Zesty Blueberry Jam

I love the oomph! that orange zest gives to my favorite blueberry crisp, so when i was overwhelmed by blueberries this year and had to make blueberry jam, I definitely wanted the flavor to be a winner…so orange was in the mix!

Maggie, my ever faithful helper and trusted blueberry taster.

Maggie, my ever faithful helper and trusted blueberry taster.

On the fourth of July, there were still plenty of unripened blueberries.

On the fourth of July, there were still plenty of unripened blueberries.

  •  10 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (hopefully, you picked them- much cheaper!)
  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 box dry powdered pectin or 6 tablespoons if you purchase it in bulk (which I did)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, either fresh or bottled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • zest from one large orange
  • juice from the orange

Method:

  1. Pick the blueberries (or purchase them.)
  2. Wash the berries and remove all stems, leaves, and soft and mushy berries.
  3. Measure out the fruit.
  4. Crush the berries.  You can either crush the berries using a potato masher, but you can only do this one layer at a time. Or, you can use your handy-dandy food processor to quickly, and lightly, chop the berries.  Do not overprocess them.  According to the directions I followed, 10 cups of fruit (5 dry pints), mashed up or processed lightly, will yield about 6 1/2 cups of chopped fruit.
  5. Have the jars and lids washed and clean, sterilized (your favorite method – dishwasher, boiling water, I prefer the oven – it keeps them warm).  Keep the lids and rings warm in a pot of water on the back of the stove.
  6. Straight from the pick your own website, so I don’t mess it up!  I went with the low sugar option, about 4 1/2 cups of sugar.
  7. Mix the dry pectin (1 box or 8 tablespoons) with about 1/4 cup of sugar, and set this aside separately from the rest of the sugar.
  8. In a large non-reactive pot, combine the pectin (with the little bit of sugar), lemon juice, water, orange zest, and orange juice with the blueberries and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.  Let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to get this to a rolling boil, which is a boil that cannot be stirred down.  FYI, a wooden spoon is best for jam and jelly making. Why?  It does not conduct heat. Which means, all your heat stays in the pot.
  9. When the jam reaches a boil, add the remaining 4 cups or so of sugar, and bring back to a boil. Stir well to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved.  Let it boil hard for one full minute.
  10. Test for jell thickness.
  11. Fill jars, leaving a 1/4-inch airspace.  Add lids and rings.
  12. Process 4 and 8-ounce jars for 15 minutes in a water bath processor.  That’s 15 minutes once the water returns to a boil.
  13. Remove, and let cool for 24 hours undisturbed.

Step 6 – Measure out the sweetener

Depending upon which type of jam you’re making (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concetration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice) you will need to use a different amount of sugar and type of pectin. The precise measurements are found in directions inside each and every box of pectin sold (every brand, Ball, Kerr, Mrs. Wages, etc. has directions inside). I don’t recommend using Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) by itself – plain old sugar makes a big difference in the color and taste.  Unless you’re diabetic, for best results, try the low or lower sugar formula below.

Type of jam

Type of pectin to buy

Sweetener
regular no-sugar or regular 7 cups of sugar
low sugar no-sugar 4.5 cups of sugar
lower sugar no-sugar 2 cups sugar and 2 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)
no sugar no-sugar 4 cups Splenda (or about 1/3 that if you use Stevia, which is my preference)
natural no-sugar 3 cups fruit juice (grape, peach, apple or mixed)

 

 

To get really detailed and full directions and to learn how to prepare regular sugar and no sugar variations, please check out these directions if you are new to canning or are unsure of they type of pectin you have, or simply have questions.  All questions may be answered here!

http://www.pickyourown.org/blueberryjam.htm

An old Tupperware 8-cup measure filled to overflowing actually holds 10 cups - which I did measure out one cup at a time!

An old Tupperware 8-cup measure filled to overflowing actually holds 10 cups – which I did measure out one cup at a time!

"Chopping" the blueberries in the mini-food processor, about a cup and half at a time.

“Chopping” the blueberries in the mini-food processor, about a cup and half at a time.

10 cups of blueberries (5 dry pints) yields 6 1/2 cups of "chopped" blueberries.

10 cups of blueberries (5 dry pints) yields 6 1/2 cups of “chopped” blueberries.

 

After zesting the orange, cut away all of the peel and membrane, and chop the orange.

After zesting the orange, cut away all of the peel and membrane, and chop the orange.

Puree the orange coarsely in the mini-chopper.  You could also just add a cup or so of orange juice.

Puree the orange coarsely in the mini-chopper. You could also just add a cup or so of orange juice.

Into the pot: the pectin with the sugar, the zest, and the pureed orange with the blueberries.

Into the pot: the pectin with the sugar, the zest, and the pureed orange with the blueberries.

The jam, just before taking it off the burner.

The jam, just before taking it off the burner- such a beautiful color!

Zesty Orange Blueberry Jam, goes great on an English muffin.

Zesty Orange Blueberry Jam, goes great on an English muffin.

 

 

 

 

 

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