Friday, July 19, 2013

Easy Lemon Blueberry Jam + An Itchy Berry-Picking Experience

Blueberry season.  

Those two words make me incredibly happy.  

I literally wait all year until glorious summertime, when I can get my hands on heaping gallon-sized buckets of the little spheres of blueberry goodness.

This year, Brad and I got adventurous and took a short drive to a nearby blueberry farm, where I excitedly picked berries to my heart's content.  After almost 2 hours of hand-picking the finest berries, we had TWO gallons to lug home with us.  Visions of blueberry jam and countless blueberry desserts were swimming through my head.  I was thrilled...


Have any of you ever had the unfortunate experience of practically being eaten alive by little demon bugs called chiggers/red bugs?  Oh my dear...Over 40 of those little buggers got a hold of me and had quite the snack.  At first, I thought they were simply mosquito bites, but OH NO.  Brad and I were both itchy, scratchy messes.  The thing that's so bad about chiggers is that you have no clue they've bitten you until it's too late.  Once you start itching, they are long gone.

Was it worth it?  That's a hard question to answer because the berries are so incredibly delicious, but those little demon bugs sure made their presence known.   After 2 weeks, the bites still haven't gone away completely.  However, we will be enjoying these two mountains of blueberries for a LONG time, so I'm a happy camper.  Next time, I'll just be sure to cover myself with about 10 layers of bug spray before we venture out into the blueberry bushes!

This mouth-watering blueberry jam is one way I put those berries to good use.  The rest are either snuggled away in the freezer, or have been turned into other desserts.  This recipe is easy, yet is packed with the sweet flavors of summer.  The tart lemon juice is the perfect addition to the sweetness of the fruit.  Y.U.M.M.Y.

Bon Appetit, my friends (and don't forget the bug spray)!

Easy Lemon Blueberry Jam

6 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon

Place blueberries in a large bowl and crush them with a potato masher or fork, to release their juices.

Next, pour the crushed blueberries into a large saucepan, over medium heat.  Add the sugar and lemon juice.  Stir until all ingredients are mixed well, and continue to cook over medium heat for 25-35 minutes, stirring often.  Be careful not to let the mixture bubble over, and lower heat as needed.

Once the desired consistency has been reached, carefully pour the jam into mason jars or other heat-proof, covered containers.  Place in the refrigerator (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).


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Marysue said...

Oh..yes, I have shared this wonderful (NOT) experience with you! I was covered up in chiggers a long time ago, but I'm sure what I did would still work. My grandmother lovingly, painstakingly painted clear nail polish on top of each bite. She explained that they burrow in and scratching just makes them go further. Covering them with polish cuts off the air from the pores, so they suffocate! The clear polish allows you to see them because they'll come up for air, not be able to get any, and die. You peel off the polish and the little devil is attached right to it! You have to leave the polish on your skin for a few days, but that was a small price to pay. Hope this was helpful!

Ms. Morgan said...

This looks so delicious. I love berries. I just made marionberry pancakes tonight. I've never had the guts to make jam but I'd love to someday. Thanks for the inspiration.

Celeste said...

Ms. Morgan - Making jam is SO easy...This recipe makes about 2.5 mason jars, so it's a great starter recipe. You don't have to fool with mounds of jam and lots of canning equipment. So easy!

Marysue - Thank you for the advice! Chigger bites are NO fun...sorry to hear you had to go through it, too! I was paranoid about them burrowing into skin, but then I read that it's an old myth. They basically inject a digestive enzyme when they bite, which hardens the surrounding skin tissue...basically forming a little "straw" to make an easier snack out of their unlucky victim. By the time the bites start itching, they are supposedly long gone. GROSS!

Marysue said...

Hmmmm...wonder what those red dots on the nail polish were?

Kara said...

Hi there! I just made this recipe (with a few spices added) and was planning on freezing because I didn't have canning stuff. I realized I didn't let it "set up" on the counter for a day or two before putting in the freezer. Is this step necessary because this one is cooked? I've normally made traditional freezer jam with pectin and no cooking. I hope I didn't screw up since I made a TON! :( Help!