Recipe courtesy of Virginia Willis

Blueberry Lemon Drop Jam 

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From mid-April to the end of July, you can find pints of Southern-grown blueberries at farmer’s markets and even in some locally minded grocery stores. My home state of Georgia is one of the top producers of blueberries in the entire United States. An alternative to purchasing your pints is taking advantage of the numerous you-pick farms. And you won’t have to look far – when news of blueberries' healthy antioxidant benefits hit the presses, blueberries exploded on the farmer’s market scene like a pie-eating contest at a county fair – they’re all over! Homemade blueberry jam will let you enjoy summer all year long. 
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: Makes about 8 cups or eight 1/2-pints
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Ingredients

Directions

Special equipment:
Boiling water canner with a rack, canning tongs, canning funnel, eight 1/2-pint jars
  1. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet or line it with a clean towel. Set aside. Place several small plates in the freezer to use later to test the consistency of the jam.
  2. Combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Let stand until the berries start rendering their juice, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Bring the blueberry mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will bubble up, rising high up the sides of the saucepan. Using a slotted spoon, skim off any light-colored foam as it collects on the edges. Cook the jam until it reaches the jelling point, 220 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 45 minutes. (If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also dribble a few drops of the jam on a frozen plate. If it crinkles when you run a finger through it and your finger leaves a clear line in the jam, it's ready. If not, check it every 5 minutes or so.) 
  4. While the jam is cooking, place the canning rack in the canner and fill the pot with water; bring to a boil over high heat. When the jam reaches the jelling point (220 degrees F) add the reserved lemon zest and stir to combine.  
  5. Place eight clean 1/2-pint jars (see Cook's Notes) on the prepared baking sheet. (This will help contain any dribbles or spills and prevent the jars from directly touching the metal.) For each jar, insert a canning funnel and carefully ladle in the jam, allowing at least 1/4 inch of headroom. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean, damp towel and tightly secure the lids. 
  6. Using tongs, place the jars on the rack in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the canner. Return the water to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the jars to a towel to cool. If the seal works and fits properly, the metal lid will be slightly concave within 24 hours of processing. Store the unopened jars of jam at room temperature for up to 1 year. Once the jam is opened, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

Cook’s Note

For refrigerator or freezer jam, transfer the mixture to sterilized freezer-safe plastic containers or freezer-safe jars with lids, leaving 1 inch of headroom. Freeze for up to 1 year or refrigerate for up to 1 month. High-acid foods such as fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, marmalades and fruit butters with a pH level of 4.6 or lower can be preserved by boiling water canning (low-acid foods, such as canned meats and fish, require a pressure cooker). Boiling water canning makes use of a large pot that’s tall enough to fully submerge canning jars by at least an inch of water. The pot is used for both sterilization of jars prior to filling and for boiling the jars once they are filled. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a boiling water bath canner if you don’t already have one. Any large, deep stockpot equipped with a lid and a rack can double as a boiling water canner. Keep in mind: The pot must be large enough to fully surround and immerse the jars in water by 1 to 2 inches and allow for the water to boil rapidly with the lid on. This is a hands-on recipe: It’s not really the kind of thing you want to walk away from. If you are following proper procedure, you are always minding a pot or doing something. Better to stay with the project than ruin a precious pot of jam! It is not necessary to sterilize jars beforehand if processing jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes of longer. The jars should instead be freshly cleaned and well washed in hot soapy water. Any jars processed less than 10 minutes must be presterilized and the lids and rings placed into simmering, not boiling, water. Rings can be reused, but lids should be new and used only once for boiling water canning. Since fruit size and weight can vary, you may have some leftover jam that doesn’t fit in the jars to process. Simply store this in a clean jar in the fridge and use within a few days.

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