Thus far, our 2 baby blueberry bushes have yielded 5 oz of fruit. It would probably be more if it wasn't for the blasted chipmunk, but still not enough to satisfy our need for a very blueberry summer. So, we went blueberry picking. An hour and a half of hard labor in mid-90* temps yielded almost 13 lbs of the sweetest, most intense blueberries I've ever tasted (save the measly 5 oz from my garden). As a bonus, the bushes were relatively mature so I had very little stooping & bending over and they were absolutely loaded with berries.
Good times all around, except those pickers that were engaging in what I would call unethical blueberry picking behavior. We're talking grown adults picking fistfuls of berries and greedily shoving them in their mouths...not their buckets. Now, putting aside that this wasn't an organic farm (and, even if it was, washing produce is still a good idea...), it's just plain WRONG to eat that quantity of berries without paying for them! I can maybe understand picking, picking, picking and then grabbing a few for a snack or young children that just don't know better. But, this lady was seriously looking like my resident chipmunk...cheeks full of berries, berries spilling out of her mouth as she was talking, etc. And, perhaps the worst of it was that she was pushing more ethical pickers around on the bush they were working so that she could her 5-finger discount on the goods!
UGH! Farming is hard work with an uncertain return...pay for what you pick!! (And, no, I don't think she was poor because she wouldn't shut up about her upcoming trip to Italy. I just think she is entitled.)
Anyways, rant aside, what am I doing with our haul? Well, we are of course freezing some...about 2 gallons worth that we'll save for the winter when even apples aren't in season. We're keeping a bunch out for fresh eating for the next weeks or so too. The rest is becoming the point of this post: Blueberry Lime Jam.
This recipe comes to you from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving that I purchased this weekend. You'll likely to see more recipes coming from this book as there are lots & lots of interesting ideas. My philosophy on homemade jam is this: If I am going to make it, it needs to be more interesting than what I can buy at the grocery store. This is because it's more expensive than grocery store jam and it requires heating up the house when a heat wave is going on. But, otherwise, canning jam is so easy (if you follow the instructions!) and it really does taste better than homemade...especially when using freshly picked fruit.
This jam specifically will be the best blueberry jam you've ever had. I promise.
Blueberry Lime Jam (Yield 6-7 half pints)
4 1/2 c crushed blueberries (don't measure whole blueberries; measure the crushed quantity)
zest of one lime
4 Tbsp bottled lime juice (bottle has a more consistent acidity than fresh)
1 pkg/1.75 oz regular powdered fruit pectin
5 c granulated sugar
1. Prepare jars: Wash with soap & water and then boil jars, lids and rings in a canner or large stockpots for 10 minutes. When done, set aside but keep warm.
2. In large saucepan, mix crushed blueberries with lime zest & juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Next, add sugar and return to boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
4. Remove jam from heat and skim off any foam.
5. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove bubbles by running a sanitized chopstick or knife around the edge of the jar and wipe the rim and sides of the jar clean. Center lid on jar. Screw on band fingertip-tight.
6. Place jars backing into canner/stockpot, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove from canner to let cool.
7. A few hours later, verify the jars sealed and label with date and contents.