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MarkIsCooking

The "Modern" jam topic

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Hello all-

So here's the story. My family and I went blueberry picking yesterday near Mt. Monadnock in SW New Hampshire. Amazing views and blueberry bushes just dripping with gorgeous fruit. Seems to me there are some eGullitiers with some awesome ideas for updating the traditional approach to jams/jellies etc. Here's what I did and a few questions.

I wanted to create a "purist" blueberry jam. Just fruit and sugar and less sweet than traditional jam Fished around in the Internet and tried this. Just 2 ingredients: blueberries and sugar at a 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar (many recipes call for 1:1). I now know I could have gone even less on the sugar to really bring the true blueberry flavor more to the forefront. I elected to omit the pectin, which most recipes call for. I followed the canning directions on the bottom of the 1/2 pint Mason jars.

My recipe was:

12 cups freshly picked blueberries

6 cups sugar (I might try 4 next time)

Sugar into large sauce pot/stock pot

When the sugar melts, add all fruit and stir

Continue cooking fruit, regularly stirring, for 20-30 minutes, until it reaches about 200 degrees

Using a canning funnel, fill (not to the top) super clean jars and apply rim/cap, just until on - do not over tighten

Filled jars into simmering water, with at least 1 inch water over top of jars

Bring to boil

Set aside for 5 min.

Remove carefully jars from water and allow to cool for several hours.

Once cool, push on each lid. They should have no give or pop when you push on the top.

How would you change what I did? Other great ideas for abundant blueberries? Blueberry jalapeño jam anyone???


Edited by MarkIsCooking (log)

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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Two thoughts come immediately to mind: first, cooking the fruit for 20-30 minutes is going to mute the flavours; you want to bring it up to temp as quickly as possible (without scorching) to keep the maximum flavour. Second, you want a "modern" approach, "updating the very old art of preserves," why would you omit the pectin? Pectin is a great tool for controlling the final texture of your jam.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Lavender goes pretty well with blueberries. Blackberries too, if your seasons overlap at all.

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I've done blueberry lavender jam before, came out great. Just be careful not to go overboard on the lavender or you'll end up with something that tastes more like bubble bath. If you're not looking to make huge quantities and are planning on using the jam up within a couple of weeks, you could try doing some in the microwave. I did that with the apricots I had left over after making my regular jam recipe. Just cut up with half sugar to amt of fruit, juice of half a lemon, and microwave until it comes up to 220 degrees or so. It took about 10 min and I stopped it twice to stir. I put it in a really clean jam jar and let it set in the fridge. I didn't do the water bath, I kept it in the fridge and it was gone within a week or so. With blueberries you definitely could reduce the sugar to 1/4 the amt of fruit and it would work fine. Good Luck!


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Last winter, I was "gifted" with two cases of Seville oranges. Not knowing what to do, I ended up making marmalade with them, put them up in 250 ml jars, and stuck them on a shelf in my store.

They sold, all of them, within two weeks.....

I now do a batch of 72 jars every few months, and am dabbling with strawberry jam and blueberry jam.

Vancouver area has earned a reputaion for blueberries, and I can can pick up b'berries for CDN $1.90 per lb from many growers.

I like to put in 1/5 of the b'berrywight of 3 time blanched lemon peel in the jam.

I'm now working on a mincemeat to put up in to jars for the upcoming Christmas season.

Maybe I do cheat a bit, I have a 15 qt electric steam kettle in my kitchen. Not very powerfull, but no hot spots and no scorching, it's perfect for small batches of jams......

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I made freezer blueberry jam this summer. I followed the directions on the pectin box, however instead of lemon juice I used cranberry and at the very end before it sets up I added more blueberries (I wanted to have big whole blueberries). Adding in the whole blueberries at the end decreased the sugary sweetness and amped up the overall blueberry-ness. I also added cardamom which was wonderful with the blueberries. I think nutmeg might be good, too.

This summer I have also made raspberry jam with vanilla and lemon zest- very nice, plum jelly- amazing, spiced plum jelly- not a big hit. Maine has peaches in season now. I'm going to do peach and ginger jam and perhaps a peach almond if I can figure out a good way to do it.

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Peach almond sounds amazing...feel free to send any surplus out my way... :)


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Don't throw away that watermelon rind - pickle it.

Watermelon Rind 001.JPG

Great to crack open a jar in the middle of the Winter and remember those hot Summer days.


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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To add more body to the blueberry-ness of the jam, you could add dried blueberries.

As for updating in the technical sense, I second the addition of pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate which helps the jam to set with less cooking. Therefore, the jam will taste more "fresh" than a long-cooked jam.

Further,

Filled jars into simmering water, with at least 1 inch water over top of jars

Bring to boil

Set aside for 5 min.

Remove carefully jars from water and allow to cool for several hours.

For consistently safe water-bath processing, after the water returns to the boil, continue to boil for 10 minutes (1/2 pint and pint jars) or 20 min (quart jars). After the appropriate length of time, turn off heat, then let the canner/pot settle for about 5 minutes before removing the jars to cool in a draft-free location overnight.


Karen Dar Woon

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Salt.

The equivalent of a tiny pinch of salt per litre/quart of finished product really makes flavours pop, in sweet preparations.

Even the highest quality/feshest blueberry preserves often have a sort of muted/flat flavour, and a little salt takes care of that (perceptionwise, I'm talking about an amount that is right the liminal level, not enough to wreak havoc with the actual flavour, or anybody's blood pressure).

I'f you're going with a 'purist'/modernist take on this, you might want to try straight capsaicin (although you have to take care with it), rather then actual jalapeño(s).

And, since citric acid has been something I've been playing with recently, I'd consider that as an option to to add a bit more brightness to the flavour (if you wanted that), without adding additional liquid, or bringing in other notes (e.g. lemon), that would take you away from the streamlined 'just the blueberries' approach.

If you're okay with moving a bit a way from a 'purist' jam, cinnamon is great with blueberries.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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"Peach Jam with Vanilla and Amaretto" was one of my great success stories this year.

I used a Pectin additive to minimise the cooking time, kept boiling to a minimum and kept the lid on to try an avoid loss of aroma.

It seemed to work so I will stick with it.

Luke

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