One of my favorite mid-morning snacks at work is a toasted whole wheat crumpet with something on top – butter, jelly, jam, cream cheese, whatever. When I saw the blueberries in this week’s CSA share from Geauga Family Farms, I knew some homemade jam would be a really great addition to a crumpet. Plus, I have a good amount of homemade pectin in the freezer (which, not-so-coincidentally, was made using CSA apples last fall). I didn’t post the recipe for homemade pectin when I made it, but in the recipe below I included a link to a website that details the process. It’s very easy – basically, chopping up apples and boiling them, or using apple stems and peels and boiling them.
However, because the strength of the pectin is going to vary greatly from batch to batch in homemade pectin, it makes the jam a bit more of a guessing process. I used 1 1/2 cups of frozen pectin, but it may take more or less to make your jam set up. It is certainly more of a trial-and-error process than using store bought pectin and took me a few tests before I got it right.
In the end, though, it was well worth it and not very difficult at all. The flavors of this jam are simple and straightforward – fresh, sweet blueberries and politely assertive lemon with just a hint of coriander and cinnamon to every bite. The real star here, of course, is the humble little blueberry. It’s the predominate flavor, kept interesting by the whisper of lemon and spice in the background. This is the most successful jam that I’ve produced. I was so, so happy with how well it gelled. I now have the utmost faith in my homemade pectin. I can’t wait to get more apples from the CSA so I can make more homemade pectin (and share the process with you all). Because more pectin = more delicious homemade jam.
1 pint blueberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 – 2 cup(s) homemade pectin, defrosted if frozen
Pinch ground coriander
Pinch ground cinnamon
Place a metal spoon in a glass of water in the freezer.
In a large non-stick sauce pan, add blueberries. Mash them up using a hand masher until mostly smooth, or to desired consistency. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn heat on to medium-high and, continuing to mash, bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in sugar. Let boil for 3-5 minutes. Add pectin, starting with one cup, and let boil hard (so stirring it doesn’t interrupt the boil) for 5-8 minutes.
Remove the spoon from the ice water and scoop up some jam. Let sit and cool to room temperature, continuing to boil the jam (reduce heat slightly if it begins to reduce substantially). If the jam sets up to a desired consistency at room temperature, remove from heat and proceed to canning. If it does not set up, add more pectin and boil another 4-5 minutes at a time, continuing to test jam until it sets up to proper consistency. After the first cup, I added about 1/4 cup at a time and ended up using about 1 1/2 cups of my homemade pectin.
Storage inside of refrigerator for up to one month: Run jar through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes. Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to refrigerator. Enjoy.
Storage outside of refrigerator: Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot. Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning. Pour boiling water over both lids and rings. Ladle the sauce into the jar and seal shut. Transfer the jar to the hot water bath. Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar. Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.