Summer really is one of the best times of the year. One of the best reasons for that is taking the bounty of your harvest and preserving it in a way that you are able to enjoy it through out the rest of the year (especially in the long, chilly, winter months). Growing up, my mom would always can or freeze home made pasta sauce made from our tomatoes, make up multiple batches of jam & jelly, and slice up more than enough pickles, relish and other delicious harvested goodies.
We’ll harvest and freeze all of our strawberries in the early summer months and take them back out when we’re making jam with fresh blueberries & raspberries in the later summer months. Two weeks ago when we had our first giant blueberry harvest I decided to make jam with the help of my lovely mother. I picked up some pectin and we invested in a new water bath canner in order to make our life a little bit easier.
For those of you who have never made jam (or it’s just been a while) these are the things you will need.
- A water bath canner with a canning rack
- A funnel
- Tongs/Jar lifter
- A clean cloth
- A case of Ball Jelly Jars (found at the hardware or grocery store)
It helped to have my mom there with me but it’s definitely easier than you would imagine. I’m always up for a good jammin’ party/get together so if any one has any ideas just let me know. Let’s get started, shall we?
Of note, I doubled this recipe and it came out just fine. It made 12 jars and was oh-so-good. Make sure you have enough time to do this from start to finish as the jars and jam both need to be hot in order for the canning to work.
SUMMER TIME BLUEBERRY JAM
Makes 6 jars. (this recipe also works for sweet blackberry & mulberry jam)
4 cups mashed berries
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1/2 – 1 cup honey or 3/4 – 2 cups sugar
Pectic – 2 tsp pectic powder & 2 tsp calcium powder (comes in the pectin box)
BEFORE YOU START JAMMIN’. In the pectin box you will find 2 packets. One is the pectin and the other is the calcium which helps to activate the pectin. Put the 1/2 tsp white calcium powder and 1/2 cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. (You can store in refrigerator between uses. It lasts for a number of months.) Shake well before using.
1. Remove your stems from the berries. I fill up the sink with water and let the berries sit for 5 minutes or so. I grab a strainer and filter out all the leaves, twigs, stems etc. Then I put them all in a strainer and go through them a handful at a time to make sure most of the stem debris is gone.
2. In your water bath canner, add water, jars, lids & rings and bring to a boil and turn down the heat. Let them stand in hot water.
3. Prepare & mash up the fruit. Measure fruit into pan with lemon or lime juice.
4. Add proper amount of calcium water from the jar into the pan and stir well.
5. Measure sugar or cold room temperature honey into a separate bowl. Thoroughly mix proper amount of Pectic powder into honey or sugar.
6. Bring fruit or juice to boil. Add the pectic-honey or pectin-sugar to the fruit. Stir vigorously for 1 – 2 minutes while cooking to dissolve pectin. Return to boil and remove from heat.
7. Using tongs or the ever handy jar lifters remove 2 jars and 2 sets of lids from the water bath (so the remaining jars stay nice and hot). Using a funnel, fill them to 1/4″ of top. Wipe the rims clean with your clean cloth. Lightly screw on 2-piece lids (not too tightly as they need to release air to properly seal). Leave them on the counter until you finish up the rest of the jars.
For my first batch I didn’t have a funnel but I managed!
8. Place the filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars cool. Check seals-lids as they should be sucked down. Tighten the rings and enjoy all the year long! (An open jar lasts about 3 weeks)