Monday, June 30, 2014

Not-So-Sweet Blueberry Lemon Jam

To me, fruit and berry picking is a big part of summertime.  It's something my father did with my sisters and I when we were children and I am happy to keep the tradition with my child.  I was thrilled the other morning when I asked my daughter if she thought we should go blueberry picking that day and she replied, "Yeah!" without hesitation.  When we got home, I made her a blue monkey smoothie, which includes blueberry, banana and yogurt.  She didn't like it.  But thankfully, instead of throwing it on the floor, she gave it back to me.

What did I do with the other pounds of berries?  I froze a bunch for future smoothies that she may or may not like, made some jam and of course enjoyed many fresh berries on their own because that is my favorite.

This is another less sugar recipe with a lemony twist.  The added salt does not make the jam taste salty, it just enhances the flavor.

Not-So-Sweet Blueberry Lemon Jam
Makes about 9 cups to fill 9-8 ounce jars

4 1/4 pounds Blueberries, 8 cups mashed
1/2 cup bottled Lemon Juice
Zest from one Lemon that has been thoroughly scrubbed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, optional
4 teaspoons Calcium Water*
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 teaspoons Pectin

*To make the calcium water, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the calcium powder included in the box of Pomona's Pectin with 1/2 cup water.  Mix very well.  The mixed calcium water can be stored in the refrigerator.

Prepare for Boiling Water Bath Canning

1. Fill water bath canner or large stock pot with tap water and place over high heat.
2. Wash and sterilize 9 8 ounce mason jars.  You can sterilize the jars by placing them in the canner while the water heats up, boiling for a minimum of 15 minutes.
3. Wash 9 regular mouth dome lids and place in a heat proof bowl.  Once the jam is cooked, you will cover the lids with warm water before placing on jars to seal.  Have 9 regular mouth bands handy.
4. Once the water is at a rolling boil, you are ready to can.

Prepare the Fruit

1. Wash, drain and remove any stems from the berries.
2. Lightly mash the berries as you measure your 8 cups.

Not exactly beautiful, but a good picture to judge the mashed fruit consistency.

3. Transfer the fruit to a large dutch oven or stockpot along with the calcium water, lemon juice and zest and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
4. Meanwhile, combine the pectin with the sugar in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Once the fruit mixture reaches a boil, slowly add the sugar and pectin mixture, stirring constantly to avoid clumps.
6. Stir until well combined and return mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat.
7. Skim any foam that has risen to the top of the jam, if desired.  This foam is nothing more than air bubbles moving through a viscous solution, it is fine to eat but you can skim it if you want a clearer jam.

Get Ready to Can

1. Take the lids you washed previously and ladle some of the hot water from your canning pot to cover.
2. Ladle fruit into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, the space between the surface of the fruit and the top of the jar.
3. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, center lid on each jar and tighten band around each lid.
4. Using tongs, pick up each jar individually, keeping it as straight (perpendicular) as possible and place in water bath canner.  Repeat until all of the jars are in the water.
5. Place the lid on the canner and process for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove the canner lid.  Allow jars to sit in the hot water for an additional five minutes.
6. Remove each jar individually, once again keeping the jar as straight as possible, to a cloth towel or napkin lined counter.
7. Allow the jars to rest undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check the seals, the dome should be sucked into the jar, clean the jars and label.  Enjoy!

Because jars of jam look pretty in a cloth lined basket.

Shared at Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

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