berries | black pepper | blueberry | canning | fruit | jars | preserved foods | preserves | quick & easy | recipe | seasonal | traditional with a twist | unique

Black ‘n’ blue preserves.

August 1, 2017

This isn’t your average jam. Well maybe it is. But it isn’t the kind you’ll buy in a supermarket.

Blueberry black pepper preserves.


And speaking of supermarkets, I bought these blueberries for super cheap at the supermarket. They were not only cheap, they were HUGE! And perfect! I hadn’t made any berry jam this summer so I thought I’d get some. I paid so little for almost 2 pounds of blueberries I couldn’t believe it.

This jam is why I started canning. Because I wanted to try and make funky jams and jellies and preserved foods that you don’t find easily. Like hop pickles and stuff.

Blueberry jam is the easiest jam you can make. It requires no added pectin since blueberries are tiny lil pectin bombs all on their own. All you need is lemon juice and sugar. So if you’ve never canned before or never made jam or preserves before, blueberry is a good place to start. Blueberry jam was one of my first forays into canning- that and rhubarb jam, which is similar in that it just kind of cooks itself into a jam.


Blueberries are also excellent little blobs of fruit not just because they’re filled with antioxidants and all kinds of good shit, but because they lend themselves excellently to both sweet and savory recipes. I’ve made blueberry basil jam before, and so I thought maybe black pepper would be a great addition to blueberry preserves. And it is!

I’m calling these preserves because the set is a little looser and I left chunks of berry in there. If you cook it a tad longer and smoosh all the berries, it’d be a jam.


This jam is perfect for topping crackers with goat cheese or ricotta cheese. It’s also excellent on crostini or those little mini toasts (also with cheese). Add a bit of lemon zest on top and it’s perfection. You can serve it with grilled or roasted chicken too; the black pepper adds a savory element.




  • 4 cups fresh blueberries, de-stemmed and washed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients except 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until mostly thickened but still slightly juicy. Turn off heat and add remaining pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Add to jars, wipe rims, and add bands. Process in a waterbath for 10 minutes. Remove and place on a clean tea towel. Check seal after 24 hours, and if any aren’t sealed then refrigerate until ready to use.


Suggestions for use: You can use this as a breakfast-y jam, or a savory dinner jam with grilled or roasted meat. Absolutely beyond amazing with any kind of cheese and either crackers or crostini.
Soundtrack: Quiet.
Sources & credits: Tea towel; IKEA, vintage Fire King measuring cup, all jars; freshpreserving,com.


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