Blueberries are my favorite berry! In the summer I eat them fresh, but when blueberry season is over and the price skyrockets for the imported berries on grocery store shelves, my blueberry purchasing comes to an end. Luckily, if you know how to preserve them the change of season doesn't disrupt your blueberry intake too much. Blueberries are also one of those superfoods you hear so much about these days. They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and are also an anti-inflammatory. Needless to say, as a prepper and homesteader preserving blueberries has been one of my top priorities......:) Although nutritionally speaking the best blueberries are fresh blueberries as almost all processing (canning is a process) reduces the nutritional value in food. However, there is certainly enough nutrition remaining to make canning or dehydrating blueberries completely worthwhile. Not to mention it's a great way to add variety to your diet.
How To Make and Can Blueberry Jam Step-By-Step:
Start with high quality fresh blueberries. Canning will not make bad or over ripe food taste better.
I wash all my fruit with a homemade veggie wash. It's a simple recipe: 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon baking soda. (Click here to see the veggie wash recipe step by step)
Go through your berries and remove any stems like the one you see here.
Although I'm starting off with 30 cups (16 dry pints) of berries, in order for the pectin to set I need to work in small batches. I usually do two batches at once. Here I have 7 cups of blueberries in each bowl to start both of my batches.
Wash your jars, lids and tops.
Sterilizing jars and lids is not necessary for processing times of 10 minutes or longer, I place them in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm. Go ahead and fill your canner a little over half way up with water and put it on the burner over high heat.
Place your blueberries in a food processor.
Pulse a few times, until you get the consistency you desire.
It's a matter of preference – some people like their jam super chunky and some do not. Here is the degree of chunkiness I like.
To make blueberry jam you will need:
- 7 C blueberries (chopped). This works out to about 4 dry pints or 2.81 lbs
- 2 C water
- 5 T low sugar pectin
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 5 T lemon
The picture above shows two of every ingredient because I'm going to make two batches in two separate pots. Then I will water bath can all the jam at one time.
Place your blueberries in a pan or pot over medium/high heat. Add water.
Add lemon juice.
Let your mixture heat up for 2 or 3 minutes then begin adding the pectin. Add it very slowly stirring constantly to prevent clumping.
Bring the jam to a rolling boil that you can not stir down.
Add the sugar again stirring constantly this time to prevent burning. Bring your jam back up to a rolling boil for about one minute. Now, your jam is ready to be placed in jars.
The water in the canner should be almost ready.
Fill your jars.
Leave 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove any air bubbles. You can use a spatula for doing this, however, this tool does double duty. It helps get air bubbles out and it helps measure headspace.
Wipe off the rims of the jars so that you can get a good seal.
Remove the rings and lids from the pot. (Update: Ball no longer recommends doing this. So after you've washed your lids just place them in a bowl and set them aside until your ready to use them)
This tool has a magnet on the end and makes it easier to grab the rings and the lids. Place the lids on the jars
Place the rings on the jars and tighten “finger tight.” Finger tight means not too tight and not too loose. Just tighten them as far as they will go without forcing them.
Place your hot jars in the hot canner. Here is the first two batches I did.
Here is the second two batches I did. I used different sized jars for the second two batches.
Bring the water to a boil and start the timer. Blueberry jam should be processed (boiled) for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. You can find adjustments for altitude here. To look up your altitude go here. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for about 5 minutes.
Then remove the jars from the canner.
Let your jars sit and cool for at least eight hours. Remove the rings. If the rings stay on and the lid fails (becomes unsealed) while the ring is on, the lid may reseal itself. However, bacteria has already invaded the jar and the food should not be eaten; with the ring left on there is no way you will know about the resealing. If the rings are off the lid has no pressure to reseal itself so if the lid seal fails then you’ll know and you can throw that jar out. Label and put away.
Behind The Scenes:
I thought I would share a little behind the scenes action with you.....:) My kids can't wait until I'm done taking pictures for a post so they can eat the props. Be sure and sign up for the AWCOW blog digest so you can see more photos from the AWCOW Homestead.