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. You’ll end up with precious, jewel-like jars of blueberry-flavored sunshine. And it’s easy-peasy.
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
- 2 cups (12 oz) fresh or frozen blueberries*
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 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.
*What are the different kinds of blueberries?You might be surprised to learn (as...um...some of us were) 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.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This small-batch blueberry 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 223F, 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 220F, 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.
Originally published July 11, 2021