Fresh Blueberry Jam

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Our favorite farm market (Blooms ‘n Berries in Loveland – near Cincinnati) has U-pick for blueberries this summer for the first time.  My daughter hurried down to pick about 2 quarts of the most flavorful blueberries I’ve ever tasted.  My 9-year-old granddaughter ate about a quart of berries out of hand, but I still had enough to make this beautiful dark jam.  The recipe makes 9 cups of jam and I used an assortment of pint and half-pint jars (the half-pint jars destined to be gifts to some special people).

FRESH BLUEBERRY JAM

  • 4 pts. blueberries (4-1/2 cups of crushed berries)
  • 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 pouches CERTO liquid pectin

Makes 9 cups of jam 

Before beginning to cook the jam, do the following:

  1. Have pint and/or half-pint jars washed and sterilized.
  2. Bring a boiling water canner, half-full with water, to simmer.
  3. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat.
  4. Measure lemon juice into small container.
  5. Measure sugar into large bowl
  6. Cut tops off pouches of pectin and set in a bowl.  Keep this near the stove.

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Place the berries in a large bowl and crush with a potato masher.
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I like to leave about half of the berries whole.

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Measure 4-½ cups of the prepared berries into a large heavy-bottom pot.  Stir in lemon juice and sugar.

On high heat, stirring constantly, cook the berry mixture to a full rolling boil (bubbles completely covering the pan that do not stop bubbling when stirred).  Keeping the pot on the heat, stir in the pectin from the two pouches.

Once again, bring to a full rolling boil, cook for exactly one minute longer.  Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.

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Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids.  Screw bands tightly.

Place jars on rack in canner.  Turn up heat to medium and start timing after water begins to boil.  Process for 10 minutes.  Remove jars and place on a rack to cool.  After jars are cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger.  (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)  Let jars stand for 24 hours.  Processed, unopened jars can be stored for one year.

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See this web site for good information on home canning.

Kelli’s Strawberry Jam and Watermelon Jelly

Kelli at The Domestically Impaired Guide to the Retro Kitchen Arts has some great recipes, including two that I recently tried.  Her Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper Jam has become our favorite and I just made a second batch.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to use dark balsamic vinegar and reduce the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.   The balsamic vinegar gives this jam a deep, rich flavor.

Her Watermelon, Mango and Black Pepper Jelly is completely different from anything I’ve tried.  This calls for Mango Rum which I had never tasted but was able to find in my local wine shop.  Here again, I reduced the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon because I wanted to use it as a spread for toast, biscuits, etc.  In each case, I used freshly grated pepper and there is no taste of it at all – it just enhances the natural flavor of the jam and jelly.

I had to sample some of each on a toasted homemade roll for my breakfast this morning.

Simply delicious!

On Kelli’s blog, note that she has some canning recipe books for sale to use on the Kindle.  If you don’t have a Kindle (or have a Nook like I do), the book can be read on your computer.

Good Blackberry Jam


Back in the 1980s and 90s when my husband, daughter and I lived in rural Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border, we had all of the wild blackberries we could use.  I loved to pick them, thorns and all, and I loved the sharp flavor of the berries.  Now, I pick up thornless, huge, beautiful blackberries at the farmer’s market and I don’t think they have the exceptional taste of the wild ones, but they’re very good and they make a good jam – without having to fight the thorns.

This recipe is from a flyer inside a Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin package that goes back to my country-life days.

GOOD BLACKBERRY JAM

  • Servings: 7 half-pints
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  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch of Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Have 7 half-pint jars, lids and caps sterilized   Let lids stand in hot water until ready to use.

Crush blackberries lightly with a potato masher.

Pour berries into a large 6 or 8-cup pot.

Measure the sugar into a large bowl.   Be careful to measure level cups of sugar.

Cut open the top of the pectin pouch and have it standing in a cup near the stove.

Mix the sugar with the crushed berries and place on high heat, stirring constantly.  Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down).

When mixture is at a full, rolling boil, add the liquid pectin and continue to stir for exactly one minute.  Remove pan from heat and skim off any foam from the surface.

Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/8 inch head space.

Wipe off edges of jars and apply lids and caps.

Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Begin timing when water has returned to a boil after inserting the jars.  Remove jars to a rack to cool.  Press on lids to be sure they have sealed.

See this web site for good information on home canning.

Yield:  7 cups (half-pint jars)

Jam may take up to two days to set properly.  Refrigerate any open jars.

Missouri Peach Preserves


My son and his family live in a suburb of St. Louis.  A Christmas gift they sent me one year was a copy of their church’s cookbook which contained a recipe for peach preserves.  This is my adaptation which I named Missouri Peach Preserves in honor of its city of origin.

MISSOURI PEACH PRESERVES

  • Servings: 3 half-pint jars
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  • 4 cups fresh peaches *
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract

*I used 6 medium size freestone peaches

Measure sugar into a bowl and lemon juice into a cup and have on the stove, ready to use.

For easy peeling of peaches, immerse peaches in a pan of simmering water for about 30 seconds, drain, and peel will slide off easily.  Remove pits, slice peaches and place in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Over medium heat, cook peaches, stirring occasionally, until they start to bubble.

Add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

Bring mixture to a full boil and then cook at medium heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.  Peaches should be soft but not gummy and syrup should be starting to thicken.  Stir in almond extract.

Pour into a crock or heavy bowl (not metal) and let stand overnight.

The next morning, reheat the preserves to boiling.  Remove from heat and immediately pour into sterilized canning jars**.

Seal with lids/caps and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, counting after the water has started to boil again.  For a small number of jars, I like to use an asparagus steamer for processing.

Carefully remove the processed jars to a wire rack to cool.

From this batch, I got three half-pint jars and a half-cup bowl which was not processed and will be sampled first.

Note:  After sampling, I can report that the preserves turned out very well.  The consistency for spreading on hot toast or biscuits is just right straight from the refrigerator.

**Click here for a good website on canning and preserving food.

Blue Ribbon Zucchini Marmalade

For 20 years, we lived in a rural area where my husband delighted in tending a huge vegetable garden.  He liked to grow zucchini because he got such great results.  Prior to moving to the country, I had cooked zucchini once when I was in my 30s because a kind Italian neighbor lady had given me some and raved about how good it was.  I wish I could have told her how much experience I got later in life with her favorite vegetable.

Trying to keep up with the zucchini my husband brought into the kitchen daily, I fixed it every conceivable way.  My sister-in-law from Somerset, Kentucky, gave me this recipe for using SIX CUPS of the stuff, so I made several batches.

MOCK ZUCCHINI MARMALADE

  • Servings: 8 half-pint jars
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  • 6 cups peeled, seeded, chopped zucchini
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 oz. package Jello (I used banana-strawberry)

Combine zucchini, sugar and lemon juice in large pan.  Bring to boil and let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 15 minutes of boiling time, add the drained pineapple, bring to a boil and boil for 6 more minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in Jello.  Place in sterilized half-pint jars, cap and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Let cool on a rack before storing.

Makes eight half-pint jars.

This is a good web site for information on canning and preserving foods.

We all enoyed the “marmalade” and I decided to enter it in the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair in 1984.  I was thrilled and surprised when it won not only the Blue Ribbon, but the Best of Show Rosette. 

Plum Nutty Jam

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I first made this jam in 1983 when we had lots of fruit trees and berry patches, and had baskets of fruit and berries all over the kitchen .  I used to process 15 to 20 jars of jam at a time.  Now that I’m in a small suburban house with no fruit trees on the property and no one around to eat that much jam, I buy a small amount of fruit at the market and make a couple of jars to keep in the refrigerator.  This is really good on toast, biscuits, scones …. you name it.

The addition of walnuts was the idea of my boss’ wife back in 1983 and I loved the crunch of the nuts along with the tart fruit.

PLUM NUTTY JAM

  • Servings: 4 cups of jam
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4 cups unpeeled, diced purple plums (about 6 medium plums)

1/4 cup water

4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 box powdered Sure Jell pectin

1/4 cup chopped toasted English walnuts

If processing for storage, thoroughly wash and scald jars – keep hot until needed.  Makes about 4 cups of jam.

In a large heavy kettle combine the plums and water.  Cover & simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir pectin into fruit mixture.  Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in the sugar.  Bring to a full rolling boil; boil 1-1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, skim off foam.  Stir in walnuts.  Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

If the jam is going to be used within a month or so, omit the hot water bath and store in the refrigerator.

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