Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Save the Blueberries

In my high school home economics class we briefly covered canning food. What I took away from that section of the course was 1) pressure cookers can explode like a bomb, raining shrapnel all over your kitchen, and 2) botulism will kill you. To this day I still check for bulging lids before opening a can from the grocery store.

While this is good safety information to have, I don't think the joy of canning really got through to me. In fact, the thought of it terrified me. It wasn't until my in-laws brought over a big box of tomatoes one summer and helped me "put up" the whole batch that I thought just maybe I could give this whole canning thing a whirl.

I'd love to report at this point that I've become a canning whiz and that my pantry shelves are lined with mason jars, filled to the brim with the goodness of summer's bounty. It's not. Maybe if I had a productive garden, I'd be tempted to drag out my canning paraphernalia. But, as I've mentioned before, the only thing that's doing well in my garden is my blueberries.

So, blueberry jam it is. I'm not a seasoned expert at jam, but this one is pretty simple, and if you're only making one batch, you don't even really need to seal it. Just spread on bread and enjoy. It's packed with a lot of flavor and zero High Fructose Corn Syurp. Yeah!

This is my entry for the Under The High Chair Virtual Jam Swap. If you'd like to participate, clink on the link for details.

Lemon Blueberry Preserves
- adapted from Sky High

3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1- If using frozen blueberries, thaw them completely in a bowl, saving any juices.

2- Puree the blueberries with any juices they've exuded in a blender. Pass the puree through a coarse strainer to remove the skins.

3- In a heavy, medium, nonreactive saucepan, combine the blueberry puree with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and ginger. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until the preserves have thickened and are reduced to 1 cup or pass the thickness test. Place 1 tsp of the mixture on a small glass or ceramic plate and put it in the freezer until cold. Drag your finger through the thickened puree; a clear path should remain. If it's not ready cook 5 minutes longer and repeat the test. Pour the hot preserves into a hot jam jar and seal with a clean, hot lid. Or, if you're going to use it right away, let the preserves cool, then place in a clean jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I'm STILL terrified of canning, but you've convinced me to give it a shot - one of these days, haha ;)

Love the lemon-blueberry combination!!

Jennifer Jo said...

Last year I made blueberry freezer jam and then one of the kids knocked on of the precious jars on the floor and it shattered everywhere. That's what I remember about making blueberry jam.

Aimée said...

Yay!! You're coming to the swap!!

The color on that jam is intense. Wonderful combination--and so frugal since you grew your own berries!

This series rocks.

Anonymous said...

That is lovely looking mom!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

The additon of lemon makes this jam really appealing to me Lynn!!!!

Miss High Heels said...

I come from a family who will preserve anything and everything they can get their hands on. Your blueberry lemon jam would make for a nice tangy start to a winter morning breakfast.

Debbie said...

I've never made any jams or preserves. I would worry that I did something wrong in the canning process and it would get contaminated! Yours does indeed look tasty!

Unknown said...

I'd LOVE to have blueberries growing in my garden! I cant believe you're lamenting over it! The jam sure looks great! I'll try this soon, when we get some nice fruits here!

Melinda said...

Canning scares me too. I can make jam but that is about it. I made a batch of damson plum jam last night.
My damson plum tree, which has only had 5 plums on it for the last 4 years, finally produced a bumper crop! Making my own jam, with my own fruit, makes me feel a very home prairie girl!
My little blueberry plant I got last year has been terrific. It's really tickled me to get my own blueberries.
The leaves have turned such a pretty colour now.I want to get another 5 plants now!
Your blueberry jam looks terrific.

Elle said...

I used to can but it takes so much time and often I don't finish using all that hard won bounty...the jars sit on the shelf. Especially jam, because I don't eat/use a lot of jam and jelly...but your jam looks particularly yummy. My parents were great ones for canning a ton of veggies and fruit, and making jam, so might have gotten over it as a child.
Love this blueberry series! Wish I had your blueberries instead of moooore zucchini.

Allie said...

Sound great!! But I think I'm too scared to start canning...

librariane said...

I know what you mean about fears of canning--sometimes I wonder if I don't have enough fear (it's a lot of work!)... but my mom cans and my grandma canned, so I've kind of grown up with it.

Jam's a good way to start, other than straight tomatoes!

Simona Carini said...

I have never tasted the combination blueberries + ginger: I am curious now.