I have to tell you. Last Friday was epic for two reasons:
1. My online course, 30-Minute Baking, SOLD OUT!
2. I made a jar of this vanilla blueberry jam, and it was almost as exciting as the whole sold-out thing. It tasted amazing with lemon scones I made on Saturday morning. I should probably get around to sharing the scone recipe with you because my friend Jon said they were the best scones he’s ever tasted.
Remember when your grandma would make jam every summer? It was THE BEST! Do you also remember how she made like nine thousand jars of it? And then there were the dilly beans… BTW I’m creating a new website called Dilly Beans Like A Champ.
Okay, people. Let me show you how to make one jar of jam and not nine thousand. Stop it. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t get freaked out already. This kind of jam-making is not intense or scary or time consuming.
– no fancy canning equipment
– no boiling water baths
– no sanitizing of jars
– no need to buy pounds of produce
– no store-bought pectin
– no candy thermometer
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method. There are honestly no special ingredients or equipment. When you make a small batch of jam, there’s less volume of fruit in the pan which enables it to cook down much quicker. This is why we don’t need to buy pectin. We won’t be able to achieve a really thick, jelly-like consistency without pectin, but personally I’m fine with that.
You don’t even need to be an experienced cook or baker to do this. I make my own jam all the time, and it makes breakfast so much more special.
If you’ve never made it before, read my method below, make a jar for yourself, and write me back to tell me what you made. I’ll hold your hand… it’s really not that bad!
The recipe is basically: fruit + sugar + lemon juice + optional flavoring
The amount of sugar really depends on how sweet your fruit is, so just taste it as it cooks. If you want to add more sugar, feel free to do so. Fruit has naturally occurring pectin (which is a thickening agent), and when it’s mixed with sugar, that’s what causes the mixture to become more of a jam consistency. If you don’t have enough sugar, it will turn out more like a compote (runnier), which is totally fine, but not very spreadable.
My method is as follows:
1. Dump a cup or two of fresh or frozen fruit in a small saucepan with a squeeze of lemon juice and a few tablespoons of sugar. Add optional flavoring at this point as well (usually no more than a teaspoon, but just taste it and see).
2. Turn the burner on medium high and stir all of the ingredients together.
3. Boil until the mixture thickens to your liking. This usually takes me about 15-20 minutes. Remember it will firm up a bit in the fridge too.
4. Pour into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Let it cool on the counter a bit before putting it in the fridge.
5. Keep your jam refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
My two favorite jam flavors are vanilla blueberry and strawberry balsamic. Either of those would be great to start. Once you get the hang of it, you can start playing around with different combinations. I’ve put together a chart with flavor pairing suggestions, below. This is probably obvious, but don’t mix all of them in one jam!
Another reason why I like to make small-batch jam is so I can enjoy a different flavor of it nearly every week. So, go buy some fruit and try it out! Write back in the comments and let me know how it went.