Posted by: dinainsuburbia | August 20, 2008

spiced blueberry preserves (or, what I did after we went blueberry picking

 

 

Yesterday me & Maddie went peach picking in Cutchogue, Long Island.  In case you aren’t a Long Islander, I’ll give you the visual, Cutchogue is on the North Fork of Long Island, about 55 miles North & East of my house.. so it’s pretty far.  I called the farm in advance and they said their peaches were ready to go.  Imagine my surprise when we got there after the long drive (and a few wrong turns) to find out all the peaches are still rock hard!  We could’ve picked them anyway & put them in a brown bag to ripen, but I wanted to can these right away so I wanted them to be ready to eat.

 

We weren’t out of luck,  because the farm still had blueberries available to pick.  I was pretty surprised being so late in the blueberry season- but there was still tons left.  Turns out- blueberries are perfect for toddlers to pick because the majority of the bushes are right at the sight line.  We picked two pints (and probably ate another 1/2 pint while we worked) and then headed home.

 

 

blueberry picking

blueberry picking

I knew that I could probably make a great jam/preserve with the blueberries after successfully making strawberry jam earlier in the summer.  The discrepancy in taste between store-bought and just-picked is unbelievable… so I wanted to save that in a preserve. 

 

Making jam is WAY easier than you think.  So many people freak out when I tell them I make jam- like it’s a hard thing to do.  Well- here’s the thing- it’s so easy- you basically just dump a bunch of ingredients in a pan, let it simmer for 20 or 30 minutes and you’re ready!

 

You have the choice of canning (preserving) the jam, or not.  You can throw your jam in the fridge and just eat it over the next few weeks and you’d be ok.  Or, you can preserve them, which means putting the jam in mason jars and submerging said jars in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes in a covered pot.

 

Walmart (shudder shudder) sells home canning kits for $40 but I get by just fine with a big stock pot from Big Lots that I got for $12, a regular pair of tongs that I use to get jars out of the water, and a round cooling rack that I put in the bottom of the pan so the jars don’t touch (they would break).  Big Lots is also a great place for mason jars on the cheap- i’ve successfully purchased half-pints (insert Little House on the Prairie theme here) and quart jars.

 

OK- so onto the recipe… this is a spiced preserve, but you wouldn’t need to add the spices if you are a NF (non fan).

INGREDIENTS

• 6 cups fresh blueberries

• 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 tsp cinnamon

• 1/2 tsp allspice

• 1/4 tsp ground cloves

• 2 1/2 tsp lemon juice

• 1/2 tsp lemon zest (or to taste)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Dump all the ingredients into a stainless steel pot and simmer, stirring frequently for approximately 20-30 minutes until it reaches desired consistency.

 

NOTE:

To check to see if the jam is set, put a saucer in the freezer at the beginning of the process- to check the jam, drop a teaspoonful on the saucer and wait 1 minute.  After a minute, nudge the jam with your finger- if the surface wrinkles you’re good to go. 

Keep in mind that this is jam, not jelly- so it’s a soft-set.  If you want it jelly like, you’d have to add pectin and I haven’t started messing with that stuff yet because I don’t have any on-hand.  That’s the great part about jam- you can make it with the supplies you already have!  

Trust me- this stuff is WAY better than what you can buy in the store AND it’s also great heated a little and poured on vanilla ice cream!

 

Give it a try & amaze your friends!

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