One of the great things about Summertime is the availability of and lower price of fresh fruit. This time of year you can find blueberries on sale almost every week, which to me always means fresh, homemade blueberry jam.
“Blueberry jam?” you might ask. “Isn’t that inexpensive enough by just buying a cheap jar in the store?” Well yes, and no. Good jam is very expensive year-round, and less expensive jams have more sugar and preservatives and less fruit. I personally love homemade blueberry jam because you only need 3 ingredients: Blueberries, sugar (or honey) to taste, and lemon juice. That’s it!
If you’re lucky enough to know where to find blueberries in the wild or have blueberry plants in your yard from a trip to your local garden center, the cost to make it yourself goes down exponentially, too. And nothing’s as healthy as homemade.
Making blueberry jam is simple, you don’t even need to buy pectin! You can make a small batch of blueberry jam to test the jam-making waters and see for yourself how easy it is. All you need is two cups of blueberries (about a 1-pint container), sugar to taste (between a half to 3/4 of a cup, adjust if you want to use honey), and a tablespoon of sugar.
So how to begin? First, have an 8-ounce jar and lid or another container handy. If using a glass container, have it resting on a dry potholder or towel for when you spoon warm jam into the container. Get those 3 ingredients: blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice into your pan and turn on your stove. Cook, constantly stirring, as the blueberries pop and come to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and cook for roughly 10 minutes, until the blueberries thicken. Don’t let it get too thick, remember as it cools it will continue to thicken so you will want to make sure you are making jam and not gummies! Finally, spoon your jam into the jar and put it on the lid. The container, once cooled, should go into the refrigerator and be used, unless you want to can it for use later. If you want the jam shelf-stable, google canning instructions for a water bath method so you can preserve a little bit of Summer as a Winter treat!
Once you’ve made your first batch of blueberry jam, you probably won’t want to stop. Never fear–you can buy frozen blueberries very inexpensively all year `round!