But first, a bite of grilled pizza and some summer love.
I'll remember this summer as long as I live.
The cutest puppy settling in with our family, the biggest garden we've had to date, the blissful quiet of country living, the growth and fun that comes from following the resident young adult's lead and saying 'yes' to her traveling heart. And, the more private behind the scenes battles and triumphs my loved ones are soldiering through at this time. So much life, this summer.
Grilling pizza on the back deck. Stretching dough, adding basil, pouring iced tea. Entertaining the puppy, catching up on the day.
Showing up for life. I see it all around me.
Before heading out for a quick getaway with Emily and her best friend, I set out to make a big batch of blueberry jam. I suppose I could have tossed the berries into the freezer with the strawberries (June was just so busy, there was barely time for picking, let alone jam-making), and made this year's jam at a later date.
But the humidity we've been suffering through finally broke. It is still hot and summery, just without the unbearable stickiness. Perfect for canning up some jam.
I should have been finishing my packing, putting the laundry away, watering the back garden, etc. You know those many tasks that need tending before heading out the door. Instead, my mind was on one thing only - honey blueberry jam.
Before I could get started, seeing the blueberries on the counter reminded me I did not have any breakfast. Yogurt with honey and blueberries it is.
I've been using Pomona's Pectin for about 4 years now and with it have made several types of low sugar jams, jellies, and sauces. Unlike most pectin, Pomona's can gel using less sugar, and will even gel using honey or fruit juice concentrate.
From their website:
"Pomona's Universal Pectin is a sugar-free, preservative-free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin that is activated by calcium. Since it does not require sugar to jell, jams and jellies can be made with less, little, or no sugar."
Scared of it not working, and thus sacrificing precious summer fruit and expensive honey, I never did have the confidence to give it a go. But this year was the year to try out jam making with honey. Why was I so worried? Hasn't this method been tested a thousand times by Pomona? Of course it has!
With the clock ticking and a car that needed to be packed, I set out to make 15 jars of Honey Blueberry Jam. It turned out to be so very good, and the consistency is perfectly jam-like!
This recipe made a little more than could fit into my 15 half pint jars for canning, so the extra 2 1/2 pints were jarred up for the freezer. Next time I'll plan ahead better to have enough jars ready for canning.
This recipe will make 20 half pints. If you'd like to make less or more, adust accordingly.
Honey Blueberry Jam
- 16 cups mashed blueberries (pulse them through the food processor until fine but not pureed)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 1/2 cups local honey (you can use more or less honey to your liking, I actually started with 3 cups and added a bit more as this variety of berries were a little tart)
- 8 teaspoons Pomona's Pectin powder
- 8 teaspoons calcium water (made using calcium powder that comes with Pomona's Pectin, instructions included in package)
- In very hot water, wash and rinse 20 half pint canning jars. This can be done by hand or in the dishwasher. Do this right before ready to use so jars are still hot.
- Add lids and rings to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a strong simmer but do not boil. Keep lids and rings in hot water as you prepare jam.
- In a very large pot combine mashed blueberries, lemon juice, and calcium water. Bring to a boil. Stirring often to prevent fruit from sticking to the pan.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine honey and pectin. Mix well. A small whisk works really well.
- Add honey/pectin mixture to the boiling fruit. Continue to stir and boil for 2 minutes or so, until jam begins to thicken. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface of jam.
- Jam thickens upon cooling, so to best test your jam's doneness, put a teaspoonful on a saucer and refrigerate for a few minutes. Check for “jam” consistency. Cook another minute or so if not thick enough.
- Using a wide mouth funnel and small measuring cup as a scoop, fill hot/clean jars leaving 1/4" head space at the top. Place lids on the top and screw on bands, not too tightly.
- Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. (Add one minute more for every 1,000 feet of elevation.)
- Using a jar lifter, remove from water once processed. Allow to sit in one spot and cool completely.
- Add to your pantry!
Print Recipe - Honey Blueberry Jam
Now, I need to think about taking those strawberries from the freezer to make jam before the peaches start to ripen. My favorite!