Urban Preserving: Blueberry Ginger Jam

two pints blueberries

Already this summer, I’ve worked my way through nearly two flats of blueberries. I got my first flat from Beechwood Orchards and the second has been picked up piecemeal from various farmers’ markets and produce shops. I made a batch of slow cooker blueberry butter with some of the Beechwood blues and ate the rest. That second flat has gone into smoothies, baked goods and this small batch of blueberry ginger jam.

draining

In the past, I’ve stuck with the combination of blueberry, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s how my mom makes jam and so it tastes like my childhood. However, I had a chunky knob of ginger in my fruit basket and a few hunks of candied ginger knocking around a jar, so I decided to go a different way.

just less than 3 cups mashed berries

I went with the two different styles of ginger because 1). I had them both kicking around and 2). I’ve found that when you use two different methods for infusing flavor, you get a deeper and stronger presence. I also like the surprise of having little bits of candied ginger spread throughout the jam.

plus one and quarter cups sugar

As you can see from the picture above, what I did was use the same measuring cup to portion out all the ingredients. When I make small batches of jam, I like to minimize the number of dishes I use so that the experience is as streamlined and easy as possible. After smashing the blueberries, I had just under three cups and so I measured a little less than one and half cups of sugar right on top of the berries.

adding ginger

After the sugar and blueberries were stirred together, I tossed in about three inches of chopped ginger into the mix. Now here’s where I say that you should deviate from my method and consider putting the ginger into a tea ball or tying it into a length of cheesecloth. I ended up fishing each little slice of ginger out of the jam as it cooked, which was fiddly business.

finished blueberry ginger jam

The finished jam is gently ginger-y with a nice, deep color and flavor. I’ve been eating it on toasted English muffins and I think it would be really good with a bit of cottage cheese.

Small Batch Blueberry Ginger Jam

Yield: 1 Pint

Ingredients

  • 3 cups smashed blueberries (approximately 2 pints blueberries)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 inches ginger, sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Prepare a small canning pot and two half pint jars.
  2. Combine mashed blueberries, sugar and sliced ginger in a bowl or measuring cup. Let sit for at least an hour and up to 24 hours to give the ginger time to infuse its flavor into the fruit. If you’re going for a longer maceration time, pop the fruit into the fridge.
  3. When you’re ready to make the jam, pour the fruit into a medium pot. Bring to a boil and add the lemon zest and juice. Cook for 10-20 minutes (time depends on moisture level in fruit, humidity, power of stove, etc.) until jam approaches 220 degrees and appears to pass the plate test.
  4. When jam is finished cooking, remove pot from heat and stir in the candied ginger. Pour into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  5. Check seals when cool and store unopened jars in a cool, dark place.
https://foodinjars.com/recipe/urban-preserving-blueberry-ginger-jam/

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81 responses to “Urban Preserving: Blueberry Ginger Jam”

  1. Seriously?

    You posted this not 2 hours after I gave up on finding another blueberry recipe (already did blueberry lemon conserve) and used them for blueberry-pepper vodka?

    Sheesh… you KNOW this means I have to buy more and start the “WTH do I do with all these blueberries” all over again.

    Not complaining toooooo much 😉 Can’t wait to try this.

  2. Hooray for Urban Preserving!!

    Tomorrow is farmer’s market day, and while my heart now belongs to the delicate and delovely gooseberry, I am looking forward to blueberries now, too!

    Thank you!

  3. I see in the picture that you have pectin out… but it isn’t listed in the recipe. Is it suppose to be there or was the pectin just being a camera hog… LOL!

    • Wow, you have good eyes! The pectin just happened to be sitting there on the counter, I didn’t use any in this recipe. I just had a lot going on in the kitchen that day.

  4. I don’t have to tell you that your small-scale recipes speak to my heart, do I? I love that I can turn a few pints of blueberries into something amazing–and so quick too!

  5. I’m headed to buy blueberries today! Perfect timing–I can’t wait to try this. I’m also making plum sauce this weekend, so I’ll have plenty of ginger on hand.

  6. I’m exploring the idea of getting into the whole canning/preserving thing. Can you tell me a good place to start? What exactly do you mean by “Prepare a small canning pot and two half pint jars.”? And what’s the “plate test”? Are these explained earlier on your blog somewhere? Any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  7. I can not wait to make this jam. Just got a gallon bag of blueberries and was trying to decide what to to with them.
    Is it possible to use fresh ground ginger? The jar says that 1 tsp = 1 tsp minced. My small town grocery store does not carry fresh ginger so I buy this type so it will last.
    I am so excited to have found you.

    • Marina, it won’t have the exact same flavor, but it should work. I would start by adding 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger and then tasting the jam. Remember too that the flavors will get more intense as the jam sits in the jar.

    • Ginger knobs do well in a pot, so if you get lucky enough to pick some up at the store sometime, you can start some in a ceramic pot and have a ready supply. I live in the subtropics so mine can remain outdoors year-round, but I believe it does well indoors, too. It may go dormant (lose its foliage) when the temperature dips under 75 or so, but it’ll come back when it gets warmer out.

        • I’ve done this with ginger for years, and it’s done well in a regular container mix. Haven’t tried to overwinter indoors though, I just dump out the pot and harvest my ginger in the late fall. You can cut off a few shoots during the growing season to use as well — they have a more delicate ginger flavor and are great added to light stocks or soups.

    • I know this is a couple of years old but I’m a little surprised this wasn’t mentioned – whole ginger root freezes marvelously! While I always have the jar/tube for general spur-of-the-moment use I also usually have a “hand” of ginger in the freezer for when I need slices or chunks, because I never seem to use up a fresh piece before it grows fur. Peel or not, as you wish (I don’t, I just wash and dry), put it in a zip-top freezer bag, press/suck all the air out, and toss it in the freezer. Keeps for ages.

      I’ll see your combination of fresh and crystallized ginger and raise you a pinch of ground powdered ginger – when I last made ginger peach jam, just for grins I pulled some out to fiddle with flavoring. The “original” had just the fresh ginger root I had cooked in the jam. I added teensy-weensy minces of crystallized ginger to #2, and the third had both and a pinch of powdered ginger. The third version won by a landslide, and the whole batch became “triple ginger peach jam”…the powdered ginger just sort of rounded off the sharpness of the other two gingers. I have 20# of wild blueberries waiting in the freezer and there will be “triple ginger blueberry jam” this year as well as the “triple lemon blueberry” (lemon juice, lemon zest, candied peel) that is a Must-Have.

    • You can certainly double it to bring it up to a larger yield recipe. I wouldn’t go beyond about eight cups of fruit in the pot though, that tends to be my maximum amount. Remember, too much fruit in the pot and it becomes impossible to achieve set without seriously overcooking the fruit.

  8. I can’t think you enough for this series. For the newbie afraid to alter recipes, these are invaluable! With my tiny kitchen and the 100 degree heat, making up just a couple jars is fantastic.

  9. Marisa,

    Blueberry jam sounds lovely.

    I’d love to see a post on how you plan your canning for the summer. This is my second summer canning and I made some notes (what I like, didn’t like, how much we used, etc.) after last season. I’d love to hear how you stay organized.

  10. The think about making a sachet of something with cheesecloth or the like to steep flavor into a jam is that you have to remember to fetch it out before you put it in the jars 😉 I made that mistake with cherries earlier this year; it’s just too easy to forget its in there once it’s been dyed by the berry juice.

    In any case, if anyone’s interested, here’s my take on the blueberry ginger thing (plus two other blueberry jams) from our own blueberry picking a few weeks back: http://pandabolt.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/the-movie-star-the-professor-and-mary-ann/

    That said, I do believe the candied ginger bits floating around in there sounds kinda fantastic.

  11. This is one of my favorite combinations. It makes the most amazing cake filling. I made it for a friends wedding a couple of years ago and it was amazing.

  12. So funny — it almost never occurs to me to *buy* fruit for jam — with three rhubarb plants, two plum trees, four apple trees and a grove of sour cherries down the street (in an empty lot) I think of jam as what I do to Prevent Fruit Waste. Although I’ve got my eye out for a good deal on a flat of raspberries — my four plants are new babies, and I used up the last of the raspberry jam. Hoping the Utah Bear Lake folks will drive up with flats before the summer is over …

  13. I always pick blueberries from a pick your own place and promptly throw them into the freezer to make my blueberry jam in the fall when it is cooler. But since I am making zucchini jam right now and I have a knob of ginger on the counter from a different recipe. I pulled out 3 cups of blueberries and have them macerating right now on the back porch, (Covered of course.) I can’t wait to taste this jam. And my normal taste tester (aka my brother and his kids) are anxious to try it too. If they like it, I will be doubling it the next time I make it.

  14. I never thought of combining ginger with blueberries! I’ve done frozen chocolate covered blueberries with cayenne pepper (which was awesome), but I think we’ll have to give your recipe a go 🙂

  15. I’m “liking” on bloglovin’ right now. I’m determined to finally can something this year and I’ve got some blueberries ready to go!

  16. Yum! Made this jam after work today. Got just over two half-pint jars. Enjoyed that little extra stirred into some plain greek yogurt sprinkled with some toasted almonds! Thanks for sharing this one.

  17. I love the small batch canning, its a brilliant idea! My mini NYC apartment can’t hold the jars or a large equipment for typical canning. Now I’m convinced I can start canning! 2 quick questions… when recipes call for 3 cups of smashed blueberries. Does that mean 3 cups before smashing? or after smashing?
    Also, can this recipe be adapted to the cinnamon/nutmeg recipe you mention? I love the blueberry-cinnamon combo! Can’t wait to try.
    Thanks again!

    • That means 3 cups after smashing. And you can totally adapt to cinnamon and nutmeg. Just skip the ginger and add in a teaspoon or two of cinnamon and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg.

  18. I was out in the insane heat today picking blackberries. I am doing this again but with blackberries. My local coop sells this nice little packet of bags for making your own teabags which you stick everything into and iron the one side. I have mu ginger slices in there plus some green cardamom pods. I am going to let it macerate in the refrigerator until Monday or Tuesday when it is supposed to be cooler. I will let you know how it turns out with blackberries!

  19. Mmmmm, going to see if I have enough Ginger People baking bits left to make this….I need to find some more to buy. They are way spicier than the big slices and fresher tasting than some of the spice jar versions.

    This should make some small dents in the 5 gallons of berries I brought home Wednesday. My berries were too big for pickled berries which is what I used most of the wild Maine ones I picked last year for.

    Love the small batch recipe. Going to pass out bags of berries with the recipe and URL to my newbie jammer friends. 🙂

  20. Marisa – I made this jam yesterday. Thank you so much for the recipe! I am a huge fan of ginger – the more the merrier in my book. I have not been a fan of blueberries or jam – until now. This combination is awesome! I am definitely making more!

  21. I have really enjoyed the blogs from everyone and the recipes. Looks like I have to go shopping again tomorrow, and then can again. I just love it!

  22. My mum gave me 5 kilos of blueberries on thursday, and I knew at once that I just HAD TO make this jam. Which I did, and it turned out so incredibly lovely (despite the fact that I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and put the candied ginger in with the rest of the ingredients). Thanks for all the great recipes you post!

  23. I just made a batch today…oh so very yummy! My first canning of summer 2012 since I missed the strawberry season due to a vacation…thank you for the continued inspiration to this new canner.

  24. Would it be possible to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe? I started canning last year. This year we made some amazing blueberry maple walnut conserve, but fainted over the amount of sugar in it. So we’ve been wondering if we could adjust the sugar down a bit in this and other recipes – maybe a 1/2 cup here or there? Would we just need to cook it longer? Or could we add a little pectin? Increase the processing time? For conserves or relishes, it might not be as important to be as firm a gel as a jam is, but we’d still like to have a jam that holds itself together! Have you had experience substituting or mixing sweeteners like Maple Syrup, Sugar, and/or honey? Would love to hear your advice!

    • Anne, you could drop the sugar down by 1/2 cup in this recipe and you’ll still probably get a good set. I wrote a post last summer on the role of sugar in home canning, before you start reducing sugar everywhere, it’d be a good idea to give it a read. https://foodinjars.com/2012/07/canning-101-sugars-role-in-home-preserved-food/

      There is a point to which you can reduce the sugar a little and increase the cooking time. However, eventually, you won’t have enough sugar in a recipe to get a set. I’d recommend that you look into Pomona’s Pectin. It’s a natural product that allows you get a set from things with just a little sugar, honey, or maple sugar.

  25. […] As a highly social person, it seems a bit unusual, but I prefer to pick in solitude, with my dogs munching on nearby bushes as I lose myself in the collection of shiny jewels. Humming, in a fairly off key manner, I daydream about this year’s preservation techniques: fermented, canned in simple syrup, dried,  frozenand jam! […]

  26. Instead of slicing the fresh ginger, can you grate it instead? This way you wouldn’t have to fish the slices out of the jam? I buy my ginger locally at a farmer’s market and freeze it and grate it when I need it.

  27. We opened our last jar of this jam this morning — the aroma was fantastic! Thank you for giving me the confidence to start canning! This year I made the peach honey vanilla jam, some peach jam with lavender, the blueberry ginger jam, orange marmalade, and applesauce — all with your advice. Just want to say thank you (and my husband thanks you too)!

  28. Marisa, I’ve made this jam a few times now to give to friends and family. Every time I find I have to make it in larger and larger batches. Absolutely everyone loves it and ALWAYS asks if I have more. Kudos to you – this one is outstanding!

  29. Just started canning and your website and book have been a great inspiration. I made this recipe today, doing the plate test and everything, and unfortunately it turned out way too thick. Kind of like glue, actually. I followed the recipe exactly, or so I thought. Did I just over-simmer? Still getting the hang of things…any advice?

    • If it’s too thick, that means it was cooked for too long. The more batches of jam you make, the more you’ll start to learn the balance point. It also helps to know that blueberries are relatively high in natural pectin, so they will set up more quickly than strawberries or pears.

    • It sure will! Just scrape it into a jar and put it in the fridge once it’s cool. If you’re going to freeze it, make sure to use straight sided jars and leave headspace to account for expansion.

  30. I’ve been looking for a recipe to make more a blueberry sauce/syrup that I can spoon on ice cream, greek yogurt, and pancakes but this sounds delicious with the ginger. Do you think I could just not cook the jam to full set to use it as a sauce? I assume its fine but I wanted to make sure its still safe if I do that, I don’t want to give away questionable things.

  31. Yes! I never thought of blueberry and ginger together but it is amazing. I know so because I canned this jam today. Well, I canned 1 jar. I think I ate too much to fill the second jar.

  32. Candied vs. Crystallized ginger – either okay?

    Also, any value, do you think, in making your own candied ginger, or store bought okay?

    PS I did my first canning this weekend (your honey rosemary cherries) and I am HOOKED!

  33. You didn’t mention using pectin, however I see your container of Ball pectin in the background. Can we use pectin vs. using a thermometer? LOVE the idea of ginger blueberry jam!
    Thank you!

    • I don’t use pectin with this recipe. You can give it a try, but because I didn’t test it that way, I can’t recommend how much to use. You’ll have to guess at it.

  34. I made your recipe…but didn’t quite follow the directions. Before I perused the play-by-play before the ingredients list, I started with the ingredients thereafter followed it all the way. After the blueberries & (thinly) sliced ginger’d reach a rolling boil + passed the drip test, following the instructions I didn’t remove the sliced ginger from the smashed/boiled blueberries. Instead I’d already added the sugar + (my own customization here) about 1/16 teaspoon Nutmeg….so spoon the mixture into 2 1/2 pint ball jars leaving about 3/8″ headspace. In short, WOW. I mean HOLY WOW!!! I liked what I’d made so much I re-read the recipe – this time the whole way through. After that I realized one is supposed to remove the thinly sliced ginger completely. So OK, I goofed, but what a great, delicious goof, eh? But now I want to make more, therefore a question: THIS TIME instead of fresh ginger I want to use organic ginger powder…..as a substiute how much powder vs. fresh?

      • Powdered (vs. fresh) Ginger update: I tried it & it was pretty good….well it least it didn’t turn the jam into an inedible cacaphony of distaste, if you know what I mean. Whereas I didn’t write down how much I used I sort of remember it being about 3 tablespoons of Organic Ginger Powder. Observed difference(s): the overall flavor was a warm, gingery feel but without the tang of fresh ginger. Still no guests complained.

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