Last week, preserver extraordinaire Jess Ross, taught us a workshop on how to make blueberry jam. And, why make one kind of jam, when you can make 3!  We made a standard pectin blueberry jam, a no-pectin blueberry jam and a no-pectin blueberry peach jam. And we tasted lots of delicious samples from Jess as we went along.

What is pectin, you might ask? Pectin is a gelling agent. It’s naturally occurring in fruit (in varying quantities), and you can also buy commercially produced pectin, like Certo brand. Pectin also tends to be higher in under-ripe fruit, so if you are looking to make no-Pectin jams, add some under-ripe berries to the mix or add some apple.

Jess provided us with a chart of natural pectic levels in fruit:

High: Apple, Cranberry, Black Currant, Quince, Plums
Medium: Red Currants, Blackberry, Raspberry, Peach, Blueberry, Holunder
Low: Strawberry, Cherry, Grape, White Cur rants, Tomato, Squash/ Pumpkin

We had some beautiful no-spray wild blueberries from Bonneyman’s Wild Blueberries for the workshop.  We quickly sorted through the berries to remove any stems, and then our three teams got cooking.

Each jam had a different cooking time and while there is an approximate time included with each recipe, the freezer test will help you determine if your jam is ready.  To do a freezer test, scoop a small amount of jam out of the pot and put it in the freezer for about 3 minute.  Then take it out.  If it has gelled, your jam is ready.  If it’s still runny, keep cooking.

Here’s the Pectin Jam Recipe we used (from the Certo package)

Blueberry Jam

4 1/2 cups crushed berries
2 Tbsp lemon juice
7 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin

Crush berries, one layer at a time, or pulse in a food processor.  In a large saucepan, stir together prepared fruit, sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil hard 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in Certo liquid pectin.  Stir and skim for 5 minutes.  Pour into warm, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Cover with lids and screw rings on.  Give 15 minute water bath.

Here’s the Non-pectin recipe we used (from the book Fancy Pantry)

Wild Blueberry Jam Recipe
6 cups Blueberries
2- 4 TBSP Lemon Juice
3 Cups Sugar

Rinse berries. Crush them in two batches with a masher or pulse in Food Processor. Place berries and juices in heavy bottomed pot. Taste the berries- they should taste pleasantly tart. If not, add the lemon juice. If you are using high bush, definitely add the lemon juice, maybe a little extra if you can not really taste a difference. Stir in Sugar. Bring mix to a boil. Boil rapidly- stirring vigilantly
until the jam passes the freezer jelly test.
Ladle the jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Give a 15 minute water bath.
Yield: 3 cups

(To make the Peach Blueberry version, we substituted half of the blueberries for peaches.)

2 thoughts on “Jammin’

  1. Pingback: 2011 Canning and Preserving classes « Adventures in Local Food

  2. Thanks for sharing the no-pectin recipes – I really appreciate the significant decrease in the sugar content. Still I love blueberries on their own so much hate to go adding sugar maybe it it is simply off to the freezer with my berries – to be eaten with cereal, yogurt, in smoothies, and on their own.

Leave a Reply