Go Blue Blueberry Jam – local food and easy

Something sweet for you U of M locavores – blueberry jam!

There are not that many blue foods in the world, but fortunately there are Michigan blueberries.  All of the Locavorious blueberries this year came from Dave & Kathy Sodt’s berry farm just north of Jackson, Michigan.   I discovered this summer that a local artisan jam maker, Ferrall Fruit, was also using Sodt’s berries to create his local jams.   Eric Ferrall said a good rule of thumb for jam making is to use 60% fruit (by weight) to 40% sugar….except that our Michigan blueberries and strawberries are so naturally sweet that 30% sugar is enough.   OK, so I gave it a try making some blueberry jam out of our frozen Sodt’s berries and MI beet sugar, and wow, it’s a winner.  I brought some of this blueberry jam with me to the Homegrown Festival as well as the Westside Farmers market to give everyone a taste of what you can do with top quality local food.

One 10 oz package of Locavorious blueberries

5 oz by weight sugar – Michigan sugar beet sugar of course.

Yes, that’s all you need.

Place the frozen blueberries in a stainless steel saucepan, and turn the heat to medium.   Stir occasionally as the berries thaw and melt.  When the berries are mostly thawed and juicy, add the sugar and stir a lot to combine it.  Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.   Reduce the heat to bring mixture to a low boil; partially cover.   Here’s a great trick – stick in a thermometer.  I’m sure it’s better advice to use a jelly thermometer, but I don’t have one, so I just use a digital meat thermometer.  Let the jam simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Careful when you stir, that the jam splatters don’t get you.   When the temperature hits 220 F you have jam!  Remove from heat and let cool a bit, then transfer to a clean pint jar.    If you don’t have a thermometer handy, you can do the cold plate trick to see when the berries jell:  after about 20 minutes place a small amount of boiling jelly on a plate, and put it in the freezer for a minute or so.  If the mixture gels, it’s jam!

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