Summer is passing quickly, but thanks to a little time in the kitchen we’ll be enjoying some of our favorite summer flavors well into winter!
Preserving food has nearly become a lost art as the busyness of life has consumed every aspect of our being, but there is something so simple about slowing down, diving into traditions of the past, and savoring simple flavors all year long. Making jams and jellies, canning fresh veggies; these are things that remind me of my childhood and my mother spending hours a day all summer putting away fresh food we could enjoy all year long. She still does this and I love being able to have that bit of her in myself, even if so many think it’s out-of-date or old-fashioned.
I would much rather savor old-fashioned traditions with my family, than get lost in the sad hustle and bustle of this modern world. Y’all, we all need a little old-fashioned goodness in our lives to keep us sane and connected to all the amazing women in our lives from generations before.
Recently, after spending an afternoon picking blueberries with Madeline at Washington Farm in Bogart, Georgia, I took the time to do more than just freeze berries for cobblers, pies, pancakes, and smoothies; I also whipped up a batch of scrumptiously rich vanilla laced blueberry jam.
There are a couple of ways to make jam, from the simple very few ingredient SureJell recipe (don’t knock it, it’s absolutely delicious), to spending just a little longer on your recipe and relying on the natural pectin in the fruit for the gelling process. While not using pectin does take longer when making jam, the longer time is going bring really bring out the flavor of the blueberries and give you a richer tasting jam.
I’m sharing my four ingredient blueberry jam recipe today using the fresh sweet berries we picked which were just right for this method. All you need is sweet juicy blueberries, sugar, a whole vanilla bean, fresh lemon juice, and time to relax, pretending its a simpler time so many want to forget!
Making the jam is time consuming, but actually pretty easy. Wash your berries using a colander so they will drain, picking out any bad ones. Transfer your drained berries to a large bowl. I use a potato masher, but you can use whatever to have to squish the berries and release their juices, then measure out the exact amount of berries you will need for the recipe and add to the stockpot you will be using to cook the jam. This particular recipe calls for 10 cups. Add the sugar you’ve measured and toss together. This will sit for a couple of hours. During this time you can make sure you have all your jar sterilized and the equipment you need to preserve the jam ready to go.
After a couple of hours you will begin to cook the mixture on medium-high heat. During this process you’ll slice open the vanilla bean and scrape it into the blueberry mixture, and throw the bean itself in as well! The cooking requires your full attention as the jam comes to a boil, so do not leave the stove and stir the pot continuously. When it is cooked to the cosistancy you desire (anywhere from 30-45 minutes) add the lemon juice and finish cooking.
When you’ve made this delectible treat, bake up some fresh buscuits and dig in! Youre not going to want to wait! The complete recipe for my jam can be printed here by clicking Vanilla-Laced Blueberry Jam.
What are your favorite things to preserve in the summer months?