Blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits in the world. Their concentrated nutrients and minerals can be acquired by drinking their pure juices or making them into jellies. Blueberry jelly is made from the extracted blueberry juice. However, blueberries do not contain a lot of juices. They are usually juiced with other fruits such as apples, pears, and other berries to derive their juices. They can also be cooked in a saucer along with sugars to make a blueberry compote. No matter how they are cooked, prepared, or preserved, blueberries are filled with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that can nourish and replenish the body.
Blueberry Jelly Trivia
- Blueberries have a low glycemic index. People with diabetes can still consume it without worrying about their spiking blood sugars.
- Blueberries have a high fiber content which can help against diseases. Eating blueberries is great for promoting good digestion. It also reduces the risk of acquiring chronic diseases and cancer.
- Blueberries are generally considered as heart food and brain food because of their nutrition components which protect the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Blueberry Jelly Buying Guide
Blueberry jellies are available in the condiments and jellies section of grocery stores and supermarkets. You can purchase either the commercially packed jellies or those produced by artisan families.
It’s best to buy blueberry jellies during the blueberry season to celebrate the blueberries’ prime flavors. Blueberry jellies also have an assortment such as with pectin, no pectin, all-natural, and low sugar. You can choose which one is best for your taste and preference.
Blueberry Jelly Production & Farming in Texas
Blueberries mostly thrive in the United States as they are one of the fruits which are native to North America. While it is effortless to plant blueberries in other states, it can be challenging to plant blueberries in Texas due to the hot climate and the alkaline soils. Blueberries usually thrive in northern climates with humid weathers, mild summers, winter chills, and acidic soils. However, some blueberry varieties have adapted to Texas.
Southern highbush blueberries can be grown in South and East Texas. Rabbiteye blueberries growing in the Austin, Dallas, and Houston areas include Premier, Powderblue, Climax, and Tifblue.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Jams, jellies, and preserves have four basic ingredients including fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar
Pectin is essential to form the gel-like consistency of jams and jellies. Adding the right amount of pectin would depend on the fruit’s natural pectin content. For instance, peaches and blueberries have very low pectin content. So, an extra amount of pectin is needed to achieve the desired texture.
Acid is essential to maintain the gel formation and as a natural preservative. Some fruits contain an adequate amount of natural acid. Meanwhile, others need additional acid which can be naturally derived from lemon juice. Artificial acids are discouraged since they can have harmful effects on the body.
Sugar also affects the gel formation, contributes flavors, and acts as a preservative. Honey is commonly used as a natural preservative. However, commercially produced jams, jellies, and preserves are usually mixed with artificial sugars such as sucrose, glucose, sucralose, and aspartame which can have a long-term damaging impact on a person’s health.
Safely canning jams, jellies, and preserves are essential to maintain their flavors and lengthen their shelf-life. The Boiling Water Method for Blueberry Jelly is one of the most reliable. To do this, prepare the canning jars filled with food and completely submerge them in boiling water at 212°F.
Certain measures should be done before doing the boiling water method. Check the cans to ensure they are safe for food packaging and consumption. Look for cracks, chipped edges, and even tiny scratches. Discard the jars if you can find any of these inconsistencies. This is an essential step since any small cracks or chips can be triggered by heat during the boiling process.
Also, check the rubber lid to ensure that there are no mold growths since any mold could spoil an entire glass. Never use the metal covers if there are patches or specks of rust since it can also contaminate the blueberry jellies, making them unsafe for consumption.
Enjoying Blueberry Jellies
Blueberry jellies can be enjoyed in countless ways. One of the most satisfying ways to use blueberry jellies is to add it as a filling to donuts along with cream or spread it to a bagel along with a thick layer of cream cheese.
Blueberry jellies can also be added as an accompaniment to cheese boards, grazing tables, or even a charcuterie board alongside different types of cheeses and preserved meats.
Properly storing Blueberry Jellies is essential for their maximum shelf life. As a standard procedure, any unopened preserves, jams, and jellies can be stored at room temperature for at least a year, given that those should be put in a cool, dry place, away from the direct heat of the sunlight.
Once opened, the blueberry jellies should be refrigerated and consumed within a week if made without preservatives. However, it can be consumed within two weeks or more if it is made with chemical preservatives.
4 cups blueberry juice (purchased, or extracted from 4 quarts of fruit)
4 cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin (1.75 oz)
Lemon Juice (optional)
EXTRACTING BLUEBERRY JUICE
- To extract blueberry juice from fresh blueberries, place them in a saucepan with 1 cup of water per quart of fruit. (This recipe requires 4 quarts of berries and 4 cups water.)
- Slowly bring the mixture up to a simmer, mashing the berries as they cook.
- Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, until the berries have completely fallen apart and released their juices.
- Strain the fruit through a jelly bag or a colander lined with a double-thick layer of cheesecloth. Allow the bag to drain for at least 2 hours, squeezing if necessary to extract more juice.
- This should yield 4 cups of juice. If you have extra, save it for other uses. If you’re short, make up the difference with another fruit juice (ie. apple, cranberry, etc) or reduce the recipe.
MAKING BLUEBERRY JELLY
- Prepare jars & lids. If canning, preheat a water bath canner.
- Place 4 cups of strained blueberry juice into a jam pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and add one box of powdered pectin. Whisk to incorporate and fully dissolve the pectin.
- Boil the pectin/juice mixture for 1 minute before adding sugar.
- Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
- Return to a boil and cook 1 minute before lading into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- If canning, process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.