Blueberry Jelly

It’s Two For Tuesdays! Fasten your seatbelts, and come along for the ride!

Opening day at the Blueberry Farm…

A gorgeous Saturday afternoon…

Some of the most important people in my life…

…and amazing, luscious, ripe to perfection Blueberries.

With enough mostly non-whiney helping hands – in short order:


(Okay, so we picked more than blueberries… we got some Coho Raspberries, and Marionberries, too.)

But this post is all about the Blueberries.

Do you ever start out on a project – full steam ahead – plowing forward and then mid-project realize, “Umm… I’m out of…” Yeah – you probably don’t. But – in real life – in MY real life – it happens all the time. You’d think I’d figure out a system to keep this from happening. But I guess if I did, half of my adventures just wouldn’t happen, would they?!

I digress – back to the topic at hand!

Do you have a juicer/steamer?

No?

Why not?!

‘Cause you NEED one. Not even just want one. Seriously – this is a need thing.

The possibilities are endless, mind-blowing, and fantastic.

Know all that excess straggler produce from your garden toward the end of the summer and early fall? Steam the veggies and make vegetable stock for your soup making during the winter! Make your own fruit juices. I make an amazing pomodoro tomato sauce with it. Seriously – it’s the right thing to do. Start right now by watching the canning section of every store that carries anything canning related. Watch the extra percentage off coupons. My $170-ish steamer/juicer cost me about $40 with an end of the season sale and percentage off coupons. How could I NOT buy it?!

Okay – tangent done…. on to Blueberries.

I traditionally make blueberry jelly and blueberry syrup most summers. (Last summer, not so much since I was too sick.) I also really, really, really want to have some picked in the morning, sorted, washed, allowed to air dry, and then frozen and stashed away for baking all year long blueberries, too. There is just something so right about blueberries at their peak of freshness.

When I make the blueberry jelly and syrup, I rely on my juicer/steamer. It’s a total breeze.

First, you fill the base with water:

Then you add the collection portion:

…and the steamer basket:

And finally, the berries and the lid:

That took all of about three minutes.

Next, you set the heat on the eye on high, and let the juicer do it’s thing. It takes about 80 minutes. And for this hopper full of fruit – I got about a gallon of blueberry juice. (It would have been more if it hadn’t been for that pesky little spill I had – but thankfully, maybe only 1/2 a cup or so lost.)

Here’s what the fruit looks like when it’s spent:

My chickens love the spent fruit!

While the fruit is steaming, I typically get my jars and lids sterilizing, my canning supplies all lined up, and take inventory of the ingredients I need… sugar – check. pectin… um…. pectin…. STINK! I’m out of pectin! And we’re broke! UGH!

So decisions need to be made here.

Freeze the juice and jelly at another time?

or…

Think outside the box.

You know I’m an outside the box girl, don’t you?! 🙂

So, I pulled out Grammy’s old cookbook:

Read up on the old school methods of jelly making, and then checked out a couple other resources.

I mean – did they have pectin in Little House on the Prairie? Surely you don’t HAVE to have pectin, do you?

Well – as I found out – it depends on which fruit you’re working with – and fortunately enough for me – blueberries is one of the fruits that it’s easier to get away without it. And pectin – while lovely and convenient – doesn’t necessarily have to be a factor. It just takes a little more time, and attention to detail to do it without the pectin.

What I learned:

One to one ratio with sugar if you’re using a concentrated fruit juice (like I got from my juicer/steamer) – although it’s okay to go slightly less than 1 cup with the sugar. So I had 16 cups of juice, and 16 cups of sugar.

You need a GOOD and LARGE pan to boil the juice/sugar solution in. I used my All Clad 20 quart stockpot. I love that thing!

You need a little patience. This is gonna need at least 30 minutes to boil at about 200 F.

Having a good quality candy thermometer sure as heck is a nice thing to have on hand!

I decided I could do this with the supplies I had on hand and forged ahead!

I combined the blueberry juice and the sugar, put the heat to high, and stirred until the sugar was completely dissolved. It took longer than I thought it would to get it to boil and the 200 F mark. But once it got there, and I got the heat adjusted to just the right spot to keep it there, it was just a matter of setting a 30 minute timer and letting it boil away.

Can I just tell you how nice it is to have a nice deep large pot with a solid base on it that makes this sort of task no problem whatsoever?! No worries of boil overs. No worries about splatter – see below – it’s all splattered inside the pot – just where it ought to.

I was actually pretty thrilled that in pretty short order I started to see the mixture begin to form a gel!

Amazing!

In no time I was filling canning jars with jelly, processing them in the boiling water bath, and getting them tucked away into the pantry.

Voila!

I will confess – we ate so many blueberries that there weren’t enough for syrup quite yet. But we’ll get around to it before the Blueberry season ends. Promise.

Other things we got done that day:

Coho Raspberry Syrup

and

Marionberry jam.

All in all – a lovely – and very productive day!

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14 thoughts on “Blueberry Jelly

  1. HoooLeeeeCow! I am in awe!! What I wouldn’t give to have my pantry stocked so beautifully! You made such a haul berry picking…how wonderful (and the mostly non-whiney helping hands- HA!). Seriously, how fabulous. I definitely need one of those juicer/steamer contraptions…I’ll keep my eye out at the end of the season and maybe I can be set for next year. Again, this whole post is gorgeous and thanks so much for sharing it at Two for Tuesdays this week!! 🙂

    • Hey Heather! Thanks for stopping by!

      Thanks! We have so much fun harvesting, processing, and storing these things away for the coming year. I hardly think of it as work because I enjoy it so immensely.

      I gotta tell you – the steamer/juicer is one of those things that you’ll stop and wonder – about a week after you’ve gotten yours home – “How the heck did we ever survive without it?!” And… nice bonus – the base makes a seriously kick butt big old soup pot if you need to serve a crowd. 🙂

  2. Dina, I loved this post. I’m actually doing the same thing tomorrow 😀 My boys and I picked berries last week and tomorrow will be a long jamming day. Strawberries, Blueberries, and Grape Jelly. My grape juice is frozen from last years harvest, ha! I so love the juicer steamer pot! Wow, I really could use one of those. As always… besitos amiga!!

    • Thanks Diana! I’ve got juice in the freezer I need to make up, too. Some plum juice, some grape juice, and gosh, I think there’s something else in there, too! I was just thinking about the fact that the crab apple tree is loaded and I ought to make some jelly from that fruit this year, too!

      Honestly – you’d love the juicer/steamer. And I can only imagine the great stuff you’d come up with using it! I can hardly wait!

      *Hugs*

  3. I have both blueberry and steamer/juicer envy. Your pictures are so lovely I just want to be there. I love that you don’t think of it as work – what a wonderful attitude! Enjoy it! Thanks for linking to Two for Tuesday!

    • Christy, it’s probably silly, but if I had unlimited funds, I think gifting people with steamer/juicers would make me giddy and be the greatest fun ever! I’m kinda wierd that way! May you be blessed with a fabulous steamer/juicer in the near future! 🙂

  4. More kitchen equipment envy on MY part! I WANT that jelly maker! Picking blue berries is such a deep memory for me. My mum had huge bushes and I have pictures of my daughters extremely young and naked picking berrys with juice staining their little tummies, faces and hands. I have a few bushes, but nothing with enough quantity to make good jelly. Very cool article and thanks for sharing it on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 alex@amoderatelife

    • Hey Alex, thanks for stopping by! If we owned a place, we totally would put in blueberry bushes. Would could be more fabulous than a hedge of blueberries where you could stoll out on a summer morning and gather fresh blueberries to add to your morning breakfast?! The great thing about this jelly recipe is that it’s based on what you have on hand – in any quantity, so even if you end up making just a small amount, that’s totally okay!

  5. I told myself that I wouldn’t make anymore jam or jelly this year because we don’t eat it, but seeing your beautiful jelly is making me want to rethink that. How do you make the labels?

    If you’ve got crabapples, you’ll never need pectin. They’re just loaded with it, so you can throw them in with any of the fruits that need a boost. Same holds true if you have a regular apple tree. With those, I usually use the fruit, but save the peels and cores for pectin power.

    Thank you for sharing with Two for Tuesdays.

    • The labels are actually a breeze. I have Print Master – which the kids have used a ton over the years with various school projects. The Avery 5294 round labels fit the top of a canning jar lid perfectly. And I use a shipping label size (like a 5163) for syrup bottles, and also for egg cartons, too.

      I did read about crab apples! How cool is that?! I made a spiced crab apple jelly a few years ago and I’m planning on repeating it this year. I’ll definitely not waste the time of adding in pectin this time! Thanks for the tip!

  6. Pingback: Jam Round-Up « Known By Name

  7. My mother always canned when I was growing up and now I’m turning into my mother!!! I really, really like the steamer/juicer…I have never seen one in all my almost 50 years. I’ll have to introduce it to my mother…if I can find one at a decent price like you did.

    Thanks for the avery template numbers as well. This is the first year I have had a garden and I’m loving it…just gotta store some of it for later. Got blueberries in the freezer from last year and they are starting to turn so I need to do something with them. Thanks for taking the time to share:)

  8. Thank you for showing a blueberry jelly recipe because I can only find ‘jam’ in the pectin box. I was wondering how long to boil when using pectin to make jelly – I can also use the cold saucer method. How long should I “rolling boil” mixture for syrup? It’s syrup I want to make with my extracted blueberry juice, I have 3.5 quarts. Will divide into 5 cup juice/5 cup sugar etc. Would like not thin syrup. Thank you, Lisa V.

    • I used the back of the spoon to judge thickness on the jelly. Didn’t really pay attention to time. For any of the syrups I’ve made, similar protocol of boiling to reduce to desired thickness. Works like a charm.

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