Berries, berries everywhere! What’s a girl to do?
During the summer when berries and stone fruits are in season, it’s really hard for me not to buy cases and cases of them. However, once I get home and unload all my purchases, the abundance of fruits does become overwhelming. When this happens, there is one solution. Jam!
There are several ways to preserve fruits– freezing, dehydrating/drying, pickling and my favorite, canning. I love canning but sometimes, it can be time-consuming and laborious. Not to mention, canning can definitely heat up a small kitchen like mine.
For moments when I’m in a pinch, I prefer to make easy refrigerator jam. Unlike traditional canning that can preserve foods for up to a year or so, refrigerator jam has a short shelf life of about a week or two in the fridge.
This recipe is for a small batch of jam. You can easily double or triple depending on how much extra fruit you have. Blueberry jam is one of my favorites to make because there is very little prep. No need to peel or cut fruit or remove any seeds. You merely put the whole blueberries in a large pot with sugar, a little lime juice and a sprinkle of lime zest. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it go until the mixture thickens and the blueberries breakdown.
Eventually the mixture will thicken and look like jam. I like to use a frozen spoon to test whether the jam is ready. Dip the frozen spoon into the hot jam. When the jam is ready, you should be able to draw a line like the 2nd picture in the progression. And more importantly, when you take a scoop of the jam, it should fall from the spoon slowly and in a large chunk.
This quick refrigerator jam doesn’t need to be sealed and boiled like traditional canning. Simply transfer the jam into clean glass containers and let it cool to room temperature uncovered. Once the jam has cooled, cover the container and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Although in my house, a jar of this stuff rarely lasts three days.
I don’t see blueberry jams sold often in markets, maybe that’s why I love this recipe so much. I also really like using lime and lime zest in fruit recipes a lot more than the usual lemons. I think the limes help brighten the jam and bring out the sweetness of the blueberries.
There are many uses for this super simple and delicious summer staple– mix the jam with yogurt and some granola for a nice parfait, spread it on some toast for a sweet breakfast, use it for a special peanut butter and jelly sammie, or bake it into a pie.
Blueberry Refrigerator Jam
There are many uses for this super simple and delicious summer staple-- mix the jam with yogurt and some granola for a nice parfait, spread it on some toast for a sweet breakfast, use it for a special peanut butter and jelly sammie, or bake it into a pie.
Yield: makes about 1 1/2 cups jam
- 1 pound fresh blueberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- Combine blueberries, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium saucepot. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Once mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium.
- Place a couple metal spoons in the freezer while you cook the jam. Let the jam cook for 15-25 minutes until the blueberries have broken down and the mixture has thickened.
- To test for doneness, dip frozen spoon into hot jam mixture. The jam should fall off the spoon slowly in one thickened mass. If it does not, continue to heat the jam for another 5 minutes before testing again.
- Transfer cooked jam into glass jars with tight fitting lids. Let the jam cool uncovered to room temperature. Then cover and keep jam in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
adapted from America's Test Kitchen: D.I.Y. Cookbook