Preserved: Blueberry Orange Ginger Jam
When blueberries are in season I just can't get enough of them. Sprinkled in cereal, tossed in a spinach salad, or baked into cinnamon crumb cake. But most of all I love them cooked down and concentrated into this chunky, intensely flavorful jam.
One summer when we were little kids, my brother devoured several pints of blueberries my mother had left on the kitchen counter, then promptly collapsed with a stomachache. Much as I teased him, I also completely understood. Sweet, tangy, burst-in-your-mouth blueberries are impossible to resist.
For this recipe I paired peak-of-the-season blueberries with fresh orange juice and a double dose of ginger (fresh and ground). Because I wanted the jam to have a pure, fruit-forward taste, I used low-sugar pectin. This allowed me to reduce the amount of sugar from about seven cups to only four and a half.
Some blueberry jams can be so sweet they're more like a pie filling, but this one is much more refined. The flavor is sunny and natural, like you just picked a few berries straight from the bush and popped them into your mouth.
Because it's less sugary, this is a great jam with sweeter breakfast treats like fruity muffins, banana bread, and zucchini bread. Of course, it's also quite a delicious spread over plain old toast.
This recipe yields eight (8-ounce) jars of jam. If processed in a hot water bath, it will last for at least a year on the shelf. Save a jar for the dead of winter, when you need a reminder of the warm months ahead.