I started experimenting with jam last winter when I started reading an awesome blog called Food in Jars. If you have any interest in canning, or just want to see some cool recipes, definitely check it out. Unfortunately I don’t really have space to actually can and store anything, so I stick with refrigerator jams.
One of my favorite things about making jam is that I can customize them to my tastes. For example, I prefer a tarter jam, which is virtually impossible to find in a store-bought jam. You can also make jams with cool flavor combinations, like pear-cardamom, cinnamon-plum, cranberry-apple (I’ll share the recipes at some point, don’t worry!), and today’s recipe: Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Jam.
Meyer lemons are similar to regular lemons, but their juice is a little sweeter and their zest is even more fragrant. Their skin is very smooth, compared to the skin of a regular lemon. And Costco was selling them for an insanely cheap price (yes, it was a container of about 12 so I also made lemon bars, lemon muffins, and a lot of lemon dressing. But I digress). Blueberries too (3.99 for a 24 oz. container, some of which went into my whole grain blueberry breakfast scones).
What I love the most about making jam is that it’s actually amazingly easy. Throw some fruit, spices and sugar (and pectin, if necessary) in a pot, boil, cool, eat. This recipe is for a refrigerator jam, which means that I just store it in the fridge rather than actually canning it for a longer-term storage. I use 1/2 pint (8 oz.) Ball jars. Read more about jars here.
The one thing you have to pay attention to when making jam is pectin. Pectin is a natural gelling agent that exists in a lot of fruit, but some fruits need a little bit of added pectin to make them gel. Blueberries, cranberries, and stone fruits like apricots and peaches are high in pectin, but strawberries and apples may need a bit of help. Canning is actually incredibly scientific; you can read more about it here and here.
Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Jam
20 oz. (about 3 cups) fresh blueberries, rinsed
zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
1 tsp good quality cinnamon
1/3 cup white sugar or other sweetener of your choice
2 glass 1/2 pint jars with lids, washed well in hot, soapy water, and dried
- Place a metal teaspoon in the freezer.
- Place ingredients in a heavy saucepan large enough so that the berries only come halfway up the sides.
- Cook over medium flame until the berries begin to break down and release their juices, stirring occasionally. Once the pan starts boiling, stir constantly until the berries pop and the liquid thickens to a syrup-y texture, about 12-15 minutes (you can be very scientific and use a thermometer to ensure it gets to the right temperature, but I don’t). Halfway through, taste to see if the sweet/sour ratio is to your liking, and adjust accordingly with more lemon juice or sugar.
- To see if your jam is done, remove the spoon from the freezer and place a small amount of jam on it. If the jam gels right away, it’s done. If not, cook a few minutes longer.
- Remove from heat and spoon jam into clean jars (mine filled two 1/2 pint jars). Cap the jars and let them rest on the counter until cool to the touch, then refrigerate for up to 4 weeks (or longer…we’ll use it until it starts to smell off or get moldy).