Friday, May 22, 2009

Blueberry Jam

I wanted to wait and share this as Frugal Friday post because so many seemed interested in it last week. Although I'm not quite sure that blueberries are the most frugal of fruits to pick! Here on the Gulf Coast you - pick prices range from $3 to $12 a pound. You'll need lots of berries for jam and freezing. Well, at least we seem to.

Here's Farm Girl getting ready to sample a berry.

Here's how a commercial patch is done.
The blueberries are grown large water barrels
of mulch.

24 pounds of berries later!

Once home, I place all the blueberries in a deep cold water sink bath. Then I take them out by cups full to rinse. After that I line the counters with old bath towels and spread the berries out to dry. I do this with strawberries also.

I also roll them around a bit to make sure they are nice and dry. This doesn't take long. Watch out for berry stealer's! It's oh so tempting to eat and eat!

At this point I bag up cup fulls for freezing. I did 24 cups, enough for 24 batches of muffins.

Preparing for jam making:

-4cups of sugar
-Sure gel no sugar pectin or Ball low sugar pectin - 1 box
-6 pints or 6 cups of crushed blueberries
-6 quart pot for cooking jam
-Water bath canner, funnel and jar tongs (you can forgo this part and turn jars over for 10 minutes, then turn them back over. most of the time they will seal this way. if they do not you will have to water bath them or pop them in the freezer. i feel more comfortable with the water bath.)

1. Crush blueberries in food processor and measure into cooking pot.

2. Measure out 3 3/4 cups of sugar into 1 bowl and 1/4c of sugar in smaller bowl.
3. To the smaller bowl add 1 box of pectin (either kind of pectin). Mix well with the 1/4c of sugar.

4. Cut 1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter and place it in your cooking pot. (you can use margarine) This keeps the foaming way down while cooking the jam.

5. Stir in pectin /sugar mixture into cooking pot. Stir immediately and continuously. Place on stove. Keep stirring and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Rolling Boil- is a bowl that isn't broken by continuous stirring.
6. After it as been boiling for a minute add the rest of your sugar. Bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute. This gives the sugar a chance to melt. (if your using a larger grain of sugar like Sugar in the Raw, turn down the heat a bit so it takes longer to get to the boil stage. this type of sugar needs a bit longer to melt.)
Sorry no pictures. To hot to try and do it all!
7. Now your ready to can!
a) I take the jam off the heat at this point. I've already got my canning jars washed and ready to go (they are soaking in a pot of hot water with their lids)
b) Now I take the canning funnel and fill the jars leaving about 1/2 to and 1 inch space at the top of jar.
c)Then I wipe the mouth of the jar with a paper towel. This will make for a tight seal and no bacteria growth (ick!).]
d)At this point you have the option of turning the jars over and letting them stand for 10 minutes then righting them. You should hear a popping noise and the lid of the jars should be sucked in and non movable all within about 20 minutes of righting them. If not not you'll need to store in the fridge or freezer.
You can place them in the water bath and let them boil for 10 minutes! Pretty simple. Take out and place on a cooling rack that has a kitchen towel over it. You should hear lids suctioning in within a couple of minutes and all should be down with in 30 minutes.
e)Let jars cool and store in cool dark place. I like to use mine within a year. You do tend to lose a bit of color the longer they sit. Using a a Full 8 cup of sugar recipe tends to keep color better. But I think you lose some of the fresh berry taste. If you choose to use more sugar, make sure you buy regular pectin.
So I hope this helps! Please let me know your thoughts and any extra tips you might have.
I ended up with 17 pints of jam, 1/2 gallon syrup and 24 c of frozen blueberries from my 24. pounds.

Check out Life As Mom for more Frugal Friday tips!
Don't forget to leave me a comment!


Dana said...

Three to twelve dollars a pound? Wow! We planted our own blueberries last year and now I'm curious how many we will need for yummy projects like this.

Thanks for the pictures, especially!

Lora said...

Yummy! Random and totally off the topic of blueberries, but do you have any suggestions for cake for Addison's 1st birthday? I know it's not till July, but I am starting to think about what to do as I dont want to load her up on sugar and frosting since she's obviously never had it...just curious :)

UnfinishedMom said...

We love blueberries at our house too. This year I'm hoping to try to make blueberry applesauce. But it will be September or October before I can really try.

By the way - your link from LifeAsMom didn't work right. I haven't figured out why.

Missy said...

we love blueberries! there is notthing like a hot bluberry cobbler in the winter time! I put up blueberries in my freezer every year! My parents have about 15 bushes (more than enough)I love your blog!

smalltowngirl said...

looks great! wow that is a ton of berries! how long did it take to pick that many? Rachel and I went last year and we picked a lot (don't remember how many though). It took us a long time. The berries were at a farm nearby and the berries weren't as large as yours looked. I love them though and it's fun.

Schilinski Clan said...

yum! I miss blueberries (and reading this isn't helping :).