This Blueberry Jam recipe is perfect for bottling up the best of summer fruit to eat the whole year through. A little cinnamon and nutmeg round out the flavors in the jam and add a little extra oomph.
For years I dreamed about wandering out into our yard on a steamy mid-summer weekend morning to pluck enough blueberries from blueberry bushes dripping in berries to stuff into a pie crust and turn out dessert from our yard.
It was one of my biggest wants in our last house but because we knew we would be moving eventually – which turned into 5 years, but I digress – since our house was slated for demolition (thank you, State of CT and Oxford-Waterbury Airport).
So we held off on planting those blueberry bushes.
And after spending more than a year in this new house, planning where I would plant those bushes, we finally dug three holes and planted the 2-foot baby bushes I painstakingly picked out at the nursery this spring.
We did soil tests and bought special fertilizer, trying to ensure those plants would grow. If they didn’t produce in the first year, I was ok with that, just as long as we didn’t kill them once in the ground; everything I had read stated not to expect a first-year crop.
Then there were flowers! Tons of tiny, gorgeous flowers! Within a month of so, we had loads of tiny green berries that would eventually yield a great and unexpected first-year crop.
By July 4th, they had just started to turn and I figured that by the end of the month, there would be pie. I. Was. Stoked.
And then… And then…
And then the deer found the blueberry bushes.
As I dragged the hose across the dewy grass to water my babies early one morning before work (my least favorite outdoor chore, btw), I knew something was wrong immediately.
The bushes didn’t look quite as “bushy”. As I got closer, I could see that all of the berries on the top 2/3 of all 3 bushes had been eaten. Not like a bird or a squirrel would eat something, but the leaves and branches and all were chewed off . My nearby hosta plants had also been decimated so I knew it was the deer.
I had become too complacent with the fact that no animal had touched the bushes until then and decided that perhaps we could get by without having to cover the bushes. Silly me.
We live in the middle of the freaking woods. What was I thinking?! Needless to say, I was crushed.
I about cried. All that dreaming, gone in just a couple of days.
But there’s always next year, right? So this summer, I stocked up on a few pints of as-local-as-I-could-find blueberries and jammed my way through a recent Saturday afternoon.
This activity has become one of my favorite things to do in the summer and this blueberry jam is the epitome of a homemade summer jam. It’s a teeny bit earthy with the addition of a little cinnamon and nutmeg and not overly sweet like some jams can be (what the heck is up with a near 1:1 ratio of cups of fruit to sugar??).
How to Make Blueberry Jam
This is a super simple homemade jam recipe and here are the basic steps. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full set of instructions!
STEP 1: Mash your clean blueberries and bring them to a boil in a large stock pot along with the sugar. Add the lemon zest, juice, and spices; cook for a few more minutes. Add the pectin to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
At this point, you can cool and refrigerate or freeze the jam, or preserve it in jars. The full canning instructions are below in the green recipe card.
Can You Skip the Pectin?
Nope, not for this recipe. Blueberries don’t naturally contain a lot of pectin, like strawberries do, so skipping the pectin will result in a watery jam. The pectin helps to thicken the jam so don’t skip it here.
I’m in love how this jam turned out and I’ve been eating it in every way possible, including mixing it into plain Greek yogurt, which has quickly become my favorite new breakfast.
Keep your fingers crossed that this jam will be made with my own blueberries next summer!
More Summer Canning Recipes
- Salted Brown Sugar Roasted Peach Jam
- Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam
- Fig Jam
- Peach Vanilla Bean Jam
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Peach Butter
- 8 dry pints fresh blueberries
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- 6 oz liquid pectin (2 packets)
- Prep the berries: Wash, dry, and pick the blueberries over for stems. In a large bowl, mash the berries a few cups at a time and transfer the mashed berries to a large heavy duty pot before adding more berries to mash.
- Canning Prep: Wash and dry your jars, brand new lids (never reused), and rings. Check the jars for cracks or chips and discard any that are damaged. Add the lids to a small saucepan filled with an inch or two of water. Place the jars in your canning pot, set on top of a rack - not directly on the bottom of the pot - and fill the pot with enough water so that it covers the top of the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a boil and keep the water boiling while you make the jam.
- To make the blueberry jam: Mix the sugar into the blueberries and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Boil the berries for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid allowing the jam to burn. Once the jam has thickened and looks shiny, stir in the pectin. Allow the mixture to boil for an additional 5 minutes.
- While the jam cooks, bring the water in the small saucepan to a simmer but don't allow it to boil. This will soften the rubber seal around the lids and help them seal better when processed.
- To can the jam: Turn the heat under the canning pot off. Remove the jars from the canning pot with your canning tongs, draining each well as you remove them. Using a clean canning funnel, ladle the jam into the jars leaving ½-inch of headspace between the top of the jam and top of the jars. Clean the rim of each of the jars with a clean, dry towel and place a hot lid (from the saucepan) onto each jar. Add the rings and tighten just to finger-tight. The jars will be hot so use a kitchen towel to hold the jars while you do this.
- Transfer the filled jars to the canning pot rack with the canning tongs, lower the rack, cover, and bring the pot back to a boil. Process the jars for 10 minutes. If you are above sea level, you'll want to check this site for processing times as the times vary with changes in sea level.
- Once the jars are finished processing, turn the heat off and remove the jars with the tongs, setting them on a clean, dry towel. Be sure to put them in a spot where you won't have to move them for 24 hours. The lids should begin to seal with a "pop" sound shortly after you remove them from the pot. After 24 hours, remove the rings and lift the jars an inch off of the counter with your fingertips around the edge of the lids to check that the lids have sealed. If any of the lids have not sealed, refrigerate or freeze the jam immediately. The processed and sealed jars will keep for at least a year in a cool, dark space.
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