Truth be told, I never made homemade jam before.
But, the blueberries in the markets look so amazing right now. I mean, blueberries and July go hand-in-hand. I had bought mounds of them last time I went shopping and I needed to do something with them. Jam, I thought!
As I searched for recipes, I was aghast at the actual amounts of sugar required in most of them. 5 cups, 7 cups, even 10 cups of sugar per recipe! I was not ok with this, even for jam.
Once I dove a little deeper, I realized that many recipes rely on sugar to react with fruit acids and pectin which ultimately creates that gel-like consistency. I started to get a little worried that maybe jam-making was not for me. After all, food science lab was definitely not my forte in college.
I decided to give it a go anyway. But, without giant buckets of sugar, thermometers, pectins, complicated acid ratios or anything like that. Just blueberries, lemons and a touch (2 tablespoons to be exact) of maple syrup! I thought…let’s see what happens.
After about 20 minutes of simmering, I wasn’t getting anywhere in terms of the desired jam-like consistency.
Yikes! Flashback to food science lab again!
So I thought…maybe it just needs more time.
And time (and patience) is what it took.
55 minutes later the magic happened.
I did the infamous cold spoon test and it worked.
*(If you’re not familiar with this trick, you place a metal spoon in the freezer until it’s very cold and once you think the jam might be done you test it by dipping the spoon into the mixture. If you can run your finger through the middle of the spoon without the mixture running back together again, congrats…you’ve created jam!)
I was pleasantly surprised. I achieved the desired result, without the use of all that sugar. And the blueberry-lemon combo was fantastic!
It’s perfect for drizzling over:
- Ice Cream
Or for adding to:
- Overnight Oats
- PB&J sandwiches
- Baked Brie
- Savory grilled cheese sandwiches (oh my!)
- Muffins or Scones
If you’re looking for an uncomplicated, naturally sweet jam, that is still just as tasty and delicious, this recipe is for you!
- 4 cups blueberries (washed and any stems picked off)
- zest and juice from one small lemon
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- On medium high heat, begin to mash (I used a potato masher) until most but not all of the blueberries are broken up.
- Bring to a boil.
- Simmer for about 50-55 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent burning.
- Test with cold spoon (see above)*
- Let cool and transfer to a jar with lid.