Fresh from the Farmers Market Blueberry-Lavender Jam
At my local farmers market, the blueberries have finally arrived, and I just could not resist purchasing a flat. While I could have made a buckle or cobbler with the scrumptious little berries, I decided to make jam.
But not just any jam — Blueberry-Lavender Jam! Because, incidentally, fresh lavender also popped up at the farmers market recently, and it made perfect sense to add a little something extra.
If you have never worked with fresh or dried lavender before, you need to know a couple of things. First, you must find "culinary grade" lavender. There are a few varieties of lavender, but you want the one that will taste the best with food. It's a safe bet that if you find dried lavender in the spice section of the store, then it's culinary grade. But if you're purchasing fresh lavender at the farmers market, ask the grower if it is a variety that is acceptable for culinary uses. Second, a little bit of lavender goes a long way. It's a very floral herb and will dominate a recipe if you use too much. For this recipe, I used 1 teaspoon of fresh lavender. It was enough to give the jam a light floral flavor, but not so much as to be overpowering. (If you use dried lavender, use half the amount you would of fresh lavender.)
Canned Jam vs. Freezer Jam
This recipe isn't really "canned" and cannot be stored at room temperature. Instead, I chose to make a freezer jam to enjoy through the winter. If you want to can jam, please follow instructions from other sources (such as the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 Revision).
Finally, I used low-sugar pectin for this recipe. You can find pectin in most supermarkets, but be sure to purchase low-sugar pectin to make this recipe.
- 6½ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
- 1⅓ cups 100-percent white grape juice concentrate (or 100-percent apple juice concentrate)
- ¼ cup low- or no-sugar-added pectin
- 1 teaspoon fresh lavender (or ½ teaspoon dried), crushed slightly to release oils
- 1¼ cups honey
- 6 8-ounce plastic canning containers with lids
- Before you get started on the jam, wash and sanitize the plastic canning containers and lid, funnel and ladle. Set aside until ready to use.
- Place blueberries, juice concentrate, pectin and lavender in a 4-quart saucepan. Stir to combine and place over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to lower the temperature to medium-low to prevent burning.
- Once the mixture has thickened, stir in honey. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Fill the plastic jars to the designated fill line, or about ¼ inch from the top.
- Securely fasten lids to the top of the containers. Cool to room temperature and let rest on the counter for 24 hours. Refrigerate jam for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months. Makes 6 cups.
Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, CD, is a dietitian living and working on Whidbey Island outside of Seattle. While earning her master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Montana State University in 2014, she collaborated on many projects including a community food truck, which sold affordable fresh produce to low-income residents in Bozeman. Read her blog, Cooking Sustainably, and follow her on Twitter.
(Photo: Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, CD)