I found my thrill on blueberry hill.

I know, you’re probably like “What the fuck is with all the berries lately!?” Well I’ve been taking a lot of requests, that’s what. Also, berries are in season now so they’re everywhere I go. And being that 4th of July weekend was so hot & humid it was impossible to bake without dying, I opted to make some other treats that didn’t require an oven, just a stove-top, which is far easier to deal with. In the new Real Simple magazine, there’s a recipe for a quick blueberry jam, and since I had such success with the rhubarb-ginger one, I thought I’d give it a go. My canning kit had arrived by this time, but I wanted to make something really easy and not a huge batch of anything- I didn’t really want to be in the kitchen all day. Well that and I was lazy.

My parents are big blueberry people. Not blueberry people like Violet Beauregarde, blueberry people as in they like blueberries. My parents aren’t blue or round or anything. They look normal. They are normal, I mean. Well as normal as they can be, they did create me. My dad is actually the bigger blueberry person, remember when he requested blueberry cupcakes in January when they aren’t in season? I do. I had to buy frozen or pay 6 million dollars for a pint. But both of them do enjoy those little blue orbs that stain everything including your teeth. I did make those blueberry muffins for my mother, after all. So I figured why the hell not make some of this for 4th of July weekend/my mom’s birthday since the blueberries in my fruit market were humongous & absolutely gorgeous (and the raspberries & blackberries were buy one get one free- but that was already talked about!).

That is not a muffin. That is jam.

Speaking of blueberries, I recently, on a bit of a whim, bought a blueberry bush. Vaccinium Corymbosum, or Northern highbush blueberry to be exact, also known as blue huckleberry, tall huckleberry, swamp huckleberry, high blueberry, and swamp blueberry. It was on sale for 50% off and there were only 2 left, so I grabbed one. Of course I’m not expecting a harvest this year, but certainly next year I ought to end up with a few. I bought it more as a novelty than anything else; I think it’s a cool thing to have. If I get some fruit, then awesome, if not… oh well. For $4.50 it’s worth a shot, though it needs a little TLC (some browning leaves, etc). I’m also looking forward to seeing the leaves change to “a brilliant red” in the fall. It’s in a medium sized pot for now, I’m debating whether or not to plant it in a bigger pot or in the ground. I’m leaning towards a larger pot. Let’s see how it fares after this winter.

Just call me “Tall Huckleberry Finn”, a.k.a. the girl who adopts lonely plants…

Alright so basically, this jam was just as easy as the rhubarb-ginger jam, and just as tasty. Super quick & simple… and it lasts up to a month in the fridge! Save your jars, people. Every jar you buy, make sure it’s rinsed & cleaned out thoroughly so it’s odor-free & sparkly and then save ’em. You can make loads of stuff like this to fill them, but they’re also great just for storage; nails, screws, paper clips, beads, nuts & bolts, etc. But you can also use regular Ball jars that you’d use for canning, or buy jars like the one above in a place like Williams-Sonoma (glass, like mine in the picture) or Bed Bath & Beyond (plastic, like this one). My great-grandmother never, ever used a plastic anything. She saved every glass jar and stored her leftover food in them, and even used them as drinking glasses, which is an idea I love. Maybe she was on to something?

I’m pretty sure that with the lemon juice this is safely acidic for canning, but don’t quote me on that. I’m a newbie. Either way, I’m sure it can be made into a canned blueberry jam quite easily, and not with much more hullabaloo. But did you ever have a day where you just didn’t want to make any effort further than the very basic one? Yeah. That was me the (sweltering, blistering, scorchingly hot) day I made this. Like I said, lazy. And very hot & sweaty.

EASY BLUEBERRY JAM

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups blueberries (about 2 ½ pints)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and using a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash blueberries until they release their juices.
  2. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 18-25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, transfer to containers, and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

This recipe can also be made with frozen blueberries instead of fresh; just buy two 10-ounce bags and cook them for 2-3 minutes before mashing, then reduce the total cooking time to 15-17 minutes.  I will say this about the cooking though… be ye ever so careful of the splatters. Don’t wear a white apron or a white t-shirt while making it. But other than that, it’s so easy, really a trained monkey could do it. So do it.

Here’s a dollop of it on some of that French vanilla ice cream I made. You could even mix it into vanilla ice cream while it’s in the ice cream maker to make a blueberry-vanilla ice cream.

Seriously, go try it. I’ve heard it’s insanely good for a 5 minute recipe. You can have it on ice cream, an English muffin, spread it on a delicious scone or piece of bread and sing this song with Fats Domino…

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