Small Batch Blueberry Jam

Small batch blueberry jam is the answer to all your fleeting-summer woes. A full day of canning is messy but this 45-minute recipe will give you just enough jam to see you through an extra few weeks, or if a craving hits mid-winter, you can toss this together with frozen berries. You’ll end up with precious, jewel-like jars of blueberry-flavored sunshine. And it’s easy-peasy.

Four small jars of blueberry jam, one is half gone with a spoon in it.

Adapted from Cynthia Graubart | Blueberry Love | Storey Publishing, 2021

Refrigerator jam brings all the joys of nature’s seasonal bounty inside, without the need for traditional canning. This jam is not safe for long-­term storage, so enjoy it within about 3 to 4 weeks. It may be frozen in a freezer-­safe container for 6 months.–Cynthia Graubart

Small Batch Blueberry Jam FAQs

Can I process this jam in a water bath?

This blueberry jam recipe wasn’t developed for canning, so we don’t recommend it. Since it makes a small batch, it’s perfect for stashing in the refrigerator and consuming within a few weeks. If you don’t go through jam quickly, stash any extra in the freezer.

What are the different types of blueberries?

You might be surprised to learn that there are FOUR types of blueberries. Highbush, lowbush, hybrid half-high, and rabbit eye. And within those types, there are hundreds of off-shoots.

The most commonly planted blueberry is the highbush, and in the wild, you’re more likely to find a strain called the northern lowbush. Wild lowbush is pretty resistant to disease and they have a longer growing season and more sweetness. They’re just the quintessential blueberry. The big blue globes that you find in the supermarket are really far away from the wild ones.

Small Batch Blueberry Jam

Four small jars of blueberry jam, one is half gone with a spoon in it.
Simple and easy, the delicious flavor of the blueberries takes center stage.
Cynthia Graubart

Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Condiments
American
12 servings | Makes 1 1/2 cups
71 kcal
4.50 / 2 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups (12 oz) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

Directions
 

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of the blueberries, the sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Cook until the berries are bubbling and have begun to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. This may take a few extra minutes if using frozen berries. Stir in the remaining 1 cup blueberries.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until all the berries are soft and a spoon leaves a line of separation in the jam when scraping the bottom of the pan, 25 to 40 minutes.
  • Cool and fill clean glass jars or freezer­-safe containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks or freeze for longer storage.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 71kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 18g (6%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 31mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 21IUVitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 3mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This blueberry refrigerator jam was delicious and simple! The method—bringing half of the berries and all of the sugar to a rapid boil, then adding the rest of the berries and simmering—developed the flavors nicely, helped the jam set well, and imparted a fresh berry flavor. The small amount of cinnamon didn’t seem to add any discernible flavor, though might have added some depth. We enjoyed this jam for breakfast on a fresh sourdough baguette with salted butter, and later in an elevated peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Because I like my jam less sweet, in the future I’d increase the amount of acid (recipe calls for 2 tsp lemon juice; I’d double this amount), add more blueberries or reduce sugar (recipe calls for 150g; I would use closer to 100g and consider using a small amount of invert sugar or honey). I’d also add a pinch of salt. If using less sugar, the jam might not set as well, so I might simmer slightly longer than called for in the recipe.

I used 315g fresh blueberries; half of the blueberries and sugar came to a rapid boil in 6 minutes. After simmering for 25 minutes, the spoon left a line on the bottom of the pan. The total hands-on time was 15 minutes; the total recipe time was 35 minutes. The total yield was 300ml. I made only a slight modification to the recipe as written: after adding the second half of blueberries it was necessary to keep at medium heat until jam returned to a simmer, and then reduce to low.

This is a very straightforward small batch blueberry jam that tastes purely of blueberry with no other competing flavors. I love the small batch concept because so often I buy blueberries in a large container for a bigger recipe (like muffins, coffee cake, pancakes, pie) and oftentimes find I have 2-ish cups leftover without a plan for them. Not that there is anything wrong with plain blueberries…but why eat them when you could make jam instead?

The ingredients dump into the saucepan and only need occasional supervision as you do other things. My jam did take 40 minutes to reach the line of separation on the bottom, which occurred at 223°F, but I suspect my low and the author’s low were different. Next time I will cook at medium-low and remove from the heat around 220°F, knowing that it will carry over cook once it comes off the heat. I got 1-3/4 cups of jam, slightly less than indicated.

I used it with granola parfaits and spread it on toast.

Coincidentally, happily, the arrival of this recipe for small batch blueberry jam was simultaneous with the first fresh blueberries of the season at the farmers market today! I was already happy to avoid the time-intensive canning process, and, combined with these terrific berries, I was off to a great start. However, I’m sure this could be tasty with berries from the grocery store, or with frozen berries as well.

There isn’t the slightest chance this jam would last the full 3 to 4 weeks noted as safe for consumption, but the idea of freezing for 6 months is appealing as it could extend the season, again without the need for canning, and make it possible for post-blueberry season gifting.

Note that the berries softened nicely in the 5 to 8 minutes noted, but it took less than 25 minutes on low heat to complete the cooking process.

Our first taste test made for a terrific peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Second, we stirred it into a nice non-dairy ice cream, also terrific! It could certainly be an accompaniment to pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, a cheese board, French toast, a stir-in to yogurt or add-in to a yogurt parfait, mixed into cream cheese, on toast, in a clafouti or stuffed into a crepe, and I’m dreaming of it on warm biscuits with lots of butter!

I was interested in making this small batch blueberry jam because I generally make jam during our peach season (August through September here depending on the peaches and the weather, but peaches are available starting in July). I usually make a small batch of raspberry jam and add it to one or more of my batches of peach jam. I’ve also been playing with lower sugar levels and quick-making jam.

Making the blueberry jam was straightforward, though it was a little odd: Initially it didn’t seem like it smelled very good during cooking but then right towards the end, there was a shift and it started to smell really good. However, after it cooled, the flavor was not strongly of blueberry and it was a little disappointing given how good the warm jam smelled.

Originally published July 11, 2021

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So easy, so good. we began our annual blueberry picking on Saturday and had a huge bowl of blueberries on the table. This recipe was perfectly timed. It did require watching the pot so that it wouldn’t burn but that wasn’t a big deal. I took Terri’s advice and only used 100 grams of sugar and upped the lemon juice to 4 teaspoons. It came out plenty sweet. I’m going to continue to make this during our berry picking weeks and freeze them in jars for holiday gifts. Thanks for the inspiration!

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