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.
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!