The Best Blueberry Jam Recipe

Welcome to the 342nd Metamorphosis Monday!

I love blueberries, they’re my favorite fruit in the whole world. I eat them every single day, even during the winter if I can find them. When my son was little, we used to pick them every summer at a local farm, Berry Patch Farms, that’s around 30 minutes from our home. My son was just 4 years old when this picture was taken. We loved picking berries at this particular farm because they encouraged you to eat as many as you wanted while you picked.

I used to joke that it was a good thing they didn’t weigh us when we first arrived and then again after we were done picking berries. We definitely ate our fill while picking them! Some years the bushes were so loaded down and the berries were so fat and ripe, we could literally just rake our hand down the branch and the berries would fall in big bunches into our pail. You didn’t need to pick them, they almost leapt into your bucket! It didn’t take very long to pick a lot of berries those years.

Such good memories! I wish I could go back to this day for just a few minutes. I guess it’s a good thing that I can’t because I wouldn’t want to leave. ~~~Sigh~~~

Picking Blueberries, 1987, Berry Patch Farms

The smile of a proud blueberry picker! 🙂

 

It’s been a long time since I made blueberry jam, but with blueberry season here, I was craving some fresh blueberry jam. In the past when I’ve made jam, I’ve always used store-bought pectin to thicken it up. Recently I came across a recipe that didn’t include pectin. It never occurred to me that jam could be made without pectin. I really liked that idea and decided to give it a try.

Spoiler Alert: The jam I made and that I’m sharing in this post today is by far the best tasting jam I have ever made. I don’t know if the blueberries were just that good or if leaving the pectin out made the difference. All I know is I’m never using pectin again. Never!

To make my blueberry jam, I only needed three ingredients: blueberries, sugar and a little fresh lemon juice. That’s it! For this batch of blueberry jam, I used 6 cups of crushed blueberries, 4 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. I wasn’t sure how many whole blueberries would equal 6 cups of crushed blueberries, so I bought a lot of blueberries. I decided to measure how many I was crushing so I’d know for future reference. In the end I found it took 9 cups of whole blueberries to get 6 cups of crushed blueberries.

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I already had my canning jars and the other supplies I needed from when I made peach jam last summer. For my jam this year, I used pint size, Ball Canning Jars from my local True Value Hardware store. They can be found at True Value here: Ball Canning Jars

Making Peach Preserves 01

 

Last year I also purchased a tall 23-quart pressure canner from True Value. Before, I’d never had a pot that was quite tall enough for hot water bath canning, the type needed when canning fruit. Since I needed a taller pot, I decided to go with a pressure canner so if I ever wanted to can any low acidic veggies like beans, peas, corn, carrots, I’d be all set. This baby will work for all your canning needs!

Making Peach Preserves 02

 

I also purchased this set of canning utensils last year. So glad I have them because they are invaluable in the canning process. I noticed the set True Value sells is even better because it includes tongs and a jar wrench. Very handy! You’ll find it here: Canning Utensil Set

Ball Utensil Set for Preserving

 

After washing my canning jars (I washed a bunch since I wasn’t sure how many I’d need) I put them in the canner and covered them with water. The pot only needs to be filled with enough water to cover the tops of the jars by about two inches.

I used the insert that came with my canner in the bottom of the pot. It’s not a good idea to place the jars directly onto the bottom of the pot since it gets so hot. Instead you’ll want to use an insert like this one.

There seems to be a little debate over whether it’s necessary to sterilize the jars, lids, etc.. when canning. Some of the information I’ve found in various canning books I’ve consulted says it’s not necessary to sterilize the jars because the jam will heat up later (inside the jars) to a temperature that would kill germs that could be lurking. But I’ve also read in other books that you should sterilize the jars. Confusing, I know!

I went ahead and did it this time. Last year I didn’t do it when I made my peach jam and it was fine. I just finished off the last jar a couple of months ago and it was still perfectly fine. But, if you would rather err on the side of caution, go ahead and sterilize your jars and lids by placing them in a hot water bath, bringing it to a light boil, then gently boiling them in the water for about 15 minutes. Don’t remove them when you’re finished. Just turn off the heat under them and leave them in the water. Later when you add your hot jam to the jars, it’s best if they are already hot so there’s no chance they’ll break due to a temperature change.

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I washed my blueberries thoroughly before crushing them.

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To crush them, I used an old-fashioned potato masher. At first the berries were pretty firm and I had to press down much harder than I had expected. After just a few seconds though, they became much easier to crush.

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To make the jam, I dumped all 6 cups of crushed blueberries into a large Dutch oven. This is the same pot I used when I make my homemade vegetable beef soup. Next I added in the 4 cups of sugar.

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Then, I poured in 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

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Stir everything up and cook your berry mixture over medium heat. Bring your berries to a gentle boil, stirring frequently to make sure all the sugar has been mixed in well and has dissolved.

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After your berry mixture has been cooking for a while at a gentle boil, start looking for signs that it’s beginning to thicken. One good way to test is a method I read about at the site where I found this recipe. Place a couple of plates in your refrigerator, then when your jam begins to look  a little thicker, do a test dribble onto a cold plate to see what happens.

The first few times you do this, it’s going to be a little runny like you see in the picture below. Keep cooking your jam and keep testing it every few minutes on a really cold plate. (Put a couple of plates in the refrigerator or freezer ahead of time to get them cold. After each test, I stuck my plate back into the freezer so it would stay cold.  After a bit, I noticed that the jam didn’t run very much and I knew it was about ready.

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If you’ve ever made icing or candies on the stove, you know when it’s jelled enough. But the cold plate test really does help a lot.

Now that my jam was thickening up, it was time to remove the hot jars from their hot water bath. I always use some metal tongs to do that because they make it really easy to tilt the jars to let the water run out.

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I put the lids in later, and to remove them I used this little magnetic lid lifter that came in the canning kit shown earlier.

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With everything ready, it was time fill the jars with the hot blueberry jam.

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The funnel that comes in the kit from True Value is the perfect size to fit into the mouth of canning jars. I can’t imagine filling the jar without this funnel! You need to fill your jar about 1/4 inch from the top. I ended up with a little more head space left in my jars, but 1/4 inch is a good standard to go by when filling them.

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Before placing the lids on, take a clean cloth and wipe around the top rim of your jar. That will ensure you’ll get a good, clean seal when the lid is placed on the jar. The magnetic lid lifter again comes in handy for putting the hot lids atop the hot, jam-filled jars. When you screw the rings over the top of your jars, do not over-tighten them. Just screw them on until them are on, finger-tight. That’s all that is needed.

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I scooped a little of the left over jam out of the pot so you can see how thick it got. You definitely do not need pectin when making blueberry jam, unless you just want to use it.

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Often when making jam, during the cooking process a bunch of foam will accumulate on the surface and you have to take the time to scoop it all off before putting your jam into jars. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t use pectin this time or what, but there was virtually no foam on the surface to scoop off.

In this picture where the jam is cooking, that’s just a rolling boil and not foam. Once I turned the jam off and let it cool off for just a minute before I began filling the jars, there was barely (if any) foam on the surface.

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Using the jar lifter that came in my kit, I placed my hot jam-filled jars back into the hot water bath. If some of your water has boiled out, add back enough to cover your jars completely. Make sure you add hot water if you have to add any. You don’t want to risk cracking your jars since they will already be very hot.

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Bring the water to a boil and keep it boiling for around 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the jars sit for a few minutes so you’re not trying to remove them from boiling hot water.

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Again, you’ll want to use a jar lifter like the one that came in my kit to remove your jam from the hot water.

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Be sure to place your jam where it can sit completely undisturbed for about 24 hours. You don’t want to move them during this time. Within just a few seconds of placing my jam on the counter, the lids began making that cute popping sound that they do shortly after you remove them from the hot water.

Blueberry Jam

 

When your canning process has gone as it should, you’ll notice that each lid is slightly sunk downward in the center. That’s what the popping sound is, the lid being sucked downward, so that’s a good sign when you hear them popping. I love hearing them! 🙂

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Confession time: I took this picture about 4-5 days after I had finished canning my blueberries and you’ll notice there’s only 3 jars showing in the picture.

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That’s because this jam was so good, I had already gone through an entire jar by the time I got around to taking these photos. lol

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This truly is the best tasting blueberry jam I’ve ever made. The lemon juice gives it just the right zing and I’m not sure if the lack of pectin changed the way it tasted or not, but this recipe surely turned out some fine jam!

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If you’re nervous about the idea of making jam, don’t be! I usually only make it once a year and so far (knock on wood) I’ve never had a failure. If I can do it making it no more often than that, you definitely can!

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You can see it came out nice and thick.

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This may sound weird but the consistency and the way it felt in the mouth was different without the pectin, and I liked it much better! It just has such a great consistency both on the plate and in the mouth. Have you ever made jam without pectin? Did you notice a change in the consistency for the better?

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Are you a major blueberry fan like me? I can’t wait to try this non-pectin way of making jam with strawberries now! Yummm, strawberry jam! True Value has a great video tutorial if you’re looking for more inspiration!

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I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Looking forward to all the fabulous Before and Afters for this Met Monday!

Metamorphosis MondayMet Monday

 

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Comments

  1. I’ve never made jam of any sort in my life – and now reading this – you make me want to try it ( I never realized it was so easy Susan – thanks !!! )
    And many thanks for hosting – it’s always appreciated.
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Hugs,
    Suzan

  2. pam ~ crumpety cottage says:

    Confession time, lol. 😀 Awww … I’m glad it came out so well. I think you actually showed restraint, eating only one jar. 😉 It looks and sounds delicious, Susan. (Of course, 4 cups of sugar probably helps with that!) I’ve never done any type of canning, jam included, so I know nothing about the great pectin debate. But ‘mouth feel’ is certainly a valid and important component in any food related adventure, so it would be interesting to know if the lack of pectin had anything to do with that.

    As for the canning process, which I always considered a mysterious and dangerous venture, you certainly made it seem easy! I don’t have any of the accoutrements needed if I were to try my hand at canning, so thanks for leaving the links, just in case I get brave.

    Yes, I love blueberries! I love all sorts of berries and fruit. And this year, for the first time in many years, I had some truly delicious peaches (I stopped buying them years ago because they always seemed to be a terrible disappointment) so your mention of peach jam perked my ears up as well.

    That picture of Chip is adorable. I know exactly what you mean about, ‘if only I could go back to that time for a moment.’ Before you know it, he’ll be thinking the same thing about Master Court. And the backdrop of the sky in that photo is so intriguing. Very pretty!

    Thanks for all this good info. I say, eat your jam guilt free. 😀

    • The sky really looked weird, didn’t it. It must have been nearing dusk. lol about the sugar. After eating this jam, I don’t ever want to buy store bought again…totally ruins you to eat homemade! Thanks, Pam…for saying I showed restraint only eating one. 😉

  3. Thanks so much for the party!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

  4. What a precious picture of Chip! Love the blueberry recipe – so much better than what you get at the store. I am trying very hard to delete anything in a package with an ingredient that I can’t pronounce. I have not had any negative reaction to pectin, but the cleaner the better. Those are some good looking biscuits too.

    Have a good week.

    • Madonna, you’re so right. I know homemade is usually better than anything store bought, but I didn’t realize that it applied to jam, too. It really does! I’m trying hard to not eat anything out of a box, too. My main weakness is cereal with blueberries.

  5. What an adorable photo of your son, Susan 🙂 Thanks for hosting another great party!

  6. The picture of your son is precious! It’s a shame (in a way) that they have to grow up, isn’t it? The blueberry jam looks delish! I’ve never tried it, but pretty sure I would love it! …Thanks for hosting the party! ~Rhonda

  7. This recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing it and thanks for hosting!

  8. Susan your energy knows no bounds! Your jam looks and sounds divine, lucky you! I bet your son will receive a jar or two! Thanks for the Monday inspirations~

  9. What fun memories! We don’t have a blueberry farm anywhere near here, but your instructions are so clear that I would love to try making jam some day. Love the sunflower plate too! 🙂

  10. The jam is so beautiful. I have never tried making blueberry jam, but wow, this has to be on the list! Your biscuits looks fabulous too. Have a wonderful day and thanks for the best parties!

  11. Susan, your jam looks so good! Reminds me of my mom making raspberry jam every summer when I was young. Thanks for hosting!

  12. I have never made jam, looks like quite a process, but very delicious! Ps~ I’d like to go back, too. If only… 😉

  13. I so admire people who take the time to grow, pick and preserve foods the way you’ve done here. I don’t think I’ll ever be inclined to do so, but I am always willing to pay a little extra for the artisan foods at our farmer’s market. Your recipe and picture results look fabulous. I can almost taste that wonderful flavor. On two different trips to Maine, we enjoyed blueberries in the area. They were memorable! Have a great week and thanks for hosting us!
    Rita C at Panoply

  14. Jennifer Moreland says:

    When I was a child I would pick blackberries with my grandmother and then she would make a cobbler. Making homemade goodies is a lot of work and seems to be a lost art especially with the younger generations. I know your family appreciates it. It looks yummy. Cute Kid.

  15. I’ve been canning in small batches. Two great books to get are Food in Jars and Preserving By The Pint by Marissa McClellan. I live in high altitude and the processing time for water bath canning goes up with the altitude. Marissa has excellent directions and fabulous recipes and she also has a blog.

  16. Hi Susan! Oh, what a darling snap of your son and I’m sure he was ready to dig into those blueberries! I’ve made grape jam, just once! I know this must taste so very good! I’m so glad I can party with you. I took a little break from partying this summer and I’m ready to get back to it! Hope you’re having a great week and thanks for hosting.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  17. Oh, Yum! I’m going to have to get up and go eat something after seeing those pictures. I may even have to go buy some blueberries. Your son was so cute, and he looks so proud of his berries. What fun. Thank you for hosting.

  18. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Sounds good and looks yummy! I know it sounds crazy but,i wanted to lick your finger to see how good it was but alas,not real. lol

  19. Looks like we were doing something similar this past weekend, only it was with peaches in my kitchen. Your photos are beautiful, and you give such clear step-by-step instructions. Thank you for sharing your recipe and the jam making process.

  20. Susan, So sorry my link loaded 4 times. Don’t know how to fix it at my end. I only did it once, but my computer has been acting up all morning. I was just now able to comment after all these hours! BTW your jam looks like something I want to try, so I pinned it. XO

  21. It does sound easy. I have never tried to can anything but this sounds doable and oh my goodness I want some biscuits and blueberry jam now!

  22. Charlotte says:

    That blueberry jam looks so good! It does seem easy to do, I might just get ambitious. My Grandmother used to make jams & preserves, such good memories! Thanks for sharing!

  23. I love the cute picture of Chip, Susan! Blueberries are my favorite, too…but I am not brave enough to can them! Your jam looks yummy! Hugs…Debbie

  24. Wow I bet that is good! I’m not a blueberry fan but Dan is. He’d be wearing it all over his mouth! I haven’t tried making jam in years. I should give it a try again. 🙂

  25. I am a huge fan of blueberries too, Susan. I eat them every single day, I only wish that we could get them fresh all year long. I’ve never made jam myself, but you made it sound so easy and it looks so yummy. I may have to give it a try.

    Thanks so much for sharing and for hosting. Hope that you have a fabulous week!

  26. Stupid question. Do you have to do a hot bath after you put the fruit in the jars? Will try this no doubt. Love the picture. So cute. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Yup, after you put them in the jars, you put them back into a hot bath, bring it to a boil and keep them in there for about 15 minutes. Thanks, Rosie!

  27. Susan, that’s look so good. I have LOTS of blueberries in my freezer. Do you think they would work? I would think I need to thaw first.

  28. Totally agree regarding the pectin. I dislike the taste of it. I always made strawberry jam without it and it turns out just fine, just need to cook it longer to get the thicker consistently.
    I do like clear gel though, made blueberry jam using this and it was fantastic.

    • I haven’t heard of clear gel. Liz, does it change the texture? That’s a biggie for me, I loved the how this felt when eating it. I just don’t like the way the jam changes in consistency when pectin is used.

  29. Thanks for hosting another wonderful party!

  30. Between peaches and blueberries I am going to try this. I never made jellies and jams because of the process and this is a snap! Thanks for sharing and I am going to visit my True Value store soon. Have a great week!

  31. I’m salivating! Blueberries are my favorite fruit too! Will definitely try this!!! Thank you!

  32. I make jam and jelly all the time and have never used pectin. Just been canning spaghetti sauce and pepper relish.

    • Joyce, wish I had know years ago that I didn’t need it…so much better without it. Sounds like there’s going to be some good eatin’ going on at your home! 🙂

  33. Cyndi Raines says:

    Looks so yummy! Will have to try blueberries some time. We can tomatoes each year and peaches when they aren’t so pricey and they are SO GOOD – nothing in the store can come close to their great taste. We use a lite syrup and they are eaten up in no time! haha. This week we are vacationing at Houghton Lake, renting a cabin right on the water and even though we’ve had rain for 2 days, still enjoying the beautiful view of the water and long walks in between the raindrops. We are on “beach-time” and loving it! 🙂

  34. foodiechick says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just ran across this recipe! The blueberry jam looks great–but your biscuits
    look amazing. Have you posted your recipe for biscuits, yet? If not, can you please share it? Thanks so much.

    • Thanks! I don’t remember what brand those were. I didn’t make them from scratch. I think they were a brand I found in the frozen section, the type that look/taste more homemade. Just don’t remember now which brand it was. I would love to make them from scratch one day, just haven’t ever tried that, yet.

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