A blueberry jam is a staple in the refrigerator or the cupboard because this sandwich spread is easy to love. It is not too sweet and as a fruit, it is not sour either. Spread this on bread for a quick tasty snack that goes well with warm drinks like coffee or tea, or even with cold beverages like ice tea or soda. Seeing bits and pieces of crushed blueberries when you spread a blueberry jam on bread always looks so yummy and inviting. Blueberries are available year-round in many parts of the world, including the US. From April to September, North American blueberries are available on the market, while South American blueberries are sold from October to March.
Blueberry Jam Trivia
- The US is the largest producer of blueberries worldwide
- Native Americans called blueberries “star berries”
- There is no bilberry in the Americas so the European settlers had to make do with blueberries (which grew in abundance) when making their traditional bilberry muffins. Thus, the blueberry muffin was born.
- Blueberry jam versus blueberry jelly: what is the difference? Whole fruits are used to make jams, while jelly is made using fruit juice.
- The discovery of sugar paved the way for the invention of preserving fruits: jam. This practice began in the Middle East. It was introduced in Europe after the crusades because fruit merchants needed a way to preserve fruits so that they can still sell them after a long journey.
Blueberry Jam Buying Guide
If you are craving a blueberry jam, the best recommendation would be to visit a local farmers market. Small, local businesses usually sell their goods and items here, and if there is someone in your area making home-made blueberry jam, there is a very good chance here is where you will find that person. It is always a good idea to buy home-made blueberry jams because not only are you supporting small local businesses so that they can thrive, you are also assured that what you are buying is freshly-made blueberry jam, especially since small businesses usually produce in small batches and the good ones are usually sold out.
This is a better buying alternative versus buying from a supermarket or grocery shelf and settling for that old, dusty bottle at the back row of the shelf. While canned and processed blueberry jams are safe to eat (groceries and supermarkets remove any item that is nearing or past its best-before date) despite being on the shelf for too long, I will always prefer a freshly-made blueberry jam. And if you are buying in a grocery or supermarket, check the bottle for any signs of damage or tampering. This is a red flag. Call the attention of any store attendant and inform him or her if you see a blueberry jam bottle that appears to have been tampered, for your safety and the safety of other consumers too.
Blueberry Jam Production & Farming in Texas
There are many blueberry farms in Texas. If you live here or near these areas – Quitman, Brownsboro, Conroe, Tyler, Hockley, Nacogdoches, De Berry, Avinger, Huntsville, Grapeland, Palestine, Mineola, Larue, Kountze, Murchison, Ravena, Lufkin, Montgomery, and Silsbee – you are lucky because there is a blueberry farm here. The blueberries produced in these locations provide Texas locals the supply they need to make their own home-made blueberry jam made of rabbiteye blueberry, which is a very common type of blueberry in East and Central Texas because the conditions in these places are suitable for growing this type of blueberry.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
The good thing about blueberries is that it has enough sweetness that makes it unnecessary to use sugar or sweetening additives when making blueberry jam. That being said, it does not mean that all blueberry jams are additive-free because other additives are sometimes used, to make the best possible blueberry jam not just in taste but in appearance and condition as well.
- Xantham gum – As a thickening agent and stabilizer preventing ingredients from separating, this food additive is used to thicken blueberry jam so that it looks appealing and easy to spread on bread or crackers.
- Sodium Benzoate – Food manufacturers use this preservative because they want the product to have a longer shelf life. Sodium benzoate is a common ingredient when making jams and jellies.
- Pectin – Pectin is used as a food additive particularly as a gelling agent, thickener, stabilizer, or emulsifier to jams.
Blueberry jams are sold in jars in varying sizes. Commercially-produced blueberry jams are sold in resealable glass jars with a freshness seal and label that indicates important information for consumers like expiration date, nutrition data, etc. Home-made and artisanal small-batch blueberry jams are usually sold in mason jars.
Enjoying Blueberry Jam
Blueberry jams aren’t just good for a sandwich spread. In fact, if you whisk some eggs, put milk in it, and dunk your blueberry sandwich and then pan fry it, you have a blueberry French toast! Crepes with blueberry jams? That’ll work too! If you need something to sweeten your oatmeal or porridge, ditch the sugar and use blueberry jam. If you want a fruit-flavored yogurt, all you need to do is add a spoonful of blueberry jam on plain yogurt and you are all set! Pairing it with vanilla ice cream sounds yummy too! You can also make your typical desserts like pudding or panna cotta more interesting by putting blueberry jam on it. It is great as a topping for crackers, your morning pancakes, or your waffle. Since we are talking about dessert, how about making popsicles using blueberry jams? A fruity pan sauce for your steak could be the change of pace you are looking for to whet your appetite, so feel free to use your blueberry jam. Mix it with some oil and vinegar and you have a tasty salad dressing. You can also use your blueberry jam when mixing cocktails. Shake it with vodka, gin, or whisky for a more exciting buzz. Or just blend it with milk for a yummy smoothie.
Unopened blueberry jams in jars are typically safe at room temperature. But once you open it, you should keep the blueberry jam in the refrigerator. It will keep for a year.
Make your own blueberry jam:
It is easy to make a jar of blueberry jam. It is a versatile food that you can mix with other food, savory or sweet. Prep time for making a jar of blueberry jam is only five minutes and all you need is 30 minutes to cook it. You can do this any time of the year because blueberries never go out of season and there is always a fresh stock of blueberries in the supermarket.
This recipe yields 1 small jar of blueberry jam.
- 4 cups of fresh blueberries
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
- Step 1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it gets thick. Stir constantly.
- Step 2. Set aside to cool. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a clean container with a lid.