Late summer and early fall brings fresh berries and fruits. Its my favourite time of year to make homemade jam. I bought a bunch of fresh blueberries and some apples from the farmers market to make this jam.
Use a variety of apples to give a more diverse apple flavour. I used a granny smith, fuji, pink lady and a gala.
Prepare the pot by adding water and boiling it. I bought a fancy jam jar lifter and a jam funnel. Make sure to sterilize everything that would be in contact with the jam. This includes the ladle and the tray you place the ladle on! This helps prevents any unwanted bacteria or mold growth.
To speed up the chopping process, I put all the apples in a chopper. The finer you chop the apples, the more of a smooth jam you get. It is also faster to cook the apples this way. I also kept the skins on the apples but you can remove them if you want. You should have about 3 cups of chopped apples. This should be about 4-5 medium apples.
While prepping the apples, boil the lids and jars (check my previous posts on how to make jam for exact times). I like to boil and then place the jars and lids in the oven so they are prepped and ready for canning.
Add the chopped apples to a heavy pot. I love using my Le Creuset cast iron pot because of the even cooking. Add the 1/4 cup lemon juice to the pot to help cook the apples. Adding it at this time will help prevent the apples from browning too much. (You don’t want brown jam! YUCK!).
Measure out the sugar and add part of it to the blueberries (I used more blueberries than the recipe asked for so I could get a really strong blueberry taste). I also used about 4 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 5 cups because it makes it too sweet. Be careful with reducing the amount of sugar because this causes the jam to have a shorter shelf life.
(I read the recipe too quickly so I didn’t crush the blueberries before adding it to the pot. Oops!)
Crushing the blueberries helps it cook and create that lovely reddish purple colour. At this stage, the jam doesn’t really look like jam. Adding the sugar will help create the nice glossy shine you want.
Cook until the sugar has melted into the fruit. This should be about 10-15 minutes. If you like chunky jam, you can leave the jam as it is or use an immersion blender to create a smoother version.
Cook the jam for another couple minutes and add the pectin. Apples and blueberries have natural pectin so you won’t need to add any if you cook it long enough but for quick jams, add a package of pectin. This will help the jam solidify and become thick when it cools.
When the jam is ready, you can begin canning!! This is my favourite part! Have the jars and lids on a tray to prevent messy spills. A jam funnel also prevents dripping jam all over the edge.
Fill the jars until you almost reach the top. You a want to leave a bit of space to create a vacuum which helps to seal the lid to jar.
Place the lids and loosely twist it on. To make the jams have a longer shelf life, add them back into a hot water bath. The loose lid will allow more air to escape and create a proper seal. (This step can be omitted if you plan to use the jam right away).
Take the jars out of the water. My favourite part of canning is hearing the lids pop as they cool!! Its amazing what a vacuum you can create this way. Cool the jam on the counter top and make sure not to disturb them. You want the jam to set properly.
The great thing with canning is that you can store the jam for a long time and have jam for the rest of winter!
I used this same recipe to make my wedding favours. I found some small 1.5 ounce jars at a wholesaler in Richmond, BC. Instead of the typical lids you find with Bernadin jars, this one had lug caps. I’ve never used them before but I used the same technique and they seemed to work just fine. You still need to boil them for the same time as you would with the larger jars to sterilize them properly. Add a custom tag to make them special. This can be used for any party favours not just weddings and will definitely be a hit at any party!
MEASURE prepared fruit into a large saucepan. Add lemon juice and sugar, mix well.
BRING to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in liquid pectin. Continue stirring 5 minutes, skimming foam.
POUR quickly into warm, sterilized jars filling up to 1/4- inch from rim.
SEAL while hot with sterilized 2-piece lids with new centres.
Check out other recipes on our blog https://eatitnoworeatitlater.com/recipe-list/