Well, I haven’t just been crafting. I’ve been busy in the kitchen too. When blueberries were on sale last week at Shop Rite, I jumped on the sale in order to make my favorite spread (coincidentally the very first thing I ever made when I learned to can): blueberry-lime jam. Everyone is always all about the strawberries, it seems, but I will bide my time and wait for summer blueberries and can my butt of even if it’s 92 degrees outside (which it happened to be).
As with any and all things canning, in the interest of food safety it’s important to follow trusted recipes. Canning is more of a science, really. And if you don’t get things just right you can end up with a nasty case of botulism. But don’t let that scare you off, because really — if you can follow some directions and boil water, then you can totally do this. And it will be better than anything you buy in a store!
This recipe is based on one from the Ball Blue Book. I used no-sugar pectin so I could reduce the amount of sugar I used in the recipe (otherwise I find the sweetness cloying). Also, I always use bottled lime juice because the acidity is consistent. There is lots of back and forth on whether to use fresh or bottled, but for something like this, I find that using the store-bought juice is easier and I know it’s high enough in acid.
4 1/2 cups blueberries
1 package dry no-sugar-needed pectin
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/3 cup bottled lime juice
Crush the blueberries one layer at a time. (Do not wimp out and use a food processor — use a fork or a potato masher. It’s therapeutic and you want those little bits of blueberry in there. Save the processing for blueberry butter.)Next, combine the crushed blueberries and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring it to a boil, being sure to stir frequently. Then add your sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved. Stir in the lime zest and lime juice and return the jam to a rolling boil. Boil hard (no little bubbles — wait for the serious bubbles) for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove the pot from the heat and skim off any foam if you have it. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. (You might have to boil longer if you live in a high altitude. Consult a canning guide (such as Ball Canning) for correct times.
If you don’t have canning equipment, you can also store this in your fridge, though I’d try to use it up within a few weeks if you skip the processing step.
Yield: about 5 half-pints.
Note: Take it from me and don’t boil it longer than the 1 minute called for in the recipe because it will affect the consistency of your jam. It will taste fine, but it will be a little more goopy. If you’re just making it for your own use, that’s no big deal, but if you are giving it is gifts, you probably want it more aesthetically pleasing.
There’s still lots of time for blueberries (at least here in the Northeast), so if you get your hands on some at a good price, try out this recipe!