but I’ll happily do so because it’s my kind of cookbook. Laid back, thorough explanations, enticing recipes and pictures, and just a little nerdy– it’s exactly the kind of canning book I would have pictured if I knew I wanted one so bad. So I’m really glad to have Marisa’s guidance be my gateway into the canning world.

Anyway, I gave it a shot, and I’m hooked. Right now is the perfect time to learn to can if you’re interested in it, with summer gardens headed toward harvest and farmer’s markets bursting with color and variety. The couple of jams and fruit butters I’ve tried so far have turned out well, and since I’m lucky to have a strong gardening/preserving culture here in Harrisonburg VA, I know that I’ll continue to learn great ways use this new skill in my own food adventures.

I decided to share my debut canning experience with you all using Marisa’s Blueberry Jam recipe from the Food in Jars cookbook, since blueberries are one of my top favorite things on the planet. Thanks to you all for hosting me here and letting me add my voice to the mix, and I hope that you’ll also come follow along at my blog, Foodie’s Arsenal, where there will soon undoubtedly be a lot more canning recipes popping up.

Todd’s annotated version of my blueberry jam recipe is after the jump. Thanks again, Todd! 

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Blueberry Jam Winner

blueberry jam winner

We’ve got a blueberry jam winner! The randomizer selected #20, which corresponds with the comment left by Rebecca. Congratulations Rebecca (I’ll be in touch via email soon)!

Don’t forget that you’ve got until Monday at 11:59 p.m. to enter the Fresh Preserving Kit giveaway!

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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…

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