July is prime blueberry time here in Portland so a few weeks ago Greta and I met some friends at a sweet family run farm on Sauvie Island to do some picking. The littles didn’t last too long but we did manage to get a couple pounds, just enough to make a batch of jam with leftovers for sprinkling on yogurt and eating straight from the basket. I love the process of making a fresh summer jam from start to finish, including harvesting the fruit and (in this case) growing the flowers myself. My lavender bushes were overflowing with blooms and while it was a bit of a fight with the bees to pick a bunch they obliged.
The first step was making a lavender infused sugar. I chose to do this because my lavender was fresh and I wanted to make sure the flowery flavor came through. Of course you could also just add some culinary grade dried lavender if you don’t grow your own. To make the sugar simply pick off the lavender blossoms and add them to a jar of measured sugar and let it sit and infuse for a day or two. Easy!
On jam making day wash and pick any stems off your berries. When making jam it is beneficial to have a few underripe berries in your bunch due to the natural pectin that will help thicken it. I prefer to make freezer jam with fresh summer fruits because I think the flavor stays a little more “true” as well as just skipping the canning step – yes I am lazy. We bought an upright freezer earlier this year (major adult moment) so I have a lot of freezer room to spare right now. If you don’t have room to freeze of course you could can this in a hot water bath! That also makes for easier gift giving around the holidays.
makes around five 8oz jars
6 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lavender flowers
zest and juice from one lemon
3 tablespoons Real Fruit pectin
If you are using fresh lavender flowers, add to the sugar in an airtight jar to infuse a the night before making. Otherwise, wash and pick any stems off the blueberries. Add berries, sugar and lavender to a large pot and cook over medium heat, gently smashing the blueberries with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook down until berries thicken, about 15 minutes while stirring constantly. Take the berries off the heat and add the lemon juice juice and pectin. Stir well for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Carefully pour the hot jam into sterile jars and either freeze or pressure can. Perfect on a piping hot buttermilk biscuit or spread onto thick cut toast with fromage blanc!