Monday, June 4, 2012

Blueberry Jam

After we picked blueberries on Saturday, the big girls went home with my mom to spend the night there.  Josh, Secora and I came home and stared at each other.  It's not often both of the big girls are gone at the same time and I imagine we always look a little shell shocked when it happens.  We look at each other, and we look at the baby.  And we look at each other.  And we look at the baby.  And we both wonder how on Earth we ever thought we were tired or stressed when we just had Sierra! 

Case in point, I got up at 8:30 on Sunday morning to find freshly made jam sitting out.  I am not a morning person.  I have never been a morning person and I'm pretty sure I will never be a morning person (though I have made progress from those days when I used to stagger into the lab at 2pm and work until 10...research may not be the highest paying gig out there, but the flexible scheduling rocks).   So my bleary-eyed, non-morning person self stumbled into the kitchen and stared at the jars of jam on the counter.  I was a little confused.  Where in the heck did the jam come from?  I turned around and looked at my husband, who has been known to make big plans to sleep in, then get out of bed refreshed and ready to take on the world at 8am.

"You made jam already?"
"Yup"
[Squinting at the clock.  Checking my watch.  I'm pretty blind, but it sure looks like they both say 8:34] "It's only 8:30 in the morning.  You made a batch of jam already?"
"It needed to be done.  And I was bored"

In all of my 31 years, it has NEVER occurred to me to make jam before 8:30 in the morning.  But then, I've never been bored at 8:30 in the morning either.  I'm quite content to sit and do absolutely nothing other than prevent major injury to my children at that hour. 

But Josh made jam.  He even took pictures for me because he knew I'd want to blog about the jam.  I gotta say he was taking quick pictures in between keeping Secora out of harm's way and I've taken to messing with all the settings on the camera for my bug pictures while he still just picks up the camera and clicks away in whatever mode I left the camera in.  So the pictures aren't the greatest, but you can only ask for so much. 

As I've said before, jam is just about the easiest thing to can.  If you're interested in canning and want to give something a try, start with jam.  Buy some pectin and follow the directions that come with it, and it's hard to go wrong. 

We prefer to use powdered pectin, so first the crushed fruit is stirred together with the pectin until it comes to a full boil
The sugar is added all at once (amounts of fruit and sugar vary based on the type of jam, full directions will be included with the pectin), and the mixture is brought to a boil again.
Once it boils for 1 minute (I explained more about how to tell jam is done in this post), remove from heat, skim the foam off the top, and fill the jars.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for the appropriate time for your altitude and you have shelf stable jam!
One recipe (4 cups of crushed blueberries) made 7 half-pints of jam, which I added to my log of canned goods for 101 in 1001 goal #28 to home can 50 quarts of food (we're up to 37.25 quarts!).

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