I have started playing around with preserving food in jars. I have failed with my attempts at pickling but I seem to do well with making jam. This recipe is transferable to almost any berry. Please make sure to follow approved canning techniques to insure a safe, shelf stable product. I provided a great link for you with tons more recipes and resources if your interested:http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
If you are from Philly then you have most likely been to one of the many great brunch places with homemade jam. I have been wanting to replicate it for a long time but was finally inspired when the market had a full flat of blueberries for $2. I adjusted the recipe’s I had by adding less sugar and no pectin. This was my first try and it came out great!!!!
5 Cups blueberries (Washed, dried, stems removed)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
Juice and zest of one lemon
I recommend reading the site I provided above for some better canning instruction but I will try to break it down below. I have taken some canning classes on canning and I can imagine it would be hard to follow with out understanding the reason behind each step. This recipe was a small batch and made 3 small jars worth. Start with the three pot set up below:
Pot 1 – Medium size pot non-reactive surface to make the jam. Place blueberries in the pot and crush. Add sugar and lemon and cook on medium heat. Continue to stir and watch the mixture so that it continues to bubble but not burn or boil over. You must stir it every few minutes. Your goal is for the mixture to become thick. It should get to the point that it wont create droplets or run easily off a cold spoon. You are looking for a consistency that slowly forms large clumps that look almost like glass forming on the spoon. Many recipes say this will take 10-15 minutes. It took me about 35 minutes but weather plays huge factor.
Pot 2- The next pot should be small with hot water for cleaning the lids. When you preserve anything in jars, the metal circle part of the lid is not re-usable. Each time you must use new lids.This is because they have a rubber lining that helps form a seal but it only works once. The jar and twisty top are good for many uses but not the flat part of the lid. In order to active the new flat top you must heat the lids to help soften the rubber. Do this by putting just the flat part of the lid in the pot with very hot water but not boiling and allow it to sit for about ten minutes before processing.
Pot 3 – Place water into the pot high enough to cover the jars with a little extra water because water will evaporate. You should use the biggest pot you own for this one like a lobster pot. Place a small towel in the bottom of the pot. This acts like a pillow to avoid the jars from breaking in the pot. Place the jars and lids in the pot and bring water to boil. Boil for ten minutes and then keep the jars in the hot water until your ready to fill.
Once the jelly cooks down and is ready to go, shut the heat off and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Remove jars from hot water and drip dry. Fill each jar with jelly about one half inch from top. Clean the tops of the jar well with a clean towel to insure that you will make a good seal between the jar and lid. Place the lids on jars. Its important not to twist the lid on to tight because you want air to escape. A good rule is to make it finger tight.
Next, place the complete jars in the big pot of water on high heat for ten minutes. Once the water is boiling you may want to lower it a bit to keep the jars from moving to much. After ten minutes CAREFULLY remove the the jars with tongs from pot and place on counter. Its important not to put the jars on a cold surface because the sudden change in temp from the hot water to the cold counter can break the glass.
The final step is my favorite. I call it the canning musical. Once jars are out of the water you want to hear each lid make a pop sound. This insures a good seal. The sound is like the what you hear when you open a glass juice bottle. This can take up to 15 minutes depending on room temp. If you don’t hear the pop or see an indent on the top of the lid then you should keep that jar in the fridge and use it first.
Jam can stay shelf stable for up to a year but once opened should be stored in fridge. Enjoy!!!