Savor the taste of summer with our mouthwatering blueberry jam recipe. Learn how to preserve a delicious batch of blueberry jam that will elevate your breakfast spreads, enhance your desserts, and make for thoughtful homemade gifts.
Indulge in the luscious flavor of blueberries with our delicious low-sugar blueberry jam recipe. Bursting with the natural sweetness of blueberries, this homemade treat will captivate your taste buds while keeping the sugar content in check.
Whether you harvest your own blueberries or snag a great deal at the farmers’ market, this blueberry jam recipe offers a delicious way to preserve abundant ripe fruit. By using Pomona’s Pectin, you can use less sugar, ensuring that the vibrant blueberry flavor remains the star of the show.
So, if you’re ready, let’s dive into our guide on how to make blueberry jam, featuring our delightful low-sugar blueberry jam recipe.
Ingredients for Blueberry Jam
Get ready to make delicious blueberry jam using just a few simple ingredients! From selecting the finest blueberries to understanding the role of Pomona’s Universal Pectin and exploring sweetening options, this section will guide you through the key ingredients that go into creating a batch of homemade blueberry jam.
It’s important to choose good quality fresh berries when selecting blueberries for making the best blueberry jam. Look for berries that are plump, firm, and have a uniform deep blue color. These characteristics indicate that the blueberries are ripe and flavorful. Avoid blueberries that appear shriveled, mushy, or have any signs of mold.
You can also use frozen blueberries if fresh blueberries are not readily available or are out of season. To use frozen blueberries in your jam recipe, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, proceed with the recipe as you would with fresh berries, making sure to include any liquid that is released during the thawing process. Frozen blueberries can still yield delicious and flavorful jam, making it a versatile option for year-round enjoyment.
Pomona’s Universal Pectin
This blueberry jam recipe uses Pomona’s Universal Pectin. It is a citrus pectin that offers several advantages over regular boxed pectin. Unlike traditional pectin, Pomona’s Universal Pectin relies on using calcium powder to achieve the desired gelling effect. This means you can create delicious homemade jams with less sugar and without subjecting the fruit to excessively high cooking temperatures that may compromise its natural flavor.
In terms of sweeteners, this blueberry jam recipe uses regular granulated sugar. However, with Pomona’s Universal Pectin’s versatility, you can explore various sweetening alternatives to suit your taste preferences. For example, while the recipe suggests 3/4 cup of sugar, you can adjust the sweetness level according to your liking, increasing it up to 2 cups if desired.
Taste the mixture after the pectin has dissolved. If you find it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar and continue boiling for an additional minute while stirring.
For those seeking alternative sweeteners, there are several options available. Consider substituting 1/2 to 1 cup of mild-flavored honey to create a honey-sweetened blueberry jam variation. You can also explore other sugar substitutes with similar measuring properties to sugar or honey.
Lemon juice is required for this recipe and serves a vital role in the jam’s safety and flavor. Its primary function is to adjust the acidity level, ensuring it can be safely preserved through the process of water bath canning. With the proper acidity, the jam can be stored on your pantry shelf for up to a year without any concerns.
Furthermore, lemon juice acts as a flavor enhancer, boosting the taste of the blueberry jam and adding a refreshing citrus note. It also plays a crucial role in preserving the vibrant color, keeping the blueberries’ rich hues intact.
Use bottled lemon juice rather than fresh. This ensures consistent acidity levels and reliable results in your homemade blueberry jam.
Variations and Flavor Additions
Elevate your blueberry jam game with these creative twists and flavor enhancements. From the warmth of ginger to the allure of vanilla, and the taste of lime, these simple additions offer endless possibilities to customize your homemade blueberry jam.
- Blueberry Ginger Jam: For a delightful twist, incorporate the vibrant flavor of ginger into your blueberry jam. Add 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger to the blueberry mixture during the jam-making process. Or, you can use up to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger to infuse a warm and spicy note.
- Vanilla Blueberry Jam: Indulge in the aromatic essence of vanilla by incorporating it into your blueberry jam. To achieve this, you have two options: Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the blueberry mixture for a convenient and quick infusion of flavor. Alternatively, use one vanilla bean. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add the seeds and pod to the pot while making the jam. Remember to remove the vanilla bean pod before canning.
- Spiced Blueberry Jam: Elevate the flavor profile of your blueberry jam by adding up to 1 teaspoon of ground spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. Experiment with different combinations or use a single spice to infuse your jam with a delightful touch of warmth and complexity.
- Blueberry Lime Jam: For a zesty twist, replace the bottled lemon juice in the recipe with an equal amount of bottled lime juice. This simple substitution will infuse your blueberry jam with a refreshing lime flavor, adding a tangy and citrusy dimension to your culinary creation.
Feel free to explore these variations and flavor additions to customize your blueberry jam according to your taste preferences. However, remember to keep the proportions of these flavor additions low to ensure the acidity of the recipe remains balanced, allowing for safe canning and preserving of your delicious blueberry jam..
How to Make Blueberry Jam
If you’re new to canning or need a refresher, take a moment to review the water bath canning tutorial available at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. This resource will provide valuable guidance and boost your confidence in the canning process.
A boiling water bath canner is necessary to preserve the jam into shelf-stable jars. It serves three main purposes in the canning process:
- Heat Sterilization: The high temperature reached during the boiling water bath canner process sterilizes the jars, lids, and contents, killing any potential microorganisms that could cause spoilage.
- Vacuum Sealing: As the jars are heated, and the contents expand, air is forced out of the jar. When the jars are removed from the canner and start to cool, a vacuum is created inside the jar, pulling down the lid and forming a tight seal. This vacuum seal prevents air entry and contaminants, effectively preserving the jam.
- Heat Processing: The prolonged exposure to heat during the boiling water bath canner process helps destroy enzymes and microorganisms that could cause spoilage. It also aids in maintaining the texture, flavor, and color of the jam while extending its shelf life.
If you don’t have a dedicated water bath canner, you can still achieve the same results using a large pot. Use a tall pot to fully cover the tops of the jars by a few inches, leaving at least two or more inches of space to prevent any boiling water from splashing out. To protect the jars from direct heat, place a rack at the bottom of the pot to elevate them and to avoid breakage during the canning process.
Now, let’s dive right in! While a detailed printable recipe with step-by-step instructions awaits you below, here are the steps to make and home can homemade blueberry jam.
Step 1: Gather Your Kitchen and Canning Equipment
First, gather all the necessary equipment and tools to ensure a smooth and efficient jam-making session. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Water bath canner or a large sauce pot with a rack
- 5 half-pint canning jars
- Canning lids and bands (new lids for each jar, while bands can be reused)
- Canning tools: a jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and a trusty bubble popper
- A small clear jar with a lid for the calcium water mixture
- Basic kitchen supplies: a large saucepot, prep bowls, a reliable potato masher, measuring cups and spoons, a large spoon for stirring, and an abundance of clean kitchen towels you don’t mind getting a little stained.
Step 2: Prepare the Canning Gear
Start by washing your jars, lids, bands, and canning tools in warm, soapy water. Give them a thorough rinse and set them aside to air dry until they are ready to be used.
To prevent breakage due to thermal shock, you will need to warm the jars before filling them. Start by placing the jar rack into the water bath canner or large sauce pot. Arrange the clean jars upright on the rack, and fill the canner with water, making sure the water level covers the jars.
Bring the canner to a simmer at around 180°F and let the jars heat for approximately 10 minutes. This process helps warm the glass and prepares it for the hot jam mixture. Keep the jars hot until you’re ready to fill them with your delicious blueberry jam.
Step 3: Prepare the Ingredients
Begin by removing any stems and leaves from the blueberries, then rinse the berries under clean running water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel and place them in a large bowl.
Gently mash the blueberries using a potato masher or a fork to release their juices. Aim for a chunky texture, but feel free to adjust the crushing level based on your preference.
Measure 4 cups of the mashed blueberries and set them aside in a separate bowl. This will be the main ingredient for your delicious blueberry jam.
Next, let’s make the calcium water. Inside the Pomona’s pectin box, you’ll find two envelopes. One contains the pectin and the second, smaller envelope is the calcium powder. Take the small packet of calcium powder from the Pomona’s pectin box and combine 1/2 teaspoon of it with 1/2 cup of water in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar vigorously to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You’ll only need 2 teaspoons of this mixture for the recipe. Save the rest in the refrigerator for future jam and jelly making adventures.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar (or sweetener of choice) with 2 teaspoons of the pectin powder, and mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution. This will help the jam set properly and provide the desired sweetness. Save the remaining pectin powder for other recipes.
Step 4: Make the Blueberry Jam
Add the 4 cups of mashed blueberries, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of the calcium water to a large saucepan. Stir the mixture well to ensure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Heat the pot over medium-high heat and bring the blueberry mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and ensure even heating.
Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil, it’s time to add the sugar and pectin mixture. Gradually pour in the sugar and pectin while stirring continuously. Make sure the sugar and pectin are completely dissolved in the mixture.
Continue stirring the blueberry jam as it returns to a full boil. Allow it to boil for approximately 1 to 2 minutes, ensuring that the mixture is bubbling consistently.
Once the jam has reached a full boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately fill your jars.
Step 5: Fill the Jars
Place a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Use a jar lifter to carefully lift a jar from the canner, allowing any excess water to drain back into the pot. Set the warm jar on the towel. Keep the rest of the jars in the canner to maintain their warmth.
Using a canning funnel and ladle, slowly pour the prepared blueberry jam into the jar. Leave approximately 1/4-inch of headspace at the top of the jar.
Gently run a bubble popper through the jam to release any trapped air bubbles. Then take a damp towel and carefully wipe the rim of the jar to remove any jam residue or stickiness. A clean and dry rim is essential for creating a tight seal between the lid and the jar. Make sure the rim is free from any food particles that could interfere with the sealing process.
Center a lid on top of the jar, ensuring it sits flat and aligned with the rim. Place a band over the lid and tighten it until fingertip tight. Be cautious not to over-tighten the band, as it should allow air to escape during the canning process.
Return the filled jar to the canner. Repeat the same filling process with the remaining jars, filling them one at a time to prevent them from cooling.
Step 6: Process the Jars in the Water Bath Canner
Once all the filled jars are back in the canner, check that the water level is at least 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Add more hot water if needed to achieve the appropriate level.
Bring the canner to a full rolling boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, start your timer and begin the processing time recommended in the recipe. Maintaining a steady boil throughout the processing time is important to ensure proper heat penetration and sealing.
After the designated processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the jars to settle for 5 minutes. This helps prevent sudden temperature changes that could break the jars or affect the sealing process.
Carefully remove the processed jars from the canner using a jar lifter, and place them on a kitchen towel or cooling rack. Ensure the jars remain upright and avoid touching the lids or tightening the bands at this stage. The sealing process requires time and undisturbed cooling.
Allow the jars to cool completely and undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. During this time, you may hear the satisfying “ping” sound as the lids seal. Avoid any temptation to touch or test the seals while the jars cool.
Ways to Enjoy Blueberry Jam
By following these steps, you’ve completed the water bath canning process for your blueberry jam. Now, it’s time to enjoy the satisfaction of homemade, shelf-stable jam that can be stored and enjoyed for months to come. Here are some delicious ways to use your homemade blueberry jam:
- Classic PB&J: Spread a generous layer of blueberry jam on your favorite bread, along with creamy peanut butter, for a timeless and delicious sandwich.
- Breakfast Delights: Wake up to a scrumptious breakfast by spreading blueberry jam on toast, bagels, or English muffins. You can also swirl it into yogurt and oatmeal, or spoon over waffles and pancakes for a burst of fruity goodness.
- Cheese Pairings: Blueberry jam pairs wonderfully with a variety of cheeses. Enjoy it with a cheese platter featuring soft cheeses like brie or creamy goat cheese. Spread it on crackers and top with your favorite cheese for a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors.
- Dessert Enhancements: Use blueberry jam as a filling for pastries, tarts, or thumbprint cookies. It can also be drizzled over ice cream, yogurt, or cheesecake for a delightful fruity topping.
- Marinades and Glazes: Make flavorful marinades and glazes for meats by combining blueberry jam with spices, vinegar, and herbs, creating a tangy sweetness that complements grilled or roasted meats like chicken, pork, or salmon.
- Salad Dressings: Whisk blueberry jam with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a touch of Dijon mustard for a delicious homemade salad dressing. It adds a unique fruity twist to your salads.
- Gift Ideas: Jars of homemade blueberry jam make a great gift for family and friends. Package it in a beautifully decorated jar and pair it with freshly baked bread or scones for a thoughtful and delicious gift.
Low Sugar Blueberry Jam Recipe
Prepare the Canning Equipment:
- Wash your jars, lids, and canning tools using hot soapy water. Thoroughly rinse to eliminate any soap residue. Allow them to dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Set up the water bath canner and position the jar rack inside. Arrange the jars on the rack. Fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars.
- Heat the canner over medium heat until it reaches a simmer at approximately 180˚F. Let the jars warm up in the canner for about 10 minutes, ensuring they remain warm until it's time to fill them.
Prepare the Ingredients:
- Thoroughly rinse the blueberries under fresh running water. Remove any stems and mash the berries with a potato masher. Measure out 4 cups of mashed blueberries.
- Add the sugar (or honey) and 2 teaspoons Pomona's pectin powder in a small bowl. Mix well to combine and set aside.
- Make the calcium water mixture by combining 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder (from the small packet found in the Pomona's pectin box) with 1/2 cup of water in a jar that has a secure lid. Shake the jar vigorously to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
Make the Blueberry Jam:
- Combine the mashed blueberries, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of the calcium water in a large saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the blueberry mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
- Once boiling, slowly add the sugar and pectin mixture, stirring consistently until it dissolves completely.
- Continue stirring until the jam reaches a full boil again, which should take around 1 to 2 minutes. Once it reaches a full boil, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Fill the Jars:
- Place a kitchen towel on the counter surface. Using the jar lifter, carefully remove a jar from the canner and tilt it to empty the water back into the canner. Then set the jar on the towel.
- Use the canning ladle and funnel to fill the jar with the blueberry jam. Leave a 1/4-inch headspace at the top.
- Run the bubble popper through the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. Then use a clean, damp towel and wipe the rim of the jar.
- Center a lid on top of the jar, and screw on a band until it is fingertip tight. Then, using the jar lifter, return the filled jar to the canner. Repeat the process with the remaining jars.
Can the Jam:
- Once all the filled jars are in the canner, adjust the water level so the jars are submerged and covered with two inches above the tops of the jars.
- Cover the canner and set the heat to high. Allow the water to reach a vigorous boil, and then continue boiling for 10 minutes if you are at an altitude of less than 1,000 feet. Adjust the processing time according to your altitude if needed (Refer to Notes).
- Once the processing time is complete, turn off the heat, and let the canner cool down and settle for approximately 5 minutes.
- Prepare the counter by spreading a dry kitchen towel. Then remove the cover by tilting it away from you to avoid any potential steam burns.
- Use the jar lifter to take the jars out of the canner and place them on the towel. Keep the jars upright and avoid tightening the bands or checking the seals at this stage. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours to cool.
- After 12 to 24 hours, check if the jar lids have sealed properly by pressing on the center of each cover. The lids should not pop up; they should remain firmly sealed. If the top flexes up and down, it indicates an improper seal. In this case, pop the lid, refrigerate the jar, and use the jam within 2 weeks.
- Remove the screw-on bands, wash the jars, and label them with the date and contents. Then store the jars in a cool, dark place. For the best flavor, use the jam within 12 to 18 months. Once opened, refrigerate the jam and consume it within 2 weeks. This recipe yields approximately 4 to 5 half-pint jars.
With its vibrant color, burst of fruity flavor, and the option to customize the sweetness and add various flavorings, homemade blueberry jam is a true delight.
I hope by following these step-by-step instructions, utilizing the right ingredients, and employing the water bath canning method, you’ll feel confident canning a batch of homemade blueberry jam that will provide you with a pantry staple to enjoy throughout the year. So, gather your fresh blueberries, prepare your canning gear, and preserve your very own low-sugar blueberry jam.
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