Blueberry Lavender Jam Recipe

Add a unusual herbal twist to a summer harvest favorite.

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Blueberry Lavender Jam

Blueberries are a summer fruit favorite. What better way to capture that fresh, summery taste than in a jam? Blueberry jam is easy to whip up in an afternoon. This is a small batch recipe that makes four pints; perfect for gift-giving or to eat later in the year when you are missing warm weather. 

Blueberries and Lavender

Lavender is well known as a relaxing aromatherapy herb. However, as a culinary herb, it adds a light floral note to dishes. It pairs especially well with stone fruits like peaches and berries. For this recipe you will need:

4 pint canning jars

6 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

3 cups of sugar

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon of dried lavender petals and leaves

a canning pot

jar lifters

jar funnel

mortar and pestle

a towel

Grind the Lavender

You can use both the dried petals and leaves of lavender or fresh if you have it growing in the garden. If using fresh, you will need twice as much; just finely chop it. For the dried lavender, grind it in a mortar and pestle until it resembles a fine powder. You will need a tablespoon. Try not to go overboard with the amount of lavender. Although it compliments blueberry, too much will overwhelm the jam and give it a bitter aftertaste. With dried lavender, a little goes a long way. 

Smash the Blueberries

If you are going to can the jam after preparation, go ahead and fill your canning pot with water and set it to heat while you make the jam.  Once the water in the canning pot is boiling, turn down the heat and add the four pint jars to the water to sterilize. Wash the rings and lids with hot, soapy water and place them in a smaller pot of hot water (keep them warm while you make the jam). Add the blueberries to the large stock pot. The jam will foam and bubble, so it's better to have a bigger pot. Use a potato masher to break up the blueberries. Smash them up until they're quite pulpy.

Add Sugar

Jam making requires quite a bit of sugar. This recipe has no pectin in it and needs the sugar for the fruit to set. Mix the sugar with the smashed blueberries.

Zest the Lemon

Add the zest of one lemon to the pot of sugar and blueberries.

Juice the Lemon

Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice into the pot of smashed berries, taking care not to get any of the seeds in the pot. The lemon juice acts as a flavor enhancer and helps raise the acidity of the blueberries. The acidity keeps bacteria from forming in the preserves once canned.

Cook Until Gel Phase

Once the blueberries get to a good, steady boil, insert a candy thermometer. The blueberry mixture needs to reach 220 degrees F for it to set.

Skim Off Foam

Once the jam starts to heat up, it will foam. Scrape the foam off with a spoon as you go. The foam is edible; it makes the finished jam look not so pretty. Save the foam in another glass jar as you go. It makes a yummy topping for ice cream.

Testing the Jam

If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test if the jam is ready with the cold plate method. Chill a small plate or bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. Spoon a teaspoon of the hot jam onto the cold plate or bowl and let it rest for 30 seconds. Tip bowl to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly or wrinkles when you press a spoon to the side of it. If mixture is thin and runs down side of bowl, the gel is too soft. If it's too thin, cook it for a few more minutes and repeat the test.

Add the Lavender

Add the powdered or chopped fresh lavender to the jam at the end. Mix to incorporate. The lavender will infuse the jam with its floral essence as it cools and sets.

Fill the Pint Jars

Remove the sterilized pint jars from the canning pot. Make sure there is not residual water in the jars. Fill the pint jars with the hot jam using a ladle and funnel. Leave at least a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims and add the jar lids and rings. If canning, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes then remove. Let the jars cool and sit at room temperature undisturbed for 24 hours. After they cool, test the seals. If the jars have sealed, you store them in the pantry for up to a year. Alternatively, if you do not wish to can them, let them cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. You can freeze them as well. 

Blueberry Lavender Jam on Toast

Enjoy your homemade jam on a thick slice of toast or pastry. Specialty jams make great hostess, baby shower or "just because" gifts. Be sure to make an extra jar or two for yourself.