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Canning as a way of preserving has become second nature to me. When you do something with enough repetition, it seems to happen without much thought.
It feels like I grew up in the kitchen, and during the summer months, Grandma and Mom were always preserving something. I would sit at the table and cut up beans, peel peaches, or shell peas. The whole time, I was watching and listening to Grandma and soon enough, I too knew what to do.
If canning is a new venture, jam-making is the best way to start. It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require a large batch to make it worth the effort!
How do you make jam?
There are three main types of fruit jams: butter, jelly, and preserves.
- Butter is fruit cooked with sugar, then passed through a food mill for a thick, smooth spread.
- Jelly is fruit juice cooked with sugar and boiled until thick.
- Preserves is fruit cooked with sugar, but most of the fruit is left in pieces This way, the resulting jam has texture and real pieces of fruit to spread.
I prefer to make preserves because of how easy it is. Plus, I like to see the pieces of fruit I’m enjoying!
Why do you water bath jam?
I preserve all of my jams by canning them in a water bath. After cooking the jam to the desired thickness, I fill sterilized jars with the jam and top the jars with lids and rings.
Before our grandmas had the USDA to check all the canning recipes, the heat from the cooked jam would seal the lid without a water bath.
Nowadays, we know that a quick water bath is best for safety reasons. During the water bath, any excess air leaves the jar, creating an airtight seal, trapping out any bacteria. This makes the jars of jam shelf-stable for at least a year!
Watch how to make this blueberry jam
How to Can Blueberry Jam
- 3 ¾ lbs blueberries
- 2 ¾ cups sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Before beginning, make sure to have all of the water bath equipment ready, as well as the sterilized jars, lids, and rings.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed kettle or Dutch oven, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, continue to boil until a rolling boil is achieved, 8-12 minutes. A rolling boil means that as the mixture is stirred, it continues to boil.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a sieve fitted over a bowl. Drain the blueberries from the juice and set the blueberries aside. Pour the juice back into the kettle, place it back on the stove, and bring it back to a boil.
- Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 221°F. This can take more time than one would think as the mixture must cook off excess water in order for the temperature to increase. Once the mixture reaches the correct temperature, add the blueberries back in. Bring to a boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove the jam from the heat and pour into prepared jars, leaving ¼-inch of headspace. Wipe off the jar rims with a clean cloth and fit with lids and rings tightened to fingertip strength. Boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and cool on a rack for 12-24 hours before removing rings and storing.