From last week’s picking adventure at the Nesbit Blueberry Plantation, we set aside some of the first gallon for preserves. Blueberry has been my husband’s favorite jam (so far), so I knew I needed some set aside for just that. I’ve made plain blueberry jam and blueberry lavender. This time, I wanted to try the Blueberry Basil Preserves recipe that I found on laoo.
I ended up using this recipe as inspiration, and followed the guidelines (loosely) on the pectin jar that I already had (classic, not low-sugar/no sugar as the recipe suggests). I also reduced my amounts from the original recipe, because there were only 7 cups of blueberries remaining (from the unfrozen bag). With that as framework, please understand that I maneuvered typical Adrienne-style and winged it.
Because I was short on time, maceration of the berries with the other ingredients became my friend. In the A.M., I crushed the berries with the potato masher, added lemon zest, lemon juice, finely chopped basil (1/3 cup, maybe), pectin & sugar mixed. I used less sugar than the jar called for (about 3 cups). And less pectin, too (3 tbsp). I just figured that I could add more if it didn’t set. With the addition of the lemon zest and the fact that blueberries are high in pectin naturally, I just thought I might skate by with less sugar to fruit.
The macerating mixture melded together throughout the day. When I returned home at night, I turned on the heat for my jars (had already set them in the water on the stove, covered). Then, I put a saucer in the freezer. Next, I pulled the jam mixture out of the fridge and set it to heat. At about room temp, I tasted it, disappointed that it was too sweet despite my reductions. So, I added in another half a lemon’s worth of juice and full lemon’s worth of zest.
I let it boil violently for about 5 minutes, then tested it on the cold plate. Worked just fine. And tasted so good that it was licked. off. the. plate. No, I will not disclose who did this.
See how the jam is just sitting there? When just out of the fridge, this stuff is gelled like jelly. It’s definitely a firm set – even using less sugar & pectin than recommended. That goes to show you that the blueberries (+ lemon zest) can do pretty well even with some benign neglect. Once this stuff has a chance to warm up closer to room temp, I imagine it will spread more easily. Either way – we like the way it tastes…right off the plate and on toasted, homemade sourdough. 😉