You will love this easy recipe for small-batch Blueberry Jam, made without pectin, from ripe, aromatic berries at the height of their season. This is the best way I know to preserve the flavours of summer to enjoy throughout the cooler months ahead. Aside from tasting fantastic, this jam is so easy to make!
Why we love this recipe:
My simple, traditional recipe contains just three ingredients; blueberries, sugar and lemon. It is not necessary to add pectin. This is a recipe that has been made by generations in our family.
You may feel that jam is difficult to make. Let me assure you that it is not. I will show you how to do it with step-by-step instructions. You just need to invest a little of your time; when you finish and see your own produce lined up, you will know that it was time well spent.
You’ll love this recipe because:
- Jam making is a great way to preserve some of nature’s seasonal bounty to enjoy throughout the cooler months ahead – if it lasts that long.
- Homemade jam is infinitely superior to shop-bought. There are no unwelcome additives, artificial preservatives or thickeners that you may find in a commercially prepared Blueberry Jam. For me, one of the most important parts of home cooking is the knowledge that I control the quality of the ingredients.
- You can use this Blueberry Jam in so many ways. Spread it on toast, serve with scones and cream (delicious!), make mini tarts, fill sponge cakes or drizzle over our No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream. You are only limited by your imagination.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Blueberries – use fresh berries in good condition, ideally with some slightly unripe berries as they will contain more pectin.
Sugar – regular granulated sugar is best.
Lemon juice – use freshly squeezed lemon juice. The juice is vital, it aids in the setting of the jam.
Step by Step Instructions:
To begin, place two small saucers or plates in the freezer. You will use these to test when the jam is set.
Sterilise the jars by heating in the oven. Full directions are in the recipe below.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the blueberries. Add the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a large saucepan and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Turn the heat on low, stir until the sugar dissolves and then increase the heat to a rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and spoon a little of the jam onto a chilled saucer.
- Let it stand for 30 seconds to cool, then run your finger through it. If it wrinkles, it is ready. If it is still quite liquid, put it back on the heat and boil for a further 1-2 minutes, and retest.
- Allow the Blueberry Jam to sit for 10 minutes before carefully ladling into jars. This helps the chunks of fruit to disperse evenly throughout the jam.
Carefully ladle your jam into the hot jars and put the lids on to seal. After cooling, wipe the jars to remove any spills, and store in a cool, dark place.
Tips for success and FAQs:
When selecting fruit, ensure that the blueberries are at their peak of ripeness. Do not use berries that are over-ripe, soft or bruised. They may cause the jam to spoil. Good quality fruit is essential to obtain the best flavour. However, it is an advantage to have some which are slightly under-ripe as they will contain more pectin and acid, both of which assist with setting the jam.
When making your own preserves, always ensure you are sterilising the jars you will store them in. This is very simple to do:
- Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed in the dishwasher or by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well.
- Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F) and leave the jars for 15-20 minutes.
You will not need any special equipment to make this recipe. You need a large, wide saucepan. The large surface area allows faster water evaporation, giving the jam a concentrated flavour. Without a large saucepan, there is the risk of it boiling over. Avoid aluminium, copper or iron pans; the acid in the fruit may react with the pan, giving the jam a metallic taste. As well, I use a long-handled wooden spoon to keep my hand away from the bubbling jam.
If you follow the recipe instructions precisely and your jars are thoroughly sterilised, the Blueberry Jam should be shelf-stable for a year, possibly longer. When you open a jar, store it in the fridge.
Conventional jam requires a lot of sugar. When you see it weighed out it is slightly alarming but please don’t reduce the amount of sugar. The sugar not only sweetens the fruit but it helps the jam to set and acts as a preservative. If you reduce the sugar, in short, your jam may not be shelf-stable.
Lemon plays an important role in jam-making. It is high in pectin. Further, the acidity of the lemon helps balance the sweetness.
Pectin is a naturally occurring starch that is found in varying degrees in fruits and vegetables. It is what makes jams and jellies firm when they are cool. When combined with acid and sugar, and cooked to a high temperature, it forms a gel. In this recipe, I add a small amount of lemon juice to boost the pectin content.
You can use recycled glass jars with metal lids that are in good condition or purchase new ones. Jars which have contained pickles are generally not suitable as they often hold the aroma. Save these for your own chutneys or pickles.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
We love to make the most of seasonal produce. Making jams, preserves, pickles and condiments is a great way to enjoy them year-round. Here are some more of our favourite recipes:
- Apricot Jam
- Preserved Chillies in Oil
- Lemon Marmalade
- Sweet Chilli Sauce
- Grapefruit Marmalade
- Raspberry Jam
- Easy Plum Jam
- Strawberry Jam
Enjoy this delicious family recipe for Blueberry Jam. I would love to hear from you in the comments below when you have given it a try!
- 600 g (21 oz) blueberries See Note 1
- 450 g (2 cups) sugar See Note 2
- 2 tbsp (40 ml) lemon juice – freshly squeezed See Notes 3 and 4
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
To Sterilise the Jars:
- Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed in the dishwasher or by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well.Preheat the oven to 130 C (265 F). Place upright jars and lids on a baking tray. Heat in the oven for at least 20 minutes, then remove and immediately fill with jam. See Note 5.
To make the Blueberry Jam:
- Place two small saucers or plates in the freezer. See Note 6.
- Wash and thoroughly dry blueberries.Add the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a large saucepan and mix well with a long-handled wooden spoon.
- Turn the heat on low and stir until the sugar dissolves. (This can take 5-8 minutes)If sugar crystals get caught on the side of the saucepan, scrape down with a spatula.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to a rolling boil.Boil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. After 10 minutes, begin to check for the setting point. Your jam will likely take between 10-15 minutes, but it will depend on the width of your saucepan and how rapidly the jam is boiling.
- Turn off heat and spoon a little of the jam onto one of your chilled saucers.Let it stand for 30 seconds to cool, and then run your finger through it. If it wrinkles, even slightly, it is ready. If it is still quite liquid, put it back on the heat and boil for a further 1-2 minutes, and retest until ready. Alternatively, you could use a candy thermometer. Setting point is reached when the thermometer reaches 105 Degrees C (220 F).
- Skim any scum off the top of the jam with a spoon.
- Allow the jam to sit for 5 minutes to allow the fruit to disperse evenly.
- Carefully ladle your jam into your hot jars and put the lids on immediately. Allow the jam to cool completely. Wipe the jars to remove any spills, and store the jam in a cool, dark place.
- Ensure your fruit is freshly picked and of good quality. Avoid fruit that is bruised or over-ripe. The blueberries contain pectin which aids in the jam setting. If your fruit is older, it will contain less pectin.
- Do not reduce the amount of sugar. Whilst the sugar sweetens the fruit it also acts as a preservative and helps the jam to set. If you reduce the sugar, your jam may not be shelf-stable and may become mouldy.
- The Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust the measurement if necessary.
- Lemon juice not only balances the sweetness of the sugar, but it also contains acid and pectin which help to set the jam.
- Properly sterilising your jars is an essential process to remove bacteria that could cause your preserves to spoil. Wash the jars and lids either in the dishwasher or by hand in hot soapy water, and rinse well. Do not dry them with a tea towel. Place jars and lids on a baking tray. If you are using Kilner jars with rubber seals, be sure to remove the seals before placing the jars in the oven. The dry heat of the oven would damage the seals. Boil the seals separately in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Heat the jars in the oven for at least 20 minutes. When your preserves are ready to bottle, use thick oven mitts or jar tongs to remove the jars. Do not place them on a cold surface as they may shatter. I place mine on a wooden chopping board which I cover with a tea towel. Always sterilise a few more jars than you think you will need. It is better to have too many jars than not enough.
- The chilled plates are used to quickly cool the jam when testing the setting point.
- Always choose a large, wide saucepan that has enough height to enable the jam to boil vigorously. More surface area means the liquid will evaporate faster; having sufficient height means you can boil the jam at a higher heat and maintain the fresh flavour of the blueberries. Avoid aluminium, copper or iron pans; the acid in the fruit may react with the pan, giving the jam a metallic taste.
- Do not use a metal spoon, it will become very hot. A long-handled wooden spoon is important to avoid being burnt by a splash from boiling jam.
- My jam reached its setting point about 10 minutes after it began to boil rapidly. Boiling time will vary depending on the size of your saucepan and the heat that you apply.
- If you prefer smooth jam, use an immersion blender carefully once you have taken the blueberry jam off the heat.
- If your finished jam has not set as much as you would like, don’t worry, it will still be delicious stirred into some plain yoghurt or served over our No-churn Vanilla Ice Cream. Or, if it is slightly over-set and is very firm, it will be a lovely accompaniment on a cheese board.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on one whole jar. The nutritional information is an estimate only.
Please note, the nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients you use.