Posts Tagged ‘blueberry’

First batch of blueberry jam

First batch of blueberry jam

I LOVE blueberry jam! For several years I’ve wanted to try making my own but never tried- until now. 

Every year when fresh blueberries are in season I’ll buy ten pounds of fresh Michigan blueberries.  In past years I’ve either eaten them fresh or froze them for the long-cold winter. 

This year is different.  Not only have I dehydrated them to make blueberry raisins, I made my first batch of blueberry jam. 

There are many great resources and recipes out there, but here’s the process I used. 

My recipe only uses two ingredients, blueberries and sugar (no pectin, no additives) 

The recipe- 

approx 4.5lbs of fresh blueberries (processed in a blender until smooth, it nets nine cups.  Its’ really more like a blueberry jelly when finished) 

6-cups pure cane sugar 


1.) Boil canning jars (my batch netted approx six pints) 

2.) Sterilize lids in hot water (I heard you want them near a boil, but not to actually boil.  Mine were removed from heat when they were just about to start a rolling boil) 

3.) place several large spoons in the freezer to cool (I used three, so I could test and retest without having to wait for the spoon to re-cool)  

note- before I started filling the jars I added the funnel  and jar tongs into the jar pan boiling water- to help ensure they were sterile. 

The process- 

1. ) Sort, wash and blend blueberries until smooth (like a smoothie) 

2.) Combine blueberries and sugar in med/large pan and bring to slow rolling boil, stirring frequently.  Keep boiling and stirring until the mixture thickens and some remains on side of pan when you stop stirring.  I let mine boil for a long time (I’m guessing about 1/2hr to 1hr, but I didn’t time it). 

3.) Test the mixture- scoop a spoonful of mixture and hold over a plate (not over the heat).  Let it cool for a few seconds and turn the spoon vertical.  If the mixture drips off quickly, it’s not ready- if it slowly runs off as a clump, it’s ready. 

4.) Remove jars from hot water and set on towel 

5.) Ladle mixture into jars- leaving 1/2 inch headroom (I tried to fill them to the bottom of the lid threads) 

6.) Wipe top lip of jar and place sterile lid and lid ring (hand tighten) 

7.) Process in a water bath for 15 minutes (starting the timer after the water returns to a boil).  Be sure to have at least 1/2 inch of water above the top of the jars. 

8.) Remove from water and let cool.  The lids should pop on their own as the jars cool. 

9.) After cooled, wipe dry and label jars. 

10.) Enjoy 

11.) Share with friends and family (or not 😉 

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.


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Here’s the weekly vlog update for 18 July 2010 …

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I finally shot a video update of the container garden and posted it on YouTube.

I’ve been adding new containers almost weekly and plan to continue through the growing season.

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For the last month the weather here has been unseasonably warm and sunny.  This has given the berries a great running start. 

While watering the containers today, after another fine day in the mid eighties, I had a few exciting surprises waiting for me…

1.) The strawberry blossoms are starting already.  There are only four, so far, but it’s a start.

2.) Both  transplant blueberries are showing signs of life.  I don’t have high expectations for either of them this year, but maybe next year.

3.) Every branch on the cherry tree is budding!  I was wondering if it would make it.  It was in pretty rough shape when I did the spring cleanup a few weeks ago.  This was a pleasant surprise.

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Blueberry blossoms- How long do they last?

The Chippewas have already started!  It looks like there’s going to be dozens of blossoms in the days and weeks to come.

While this is exciting, the situation is bitter-sweet.  I don’t have another variety (required for pollination) anywhere near ready.   The Dukes are the closest and they are just now starting to set buds.

 Gauging off the Chippewa’s progress, the Duke won’t be blooming for another three weeks.  Hopefully the warmer weather we’re expecting this week will give them a boost, but it’s still going to be close.

I’m sure glad we added the Dukes.   Especially since the transplants still aren’t showing any signs of life.  I’m not sure if this has to do with the damage they endured this winter or if it’s just still too early.


Here’s a great blueberry resource from Michigan State University.  Well worth a read if you are looking for information on blueberries. http://www.blueberries.msu.edu/

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Containers enjoying the sun- first day of spring

The Chippewa blueberry is setting buds nicely.   The two transplants are still showing no signs of life.  This concerns me, as I will need at least one of these plants to pollinate the Chippewa.

If the Chippewa was a two-year-old start I wouldn’t be too concerned, because I would not let it set fruit this year, but since it’s larger and being raised in a container, I’m going to give it a try this year.

To hedge the chance of pollination, I’ve added a new blueberry variety to the mix.  The new addition is a Duke.  I’m guessing it is a two-year old ,one gallon container.  This will be transplanted into a cedar container like the Raspberry and Chippewa.

I’m going to move the Blue Ray and Jersey containers to the germinator fridge, with the hopes of getting them going.  With some special attention, I should be able to get them an early start, if they did survive.

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We have recently expanded our container garden to include some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Last year I planted a couple of two-year-old blueberry plants, only to have them flounder through the summer and get nearly destroyed by winter-starved bunnies.   These both appear to have made it through the winter alive.  I’ve transplanted them into containers and will nurse them through this year.

I also had one surviving raspberry start we got from Burgess Nursery a couple years ago.  This start was a bare-root twig that didn’t do very well at our old extremely shaded house.

This past weekend we picked up some additions to the berry container garden.

We added a ten pack of ever-bearing Quinalt strawberries, a three pack of Mary Washington asparagus (which will go in one of our established landscape beds), and two very nice one gallon starts- another blueberry and an ever-bearing Rubus ‘Everbearing’ raspberry.

We found the blueberry and raspberry plants at Wal-Mart for $10 each!  They look extremely healthy and ready to go.  They must have just received the carts and didn’t even have them displayed.  In fact, the carts were full when I selected our stock.

For the strawberries, I used a  regular self-watering pot and an old nursery container with the bottom cut out, buried in the center.  This provides a nice two layer pot that should give the strawberries amply room to grow and hang down.  They are looking good considering how they looked when they came out of the $3.98 Home Depot package.

With  the warm weather forecast this week, they should have a good running start into spring…

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