~ Blueberry Jam: The End of Our Blueberries 2012 ~
All good things come to and end, and, now, it is the end of blueberry season. Forgive me if I am not teary-eyed. This has been a banner year for blueberries in our backyard, and, if you've been following Kitchen Encounters for the past week, you know I have saturated my blog with some scrumptious blueberry posts. I've made blueberry buckle, blueberry pie, blueberry salad, and today, I'm calling it quits. Why? Well, when your family starts walking past blueberry desserts instead of eating them, it's time to quit posting and get out the jam pot.
If you make a lot of jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades or chutney and conserve, you might want to consider a maslin pot. This 10 1/2-quart pot is ideal for long, slow methods of food preparation. It has a heavy bottom and wide, sloping sides which reduce the possibility of scorching and promotes evaporation. Its heavy loop handle makes transporting a large quantity of hot food easy and safe. This pot is fantastic for jams, soups, stews, chili, etc. (about $190.00).
Blueberries are a pretty straighforward and self-explanatory fruit. That being said, depending upon who picked them or where you bought them, there are always a few that have stems in them and a few that are over-ripe or mushy. Quickly sift through your berries, removing and discarding any stems, as well as throwing away any shriveled or mushy berries.
6 cups sugar
4 tablespoons blueberry schnapps
1 lemon, cut in half
2 packets liquid pectin
2 tablespoons salted butter
A bit about pectin: It's a water-soluable, gelatinlike subtance (usually made from apples) used for thickening fruits that don't contain enough to thicken themselves.
~ Step 1. Place the blueberries in a large bowl. Using your hands (I'm wearing a vinyl glove), squeeze the berries, until they are smashed into coarse bits and pieces. Note: Alternative methods are to use a vegetable masher or a food processor. I have tried both and take it from me, using your hands is the easiest, quickest and best way to get the proper chunky uniform consistency without pulverizing or over-processing them!
~ Step 5. Add butter. Squeeze lemon juice into pan and add rinds. Over medium-high heat bring to a vigorous simmer, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat to a rapid, steady simmer and cook fo 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
... or until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, is reduced slightly and leaving a tell-tale sugar ring around the sides of the pot.
~ Step 7. Turn the heat off and allow to rest, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, prior to portioning, cooling completely and refrigerating or freezing!
Special Equipment List: vinyl gloves (optional); 10-quart jam pot or 8-12-quart wide-bottomed stockpot; large spoon; ladle; freezer safe food storage containers
Cook's Note: We have a cherry tree in our backyard, and, at the end of June, I was bombarded by them too. To read my recipe for ~ 'Tis True: Sour Cherries Do Make the Best Jam ~, click into Categories 8, 9 or 22!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)