Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spiced Blueberry Honey Jam

I absolutely love this jam! There's nothing like fresh blueberries from the farmer's market, ripe and bursting with flavor. This jam is so indicative of summer, every time I taste it, I can't help but be transported to sunny summer afternoons. It tastes like blueberry pie in a jar, which is never a bad thing. I'm a bit late in posting this recipe, as summer's almost over, but better late than never!

When I developed this jam recipe last year, without using pectin, my first batch was a little over-cooked. It was sort of an unintended blessing, as I got to use it for some scrumptious thumbprint cookies. However, when a jam doesn't set the way you'd intend, it can be a bit discouraging. Which brings to mind a recent post I read by Marisa McClellan, from her blog, Food in Jars. I'm paraphrasing, but she wrote how jam is a lot like life, in that it may not always turn out the way you intend, but you can almost always turn it into something useful and delicious. And it's true, life is messy and so is jam! There are so many factors going into how and why a jam sets, often times it's dictated by the weather or the conditions of the fruit etc. Marisa makes an important point: never apologize for your jam! If it's underset, call it a syrup and use it on pancakes or for glazes, and if it's overset, use it for cookies, or some other delicious filling. It's a nice reminder to go easy on yourself and your jam. Se la vie!

This year, I decided to use Pamona's Pectin to to help maintain that fresh blueberry flavor, and was very pleased with the results. Using pectin doesn't require extended cooking, which breaks down the berries and gives the jam that "cooked" taste. Using Pamona's Pectin also lets you significantly reduce the amount of honey and/or sugar in the jam, allowing the flavor of the berries to really shine through (I've used a combination of honey and sugar in the recipe below, but feel free to exclude the sugar and use all honey if that's your fancy). The spices give it that special old fashioned taste you just can't find in ordinary store-bought jams. The best part is, you can make this fine little jam anytime you please, as frozen blueberries work just as well. 

Adapted from the Pamona's Universal Pectin pamphlet 

2 lb. (6 cups or 3 pints) fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed), picked over, stems removed, and washed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons calcium water (see notes below)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup honey, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons pectin powder (see notes below)
1/2 cup sugar, plus more as needed (optional)

In a large Dutch-oven or heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, calcium water, cinnamon, and allspice. Crush some of the berries using a masher and bring the mixture to a full boil.

Meanwhile, pour the honey into a small measuring cup. Add the pectin powder and stir to combine. Once the fruit is boiling, add the honey and pectin mixture to the pot and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin. Add the sugar (or 1/4 cup more honey) to the pot and stir to combine. Taste to see that the jam is sweet enough, adding more honey or sugar if necessary. Return the jam to a boil and remove from heat.

Ladle the jam into hot, clean jars, leaving a headspace of ¼-inch. Wipe the rims and apply the lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner (for 4 oz. jelly jars or 8 oz. half pint jars). Turn off heat and let jars sit in canner for 3 to 5 minutes before removing. Allow jars to rest on a dishtowel undisturbed for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Check seals, label, and store in a cool dark place for up to a year. If any jars did not seal properly, place them in the fridge and use within 3 weeks. For more information, see my step-by-step guide to canning here.

Yield: 4 1/2 to 5 cups


  • Each box of Pamona's Pectin will include a packet of pectin powder and calcium powder. This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of calcium water and 2 teaspoons of pectin powder. To make the calcium water, combine 1/2 tsp. calcium powder with 1/2 cup of water in a small jar with a lid and shake to combine (refer to Pamona's Pectin pamphlet for more information).
  • There are many types of pectin on the market, in both powdered and liquid forms, such as Sure Jell, Fruit Jell, and Certo, but I'm really fond of Pamona's Pectin. As stated on their website, "Pamona's Pectin is a sugar-free, preservative-free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin that is activated by calcium." Since this pectin doesn't require sugar to jell, you the cook get to decide how much sugar (if any) you'd like to use. In fact, you can use honey, maple syrup, or agave (plus many more sweeteners) in place of sugar if that's your fancy. I've found it to be an extremely versatile product allowing me lots of freedom as a cook. They even have a "Jamline," a jam hotline to call incase you need jamming advise or questions about their product or a particular recipe. 
  • You can find Pamona's Pectin at well-stocked grocery stores such as Whole Foods. You can also purchase it on the world wide web here.

No comments:

Post a Comment