Photo: Sara Remington, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders
This excellent jam brings back memories of blueberry picking in the woods with my father, a ritual that was invariably followed by one of my mother's truly stellar blueberry pies. This recipe uses small, intensely flavored berries, such as the domestic Rancocas, or the wild ones found growing throughout the East. Blueberry jam makes an especially lively filing for linzer cookies.
2 1/2 pounds small blueberries
1 pound 14 oz sugar
6 oz lemon juice
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
Several drops of vanilla extract
Place a saucer with five metal spoons in your freezer for testing the jam later.
Combine all ingredients in an 11 or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle. Cook on medium high-heat, stirring constantly, until the juice begins to run from the berries. When the juice starts flowing freely, stop stirring and let the mixture cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then stir well and increase heat to high. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Once it reaches a boil, cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring frequently, and decreasing the heat slightly if the jam starts to stick. Start testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
To test for doneness, transfer a half-spoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons. Replace the spoon in the freezer and for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove spoon from freezer and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold. If still warm, return it to the freezer for a moment. Tilt the spoon vertically to see whether or not the jam runs. If it does not, the jam is ready. If it does run, continue to cook the jam for another few minutes, testing again as needed.
When the jam is ready, turn off heat but do not stir. Using a stainless steel spoon, skim foam from the surface of the jam. Pour into sterilized jars and process according to manufacturer's instructions or as directed in this book.
Yield: Five to six 8-ounce jars
Shelf Life: 1 year. After opening, store in the refrigerator
Blueberry Jam with Balsamic
This is a subtle jam in the tradition of blueberry jams of the past, which often contained vinegar in place of lemon juice. Unlike these jams, which were often highly spiced, this version puts the fruit front and center. Substitute 1 ounce of aged balsamic vinegar for 1 ounce of the lemon juice, and follow the recipe as directed.