Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blueberry Jam for Hipsters

As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend I visited a local pick-your-own blueberry place and came away with nine delicious pounds. After we picked them we headed to Amy's and made jam using a really simple recipe I came across in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine. Coincidence? Probably not.

I've only made jam once before, when my friend Chay gave me a lesson in canning. Canning is awesome and a valuable skill to have, but it's also very involved and more than a little nerve-racking - bacteria and bothulism are no joke! Freezer jam, I've discovered, is more forgiving. Another plus? It uses a lot less sugar. For example, this recipe calls for five cups of blueberries, 1/2 a cup of sugar, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of salt. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words: my kind of recipe!

"But, Chrissy," you're saying. "What makes this jam specific to hipsters? Is it because they like glorifying local foods, reclaiming homemaking practices, and drinking Shiner Bock while making jam?" And I will tell you: yes and no. While all of the above may be true, the main reason this recipe is called Blueberry Jam for Hipsters is because I took all the photos using my beloved Instagram app on my iPhone and if that isn't a hipster's dream, then I don't know what is.

As for the recipe: it's quick and easy and fun to make, especially with a group of friends or as an activity to share with some of the kids in your life. We tripled the recipe (15 cups of blueberries!) and ended up cooking it for almost twice as long as the recipe instructed because it didn't seem to be thickening up, even though it was clearly reducing. We finally decided to pour it into jars and, once it cooled, refrigerate it. Only then did it actually gel, though it's still a little on the liquid side. That's okay, though. It doesn't affect the flavor (which is delicious) and it makes it really easy to spread on toast, slather on muffins, or mix into a cup of yogurt. And really, what more could you ask of a jam?

Really Simple Blueberry Jam for Hipsters
from Real Simple magazine

You will need: 
cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the berries have released their juices.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to containers and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 1 year.