Blueberry Jam: What would you add to a standard recipe (low sugar, with lemon as a must-have) to make blueberry jam more interesting? ;o)

Facing a bumper crop of blueberries in my front yard, I'm already making a record number of jars of jam this summer. I've made 30 jars of jam and put up 16 pints of berries in a light syrup with brandy. From the amount I'm picking daily, it looks like I'll be putting up at least that much more, or possibly two times that amount. I'm looking for ideas for variations (spices, citrus peels, types of liquor, etc.) to use for hot packed whole berries in syrup, too. Thank you. ;o)

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mrathmel
mrathmel July 11, 2011

Last summer I made some strawberry jam with chile pepper. I used smokey chilpolte type peppers. The jam was great. I'm planning to try it this year with some blueberries.

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katekirk
katekirk July 11, 2011

Ginger, lemon, orange, cardamom. Since you have SO much to play with, why not try a smoked chile version? Not sure about liquor and its effect on jamming.

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser July 11, 2011

Do you have lemon verbena, lemon balm, or Thai basil? Might infuse a syrup with one of them to use with the whole blueberries.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 9, 2012

Well, one year later, I'm replying again. I was happy to see this question pop up above the fold on the Hotline! I'm looking forward to going the Thai basil route with a few quarts. We're in the home stretch with this year's bounty, but this is definitely on the must-try list. Thanks so much! ;o)

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usuba dashi
usuba dashi July 11, 2011

Secret to blueberry jam . . . pre-sugar the blueberries the day before cooking. . . it breaks down the skin and releases the natural pectin in the berries. You will get a tender jam without added pectin that has just the right texture & set-up. Pectin is highly over rated and used by those who are in a hurry to make jam. The best jams I have ever had do not contain pectin.

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Ruby0731
Ruby0731 August 8, 2012

Usuba--would you please please share your recipe?!!!! Thank you--Ruby

Ruby0731
Ruby0731 August 8, 2012

Usuba--would you please please share your recipe?!!!! Thank you--Ruby

Ruby0731
Ruby0731 August 8, 2012

Usuba--would you please please share your recipe?!!!! Thank you--Ruby

Ruby0731
Ruby0731 August 8, 2012

Usuba--would you please please share your recipe?!!!! Thank you--Ruby

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 9, 2012

I'm looking forward to trying this. I used Rachel Saunders' recipe for "East Coast Blueberry Jam" from her excellent, interesting and extraordinarily beautiful "Blue Chair Jam Cookbook," which does not call for pectin, but had mixed results. Some jars firmed up nicely, others were somewhat soupy (even when the freezer gel test suggested otherwise). So I will definitely give this a go. I'm also making a batch of green apple pectin, using the recipe from MrsWheelbarrow's site, having just received 8 pounds of somewhat underripe Granny Smith and other tart apples from my dear, generous neighbor. Stay tuned!! ;o)

hardlikearmour
hardlikearmour July 11, 2011

I was thinking lavender, but then I remembered your hideous flower allergy! I like nutmeg with fruit, did a nice jam with plums and nutmeg a couple years back that I really liked. I bet pink peppercorn and/or grains of paradise would be good too.

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Georgiee
Georgiee July 11, 2011

Ginger, fresh ginger. Best thing ever

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vvvanessa
vvvanessa July 11, 2011

this is a little off topic, but if you are looking for something to do with all your jam, this is happening on friday:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1877795537

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healthierkitchen
healthierkitchen July 11, 2011

Had a delicious blueberry jam with lime instead of lemon at the Fancy Good Show!

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 9, 2012

Oh, I need to try this! I canned some berries in syrup with ginger last year that we weren't crazy about, so I added some lime juice and then some gin, which turned out to be an excellent idea. But blueberries plus lime, alone, sounds very nice. Not sure about the acidity level of limes, though. Will have to figure that out . . . . perhaps I'll use lemon + lime, cooking it with a couple large pieces of zest to get more lime flavor. Now I'm thinking about syrups for cocktails!! Thanks so much. ;o)

saradav
saradav July 11, 2011

CINNAMON goes beautifully together with Blueberries... and it adds a bit of sweetness, too!

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Fairmount_market
Fairmount_market July 12, 2011

My suggestion is to freeze some blueberries until peaches are in season and then make some blueberry peach jam, my favorite.

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AnnaMowry
AnnaMowry July 12, 2011

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook has a recipe for blueberry-mint jan that I find intriguing. They recommend using peppermint or chocolate mint.

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seabirdskitchen
seabirdskitchen July 12, 2011

I like to add a little finely heated fresh ginger to mine. On the order of 1 tsp to every 2lbs of blueberries. You definitely need the lemon juice too.

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nogaga
nogaga July 12, 2011

Wow! Lucky and busy you! I once made a delicious blueberry jam with reduced port wine and candied orange peel, added at the end. You can also make a wonderful liqueur in the way that vishniak is made with sour cherries: Allow the cleaned berries to macerate in sugar for a day, even allow a slight fermentation to begin, then cover the jar with vodka and wait a month.

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Soozll
Soozll July 12, 2011

I could imagine breaking up just a little bit of almond paste with the sugar (adjusted down) in a food processor and using that to get a hint of other flavor and a little texture into the blueberry jam. Would probably be great in cherry jam, too..

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aargersi
aargersi July 12, 2011

My sisters and I made a blueberry coconut that is awesome - we used coconut water and a little coconut extract. We also made blueberry peach, and I made a blueberry fig ice cream sauce. I love blueberry vanilla jam too ... jealous of your crop!!!

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101coefficient
101coefficient July 12, 2011

Lavender and blueberries are an awesome combo. But what's this I hear about a flower allergy??

I buy organic culinary lavender from Hood River Lavender Farms. It's some of the best I've sampled, with a smooth, delicate aroma. http://lavenderfarms.net/hoodriverlavender/index.html

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames July 12, 2011

Wow, these are all great ideas! Thank you, everyone. Fairmount_market, peaches are in season here now; I've put peaches and blueberries together in cobblers before. Jam sounds fantastic. I have a lot of blueberries with which to work, so I'll be doing quite a bit of experimenting, in 4-jar batches. And vvvanessa, the event you linked sounds right up my alley, so I'll probably go. What great fun! Thanks again. ;o)

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Meatballs&Milkshakes

I love blueberries with vanilla, I would use vanilla bean rather than extract though. I'm also thinking you could do a blueberry version of the brandied cranberry sauce I make at thanksgiving...just add brandy towards the end of the cooking and use lemon instead of orange juice.

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SKK
SKK July 12, 2011

Basil leaves - forgot the word when you tie them up in cheesecloth and let them cook with the berries - the mixture was incredible. And here is a recipe I have been wanting to fiddle with which includes balsamic vinegar and rosemary http://knittingalife.com/2010/08/10/homemade-jam-part-two/

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susan g
susan g July 12, 2011

An unusual sauce: 1 pint simple syrup, 2 oz. gin, pour over frozen dry blueberries. I don't know if the berries have to be frozen, I don't know if it could be canned, but it's different! (from Elsie Masterton)
How many bushes do you have? You must be treating them well to have such a prolific crop.

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Diana B
Diana B August 8, 2012

I second the vote for balsamic vinegar - I used some in a blueberry jam recently (as well as a pluot jam) and it gives the jam a more complex flavor -- really nice.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 9, 2012

Rachel Saunders recommends this, too. I think I'll try it. I really like your suggestion to use it with pluot jam! ;o)

Bevi
Bevi August 9, 2012

My favorite inclusions: plum, basil leaves, lemon verbena, cinnamon, reisling wine, nutmeg, mint. I am dealing with the same bumper crop issue - what a wonderful issue to have!

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 9, 2012

Reisling! That's brilliant. We made an absolutely superb blueberry red wine vinegar with mint at our preserving potluck. You should try that! It only uses a quart of blueberries, but is sensational. ;o)

ChrisBird
ChrisBird August 9, 2012

I use crystallized ginger as well as fresh. Hard to quantify the amount, but it is quite a lot. Add the crystallized with the sugar. And yes, I do make the crystallized ginger myself....

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ChrisBird
ChrisBird August 9, 2012

I use crystallized ginger as well as fresh. Hard to quantify the amount, but it is quite a lot. Add the crystallized with the sugar. And yes, I do make the crystallized ginger myself....

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