If you've got the time, there are blueberries in Minnesota just waiting for you. You can pick your own one sweet summer day or grab a few pints when they're on sale at the grocery store or market. Without rinsing them, store in freezer safe containers or gallon bags and freeze just as they are. They'll be tasty all winter in smoothies, muffins, pancakes, or just on your yogurt. (Rinse just before using.) To say nothing of what they'll do for your health and memory. Just think how happy you'll be when you don't have to buy Fed Ex berries in January. Can you eat them just because they taste so very fine? But of course. Eat all you can.
The other day at Highland Grill, our breakfast server told us they were (so sorry) out of their homemade blueberry jam. Tiny seed in the back of the brain. A great deal on 2# of blueberries at the Whole Foods on Grand cemented the deal. Why couldn't I cook up a little conserve (thick, fresh jam)? In twenty minutes I was ready to lather it on peanut butter toast for breakfast, into Greek yogurt for dessert, or on top of waffles instead of syrup. No worries about canning; this is something to eat (or share with friends) as is within a few days. The lovely thing about this particular sort of jam is its small amount of sugar, though it still seems plenty, compared to many jams made for long-term storage.
Conserve is fruit or a mixture of kinds of fruit along with citrus or nuts cooked with some sort of sweetner, but without added pectin. The fruit is cooked down with sugar until it's thickened. After cooling, it's ready for your jam jar, the table, or the refrigerator. While much like a jam, this conserve is eaten while it's fresh (refrigerated, it keeps a week) or it can be frozen if necessary. (Store in freezer safe containers for up to a year, leaving 1/2" of space at top before sealing very tightly.)
Why not have a little jam with your antioxidants?
- 2 pounds fresh blueberries, washed and picked over (remove stems and leaves)
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 1t finely grated, clean orange peel (or more to taste)
- Dash of salt
- In a 4qt saucepan or a small stockpot, stir together gently all ingredients.
- Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat, but keep at a brisk simmer (stirring often) for about 20 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat if mixture begins to stick.
- Cool. Store in the refrigerator up to one week and in the freezer for up to one year.
Note: There are no hard and fast rules for making jam. If you like lemon instead of orange, by all means use it. If you like just blueberries, then make just blueberries.
For more info:
The U's Extension--About Making Jam in Minnesota
Check out Highland Grill; they make fresh jam.
Blueberries...they're good for you
Bette Midler's "Blueberry Pie" song