Preserving the vibrant flavors of summer in a jar of homemade organic blueberry jam is an awesome experience. In this short, but detailed guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of water bath canning to ensure the safety and deliciousness of your final product. Let's dive in and learn how to transform a gallon of freshly picked organic blueberries into delicious jam!
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients and Supplies
- Freshly picked (or non frozen store bought) organic blueberries (1 gallon)
- Granulated Organic Non-GMO sugar (4 cups)
- Non-GMO Lemon juice (1/2 cup)
- Pectin (2oz, we like to use Anthony’s Non-GMO brand)
- Water bath canner
- Canning jars, lids, and bands
- Large pot
- Jar lifter
- Bubble remover tool or a non-metallic utensil
- Clean dishcloth or towel
Step 2: Prepare the Canning Equipment
- Wash the canning jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well.
- Place the jars in the water bath canner, cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Keep them in simmering water until ready to use.
- Place the lids and bands in a separate pot of water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Keep them in simmering water until ready to use.
Step 3: Prepare the Blueberry Jam
- Rinse the blueberries under cool running water and remove any stems or leaves.
- In a large pot, combine the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Crush the berries using a potato masher or a fork. This will release the juices and help the jam set properly.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or scorching.
- If using powder pectin go ahead and add it in over the boiling blueberry mixture. Stir continuously for 1-2 minutes to ensure the pectin is fully dissolved.
- Skim off any foam that forms on the surface during boiling. This will result in a clearer jam.
- Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and reaches the desired consistency, usually around 20-30 minutes. To test if the jam is ready, place a small amount on a chilled plate and run your finger through it. If it wrinkles and holds its shape, it is ready.
Step 4: Prepare for Water Bath Canning
- Carefully remove a jar from the simmering water bath canner using the jar lifter. Pour out any water inside the jar back into the canner.
- Place the funnel on top of the jar and use the ladle to fill it with the hot blueberry jam, leaving about ¼ inch headspace at the top.
- Use the bubble remover tool or a non-metallic utensil to remove any air bubbles by running it along the inside edge of the jar.
- Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp dishcloth or towel to ensure a clean seal.
- Remove a lid and band from the simmering water, place the lid on the jar, and screw the band on tightly but not excessively.
Step 5: Water Bath Canning
- Lower the filled jar into the simmering water bath canner using the jar lifter, ensuring it is fully immersed.
- Repeat the filling and sealing process for the remaining jars.
- Once all the jars are in the canner, ensure they are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water. Add more boiling water if necessary.
- Bring the water bath canner to a rolling boil and process the jars for the recommended time (usually around 10-15 minutes for blueberry jam).
- After the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars from the canner using the jar lifter and place them on a towel-lined surface.
- Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Listen for the "pop" sound, indicating a successful seal.
With this step-by-step guide, you're now equipped to transform a gallon of blueberries into delicious homemade jam and preserve it using the water bath canning method. Store your sealed jars in a cool, dark place, and savor the taste of summer throughout the year. Enjoy your blueberry jam on toast, pancakes, or as an ingredient in various recipes. Happy canning!
-Masha at Mockingbird Homestead