Cultivated berries are a thing of beauty. Something to savor and enjoy during winter months. I’m lucky to live in the state of Michigan where orchard agriculture is a focal point in the summer months, at least it is for me.
I have been preserving food for the last 25 years. It’s a joy to me to pick fruit or vegetables and then be able to appreciate summer goodness during the long cold grey winters.
I used two recipes merged together to create my preserves.
Please use only accredited recipes when canning . I have many years and jars worth of experience. I have cooked gallons of fruit, sugar and pectin’s over the years and you really get a feel for the cooking time and the thickening of your preserves.
I always follow the standards set out by the National Center for Home Food Preservation and MSU Extention Food Preservation . I’m also in the process of getting my Food Preservation certifications. I love when art and science come together to make something beautiful and significant. Nothing is more meaningful than blessing your family with the bounty that our gardens or local farmers produce.
Someday I’ll plant my own orchard . Then I can be in charge of every aspect of raising the trees, brambles, and cultivars that I choose to grow. Until then I’m a great customer for the farms that I frequent. On this occasion we picked at Spicer Orchards in Fenton Michigan. They grow a big variety of fruits and also have a winery. I make preserves from everything I pick there. I love the orchard!
Lets get back to why you are reading this post the – recipe!
Blueberry Lime Preserves Recipe
What you need and what you need to know
8-9 half pint jars prepared by sterilization.
Please read about the preparation of jars before beginning the recipe. https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/sterilizing.html
Please read instructions set up by the National Center for Home Food Preservation to learn about processing jams and jellies and read about preparation of bands and lids.
6 cups of crushed fruit
1 box of low sugar Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
4 cups sugar measured out into a bowl. It’s important to have all the ingredients measured and prepared so that you don’t overcook your jam.
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice and the grated lime peel.
It’s a great idea to use bottled lime juice too. The bottled juice has consistent ph level that is great for home canning so never think fresh is better in this case . The correct acidity for home canning creates a safe product. You could also swap the lime for lemons.
1 tsp of butter to reduce foaming.
Wash and stem blueberries in cold water. Drain in strainer for a few minutes. Crush fruit with a potato masher and measure the exact amount in a liquid measuring cup . Measure all dry ingredients in a dry measuring cup. This important step is for accuracy of measured ingredients. Without accurate measuring your jam may not set up. Since I was making several batches of jam I used my food processor to crush my fruit . A few pulses is all it takes to break down the fruit. I like bits of fruit in the final product but also a nice spreadable consistency on bread. Grate lime peel and juice limes or measure out the juice from a bottle and skip the peal addition. It works just fine either way.
I put the cups of crushed berries, 1 tsp of butter (to reduce foaming) one box of Sure Jell reduced sugar pectin, and one half cup sugar in the pot . I bring this up to a boil on a medium high heat. Gradually while stirring, I bring it up to a full rolling boil. That means you still have a bubbly boil in the pot when stirring the mixture. Now, stir in the remaining sugar that you measured out into a bowl, the lime juice and lime peel. Bring the jam up to a full rolling boil and stir constantly for about a minute. All the sugar will dissolve after a minute and you can turn off the heat.
Ladle hot fruit mixture into prepared sterilized jars. I used wide mouth 1/2 pint Kerr jars. So cute! My jars were new, so they came with new bands and lids. ALWAYS USE NEW LIDS so the jars seal properly. Fill jars 1/4 inch from the top of jar. Wipe rim and threads of jars and cover with the two piece lids. Hand tighten the band. I always have extra jars and lids prepared for the little extra preserves that I scrape out of the pot.
Processing the jars
Before I prepare the fruit I fill my water bath canner and place it on the burner. I get the water to a boil and then let it simmer on a lower heat until my jars are ready to be placed on the rack and lowered into the water for processing. (I always make sure that I have at least two inches of water covering my lowered jars. I check this depth before I turn on the heat). Place filled jars onto the rack of canner, and lower into the water. Cover with lid and bring water to a gentle boil. Process jars for ten minutes. Remove jars from water bath and leave upright on towel covered counter top for the next 24 hours. The first few hours of cooling should prove that your jars are sealed. You will hear a ping, ping, ping, of the lids vacuum sealing. It’s a great sound . You can check the seals (several hours into the cooling process) by pressing the lids and they will not spring back when properly sealed. If you have a jar that doesn’t seal store that in the refrigerator. Enjoy your Blueberry Lime jam on toast or any recipe that calls for jam, like bar cookies or cheesecake topping, and don’t forget to try on top of fresh-baked scones.