Southern Saturday: Making Blueberry Jam With No Pectin

Posted on August 7, 2010

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A few weeks back Publix had a huge At Season’s Peak sale which I coupled with a coupon that resulted in LOTS of free blueberries for us to enjoy.  For two weeks straight we enjoyed all things blueberry including blueberry muffins, blueberry smoothies, blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup.

Blueberry jam was next on my, “What shall I make with all these blueberries?” list.  For some time I had wanted to try making an old-fashioned, all-natural jam with no added pectin.   I found a great reference on My Sister’s Kitchen and went to one of my favorite pick-your-own fruit directory sites, to make sure I was canning properly.

The jam turned out delicious and very sweet.  It definitely was not as “jelly” without the pectin, but once in the refrigerator overnight, it firmed up enough to not run off our hot biscuits the next morning.

Another tip is to use a food processor to crush your berries.  I have an old-fashioned masher that I got all nostalgic about using as I thought back to the days when my grandmother would can.  But with 10 cups of berries (which mashed down to about 6.5 cups), I quickly saw I would be there all day without the modern convenience of the pulse button on my processor.

After cooking the jam, I used a candy thermometer to check the temperature for doneness.  If you do not own a candy thermometer, your jam should be just fine after cooking for 45 minutes or just a bit longer. Mine was at the proper temperature of 220˚ right at the 45 minute mark.  And just to be sure, I did the refrigerator test too (see recipe below), to make sure it gelled.

Ten cups of berries gave us 9 half-pint jars of jam.  It worked out well that a friend of ours was canning peach jam at the same time, so of course, we got to trade!

Blueberry Jam With No Pectin:

Crush berries in food processor and transfer to large stock pot.  Mix in equal amount of sugar as berries.  My 10 cups of berries turned into about 6.5 cups, so I used 6.5 cups of sugar.

Cook the berries and sugar for approximately 45 minutes or until temperature reaches 220˚ (see my notes above), stirring frequently.  You will want to cook it at a temperature that keeps it hot and bubbly, but not too hot that it will burn.  You will begin to see the edges of the mixture begin to thicken as it cooks.

After 45 minutes and/or the jam is at the correct temperature, test that the jam has gelled.  To do this, fill half of a chilled metal spoon with the jam mixture.  Let the spoon come to room temperature and see if it has reached your desired consistency.