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.
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.
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…
- 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
- Prepare a canning pot and 3 pint jars. Place 3 lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- Once jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals.
- Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
Eat atop fresh scones or biscuits for maximum enjoyment.
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.
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!
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
Melissa, you should read the following two posts: http://www.foodinjars.com/2010/07/canning-101-how-to-ensure-that-your-jam-sets/ and http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/08/canning-101-how-to-save-runny-jam/
Links are unavailable. If you still have tips for saving a runny jam I’d love the help! My blueberry jam didn’t set up. 🙁
Sara, so sorry! Those links got screwed up when we moved to a new server last summer. I’ve updated them so they should work now.
Hi Marisa, can you try to fix those links again? Just got 10 lbs of blueberries and am hoping that this year’s jam won’t be runny…although I don’t like using pectin…Thanks!
They are fixed.
I’ve just lost my canning verginity making this wonderful blueberry jam!!! Looking forward to many more adventures in canning:)
Hi, I was wondering if I could use splenda instead of sugar? would it be the same?
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.
Hi…I wanted to know is there another source of pectin???
I love using Pomonas Fruit Pectin. It uses calcium to gell and so you can use far less sugar in jams and jellies.
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
Yes, go for it.
The blueberry freezer jam I made using frozen blueberries was too thick to spread nicely. Can I add a bit of water or something else?
Gerri, you can certainly thin it out a little, batch by batch. That’s always a danger with freezer jams.
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!
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.
Thanks Marisa! I’m going to try it out this weekend.
Love your blog. I was wondering can I use the powder pectin instead of the liquid?
Yes! Here’s how you do it! https://foodinjars.com/2013/07/canning-101-how-to-substitute-pectin/
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?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Just gave this a go … reduced to 4 cups smooshed fruit and 2 2/3 cups sugar, since that’s all that fits in my 10″ skillet. Skipped the cinnamon/nutmeg and let it macerate/cook with some lemon-thyme from my “herb garden” — pulled that before canning. Skipped powdered pectin and used liquid at the end (similar to your blackberry jam recipe). I got three half-pints and three quarter-pints, plus a bit for the fridge, so that’s almost 2 1/2 pints even after reducing quantities by 1/3!!
I **love** the reduced sugar volume in your recipes. I’ve seen other published recipes that call for equal amounts of sugar and fruit — and sometimes more sugar than fruit! Yours are plenty sweet and plenty gelled. Thanks for turning me into a small-batch-jam-princess !!
I was thinking about making this with jam and adding vanilla to it. I’ve been looking at your recipes (just tried tomato jam and its awesome) and trying to plan out my summer…at least try to start collecting enough jars and lids I will need this summer! I thought about making a blueberry vanilla jam. What about this recipe and add vanilla sugar instead of plain sugar or the pulp from a bean? I don’t think that would change the acidity and I wouldn’t be changing the amount of sugar.
Would Ceylon or korintje cinnamon be preferable?
I typically use either cassia or ceylon. Both are good.
I just made this jam with Saskatoon berries instead of blueberries – it turned out pretty well – very “nutmegy.” My husband said it tastes like mince tarts, which is a great compliment, in my mind, and very appropriate, as I’ll be giving it away as Christmas presents! Question: this is my third successful batch of jam, the first two being your vanilla rhubarb with earl grey. But my jam always takes forever to set! I end up boiling it for about a half an hour after I add the pectin, and it never reaches the appropriate temperature, even if it’s splattering all over the stove. By that point I just figure it “has” to be set, and it has been these last three times, but in the past, when I’ve gone with a shorter boil time, I’ve had utter no-set failure. Any ideas as to why my jam takes so long? Am I doing something wrong? (I used liquid pectin, btw, as per the recipe in your book.)
Are you using Certo brand liquid pectin? I find it doesn’t set up as readily as the Ball brand. As far as the cooking time goes, there’s a fairly wide amount of variation. As far as using the thermometer to judge set, have you read this post? https://foodinjars.com/2014/02/canning-101-use-thermometer-achieve-set/
Can you use honey instead of suger?
I wouldn’t recommend that you make that swap with this exact recipe. Here’s one I wrote as a guest post for 100 Days of Real Food that can be followed as written. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2014/06/26/blueberry-jam-honey-sweetened/
What about blueberry-rhubarb? It might be a bit sour but would like to know your thoughts. I have a bunch of frozen berries and the rhubarb is in its prime now.
I love younsite and have used it for years. Thank you! One thing I wish is that you’d use weight measurements for the amount of fruit. It’s hard to know how many cups when you’re buying at the grocery store or farmers’ market everything is measured by weight.
Many of my newer recipes include weight measurements. This is one of the earlier recipes I posted.
do you have a recipe for blueberry jalapeño jam?
I do not. However, you could add a few jalapeño slices to this one if you want that heat.
Best jam recipes ever! Thank you!!! They always set, less sugar, and great texture!