The simplest of all berries to make jam with, Blueberry Jam is easy to make! With just a little pectin, and the proper equipment, canning this blueberry jam recipe means the freshness of summer can be had in the middle of winter! vegan + gluten free
Summertime is the time for canning, pickling, and freezing its abundant fresh fruits, berries, and veggies so when cold winter days hit, there’s a little bit of Summer sunshine tucked away to enjoy. One of my most favorite berries to jam is blueberry because of its ease. If you love blueberries, you are going to love learning how to make blueberry jam.
With just a bit of planning and organization, you’ll have long-lasting blueberry jam love well into the winter, if you can resist eating it all before then. And, homemade jam always makes a wonderful gift.
But, just in case you’ve picked or purchased too many blueberries, I’ve included how to freeze blueberries below! Keep reading!
Equipment for Canning
To make canning easier, I use a few pieces of special equipment, specific for canning. These are affiliate links:
- Wide Mouth Funnel
- Jar lifter
- Canning Jars – I like 8oz jars
- Large 10 Quart Stockpot
- Four Cup Measuring Glass
- Small Potato Masher – to mash the berries with
To process the jars of blueberry jam, I use a large, 10 quart stockpot. It will process about 6-7 jars at a time (depending on the shape/size of jar). This is not a “special” pot, as I use it for soups, stews, and big batches of pasta.
For canning this blueberry jam recipe, I prefer to use Pomona’s pectin because the amount and/or type of sugar used can be easily adjusted to taste. While it’s a bit pricey, I’ve been able to get three batches of jam out of one package (almost 30 8-ounce jars).
How to Make Blueberry Jam
Blueberry jam is one of the simplest jams to make because the berries are already stemmed, and they have tiny seeds that are almost undetectable, so you don’t have to spend time destemming or using cheese cloth or a juicer to get all the seeds out. Simply wash, mash, boil, jar, and process. This is a great berry to start with for new jammers!
- First, sterilize the jars and lids. The National Center for Home Food Preservation shows us how to sterilize empty jars and lids..
- Second, rinse the blueberries under running water.
- Third, prepare the calcium water (in the Pomona’s pectin package), and sugar/pectin mixture.
- Fourth, mash the blueberries, then cook them with lemon and the sugar/pectin mixture.
- Fifth, transfer the cooked blueberries to lidded jars.
- Next, process jars in a water bath of boiling water.
- Last, remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool. Listen for the POP (!!) from the lid indicating the jar has sealed and the jam is ready for long term, room temperature storage.
One of the most important parts of jamming is to be organized. Mise en Place before you start and make sure you have a plenty of counter space and kitchen towels!
How to Freeze Blueberries
Although I love making jam out of blueberries, there are multiple ways to enjoy them, including eating them one hand-full at a time. For the ones not eaten fresh, I freeze as many as my freezer will hold for future use in compotes, smoothies, syrups and all things baked. To freeze blueberries,
- First, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Next, spread the blueberries in one layer on the sheet pan, arranging so that they’re not touching.
- Continuing, allow the blueberries to freeze for a few hours.
- Last, remove from the freezer and transfer frozen berries to a storage container. Freeze for up to one year.
Eat More Blueberries!
Blueberries are incredible little juicy pieces of power-packed nutrition. They are rockstars in the food world and taste wonderful no matter how you eat them. Being a superfood, blueberries pack a phytonutrient punch and, eaten regularly, provide many health benefits.
Just to name a few, blueberries increase HDL while lowering triglycerides, support cardiovascular health, promote colon health, and reduce the risk of cancer; they are anti-inflammatory, and studies suggest blueberries can postpone or slow the degradation of cognitive function usually associated with aging. To understand more about why blueberries are such rockstars, check out World’s Healthiest Foods.
A Few Recipe Notes
- To properly prepare the jars for canning, The National Center for Home Food Preservation shows us how.
- When deciding how much sugar to add to the batch of blueberries I’m jamming, I always taste the blueberries first. If tart, I add a bit more sugar. If sweet, I add as little sugar as I can get away with. Directions for sugar adjustment come in Pomona’s Pectin package, so if you have tart blueberries, let the package insert guide your sugar decisions!
- One of the most important parts of jamming is to be organized. Mise en Place before you start and make sure you have a plenty of counter space and kitchen towels!
Ways to Enjoy Your Blueberry Jam
- Slather it on sourdough, gluten free sourdough or yeasted multigrain!
- Swirl it into oatmeal.
- It’s a perfect companion to waffles! Try my banana-pecan oat blender waffles.
- Shake it into a cocktail – like this one, but without fresh blueberries.
- Slather blueberry jam on top of gluten free sourdough pancakes.
- Swirl it into softened vanilla ice cream.
- Stuff it in blueberry lemon curd hand pies.
In Pomona's Pectin Package:
- 1/2 tsp Calcium Powder prepared with water as directed below
- 4 tsp Pectin Powder
For the Jam:
- 1/2 C Fresh Lemon Juice about 3 lemons juiced
- 1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
- 8 C Mashed Blueberries about 5 pints
- Wash 14 8-oz canning jars, including rings and lids, in hot soapy water. Allow to dry. Place lids in a shallow dish and set aside.
- Have ready a large 10-qt pot, 2/3 full of water, 4-qt saucepan, tea kettle filled 1/2 way with water, berry masher, wide mouth funnel, jar lifter, ladle or stainless 1-cup measuring cup, large measuring cup (I like to use a 4-cup), or bowl to mash berries in, large separate bowl to hold the mashed berries, and several kitchen towels.
- Rinse blueberries in a large strainer.
- In Pomona's Pectin package, find the calcium pack. In a lidded 8-oz jar, mix 1/2C water with 1/2 tsp of calcium powder. Mix well. This will last several months (discard if powder discolors or molds). Shake well before using. Set aside. Measure out the sugar and add 4 tsp pectin to the sugar. Mix well. Set aside. Squeeze the lemons and measure out 1/2 C of juice. Set aside.
- Turn the water on to boil in the 10 qt pot and the water in the tea kettle.
- In the large measuring cup (or bowl), mash the blueberries. Do this in 2 C batches, otherwise, it's hard on your hands. Transfer mashed blueberries to a large bowl. Continue mashing in 2 C batches until you've depleted almost all the 5 pints of blueberries. Start measuring out the mashed blueberries and place 8 C total in the 4-qt saucepan. Mash more blueberries if needed.
- Turn the stove on to about medium high under the mashed blueberries. Add 4 tsp calcium water, 1/2 C lemon juice, and granulated sugar mixture. While the blueberries are coming to a boil, move the empty jars close to your canning area. Have your wide mouth funnel standing by.
- Bring blueberry mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and scraping the corners of the pan, making sure no sugar is sticking/clumping in the corners. Boil for about 1 minute. You want all the sugar and pectin dissolved before canning. Remove from heat.
- Pour the boiling water from the tea kettle on top of the lids in the shallow pan, just until they are covered. This softens the seal for a good, strong seal on the jars.
- Place the wide mouth funnel on a jar and carefully begin filling the jars, leaving about 1/4"-1/2" of space at the top of the jar. Fill all the jars, topping off the jars as the residual blueberry mixture allows. Place lids, carefully removing each one from the very hot water, and rings on the jars.
- To process the jars, place them in the 10-qt boiling water in several batches. You'll need at least a few inches of water to cover the jars. If needed, add more water. Process (boil) for 10 minutes.
- Wipe the jars clean and dry after removing them from the boiling water.
- The jar has sealed when you hear a "pop". Test the seal by pressing the center of the lid down. If the lid can still be pressed down, the jar has not sealed. Wait for 24 hours, and if the jar still has not sealed, store in the fridge and use within two weeks.
- Before storing the jars, label the lids with the type of jam and date. Jam will keep for up to a year stored in a cool, dark place.