Love, love, love the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available in summer from local farmers’ markets and my own backyard! The only problem is that with most crops, the produce matures at about the same time. Now what to do with the surplus that can’t be eaten quickly enough? If you don’t freeze it for use at a later time, friends, family, and neighbors become beneficiaries. Or…….
Here’s one idea for blueberries, make jam. No excuses! Don’t even try…..
Excuse #1: Don’t nay-say this idea and tell me you don’t have all the canning jars, utensils, and pots for the water bath that some recipes require. This is such an easy recipe (and healthy!) and doesn’t require anything more than a small sauce pan and a jar or container for storing the jam.
Excuse #2: Don’t grow your own berries? Or have a farmers’ market nearby? Grocery store out of fresh berries? This recipe works well with frozen berries too so you can make it year-around. And there are only THREE ingredients to make this jam!
Excuse #3: Don’t use jam on your bread, sandwich, or toast? You can use this jam on waffles, pancakes, muffins, add a spoonful or two to a fruit salad, spread between two cookies, drop on top of ice cream, mix into yogurt, dollop on cake (like angel food or sponge cake)…. the uses are many as you can see!
I’m not a fan of maple syrup so I use it on top of pancakes. These just happen to be blueberry pancakes so I get a double dose of blueberries!
If you have children home for the summer, it makes a great project (supervised of course) and gives the kids a sense of pride at what they accomplished in a short time. We had the bonus grandchildren over and the girls picked the blueberries off the bushes in our garden, and then we made the jam. The project continued as we made labels for the jars. A fun experience for all of us.
So, I’ll bet you are interested in reading this simple recipe now and making a jar of it yourself. Yes you are!! And you can use this recipe for any type of berry you like.
It all starts with the blueberry bush. We are lucky enough to have three so we have a nice crop each year.
Grands picking berries under the net (netting keeps the birds and golf balls out).
Added a little honey to the pot to sweeten the berries.
Cook until the fruit breaks down and releases liquid.
Add chia seeds to help thicken.
Mash berries with potato masher or fork. Don’t obsess about getting all the berries perfectly mashed unless you like your jam really smooth. I left mine a little lumpy because I like a little substance to the jam.
Ready to put in the jar!
One and a half cups of berries makes a nice small jar of jam. Perfect for one person or a household. Keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of months. I would guess it will be eaten before you need to be concerned about how long the jam has been in the fridge.
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)*
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)**
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- In a small saucepan, combine berries with honey or maple syrup.
- Cook on medium heat, allowing berries to break down and create a juice (about 5 minutes).
- Mash up berries with fork or potato masher - to desired smoothness or leave a bit chunky.
- Add chia seeds and stir to combine.
- Stir frequently and cook for 10 minutes until liquid evaporates and mixture sticks to a spoon.
- Taste to adjust to desired sweetness.
- Spoon into jar and refrigerate until firm (about 4 hours).
- Keep refrigerated.
- *I used fresh blueberries. You can substitute fresh or frozen berries of your choice.
- **The original recipe said to use maple syrup. I prefer the taste of honey.
BONUS: Need a light dessert or bite This is the easiest and quickest dessert ever!
Fresh blueberries picked from our bushes in the backyard.
I cheated and bought an angel food cake at the grocery store. Top with berries and a little whip cream and you’re done or….spoon a little lemon curd (homemade or store bought) on the cake. Pour a handful of blueberries (or a spoonful of your freshly made jam) on top. One, two, three, dessert’s ready!
Here’s the recipe for Lemon Curd made by our friend and neighbor Dan:
- 4 large eggs
- few grains salt
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ cup butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- Thoroughly beat eggs and pour into top part of double boiler.
- Stir in salt, sugar, butter, lemon juice, lemon rind.
- Cook over simmering water about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Makes 3 cups. Keeps about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.