Wild Alaskan Blueberries for Blueberry Raspberry Jam With Pomona's Pectin
Preserves, Travel

Blueberry Raspberry Jam

Alaskan bog blueberries are also known as "bilberries."

Alaskan bog blueberries are also known as “bilberries.”

Now that I’ve (mostly) given up sugar, I make fewer preserves with it. By my count, I’ve made a sugared preserve just three times in the past year: fifty tiny jars of quince apple butter for favors at our wedding party last September, a small batch of Satsuma plum jam when a gift of ripe fruit unexpectedly appeared at my door this summer, and now this special blueberry raspberry mash-up that happened when we were at our Alaska cabin this month.

Getting to the point, I didn’t plan to post this recipe because, honestly, I didn’t expect it to turn out very well. But when Stewart said, “This is my all time favorite!” I decided to share. (You may want to take that comment with a grain of salt. If you search this blog for something like “best jam ever” you might find other instances of my number one jam fan saying the same thing.)

It wasn’t a bang-up blueberry year around the cabin and we had to work hard to pick six or seven cups of berries. But one of my closest friends is a serious blueberry fan and for her I will paw around for hours in the wet green bushes — shucks, everyone knows I would happily do that anyway — and spend what feels like hours picking off every one of the tiny stems. Because would you want your good friend getting blueberry stems all stuck up in her teeth? I know you wouldn’t.

With such a small amount of fruit, knowing I wanted to keep the amount of sugar low, I decided to use Pomona’s Pectin. The boxes I had at the cabin were about four years old and I didn’t know how that would work. Plus, I haven’t used pectin of any kind for a while and I was concerned I might end up with something like tasty rubber.

I do love a good surprise. What was surprising about this was: (1) Pomona’s Pectin keeps pretty much forever, (2) it’s possible to generate a natural set, and (3) running slightly short of blueberries was an excellent problem to have. Without enough blues, I had to toss in the last of the precious raspberries we’d brought from our friend’s Fairbanks garden. The raspberries made the cabin smell great and added a lasting and rich perfume to the jam.

Blueberry Raspberry Jam with Pomona's Pectin

I didn’t think I’d need photos of this jam, so this is what you get!

Blueberry Raspberry Jam with Pomona’s Pectin

3 ¼ cups mashed, raw wild blueberries, stems removed (about 6 cups to start)
¾ cup mashed, raw raspberries (a cup or so to start)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons calcium water
2 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin

  1. Sterilize your jars. (I do this because I process the full jars for less than ten minutes.)
  1. Combine the mashed fruit, lemon juice, and calcium water in a heavy-bottomed pot and stir well. (The box in the pectin packet explains what calcium water is and how to use it. Also, Pomona’s is great about answering questions.)
  1. Stir just 1 cup of the sugar into the fruit mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook it at a steady clip for ten minutes, stirring as needed to prevent sticking or scorching.
  1. While the fruit mixture is cooking, thoroughly mix the pectin into the remaining ½ cup of sugar.
  1. After the fruit has cooked for ten minutes, stir the pectin sugar into the rapidly boiling mix — don’t drop it all in there like a lump, shake it in gradually as you stir — then stir continuously for 2 more minutes.
  1. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour or ladle the hot jam into your hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims with a clean cloth if necessary, apply lids, and process in a hot-water bath canner for 5 minutes. (Add an extra minute for each 1,000 feet of altitude. At the cabin, we’re just shy of 2,000 feet so I add an extra two minutes to the processing time.)

Makes 4-5 half pint jars

Because all bears like berry jam

All the bears like berry jam.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

8 Comments

  • Reply Gloria August 26, 2015 at 1:07 am

    your jam looks delicious. I too picked wild blueberries this summer and it was a painstaking task. I decided to make a pie and I ate it all myself!

    • Reply Shae August 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      I bet that was a fabulous pie, Gloria! It really does take diligence to work the with these little wild berries. I haven’t figured out whether it makes more sense to try to separate them from their stems while picking, or after. I usually end up about half and half and that’s just fine. They’re worth it.

  • Reply Leslie August 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    What a delightful morning I had catching up with you. It was difficult to snap out of the sweet, languorous-ness (is that a word?) of your beautiful travelogue which I read from the beginning today. I look forward to more of your heartful writing, photos and keen insightful sharing.
    After I look up calcium water, I might try this jam as well.

    • Reply Shae August 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Oh, Leslie, did you really read all those new posts? Do you know that when I got home and looked through five weeks of mail, your wonderful anniversary card was the only personal piece in the whole huge pile? I cherish that, and I’ve set it up on the dining room table where I can look at it and then share it with S when he gets home.

      Calcium water is just the thing that activates this particular kind of pectin. It comes in the box! I hope you’ve had a great summer. I assume it hasn’t been too hot for you to bake. Is it ever? :-)

  • Reply Melissa Keyser August 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    The jam looks delicious, I wish I had a place to pick wild blueberries, but the purpose of my comment is for the stuffed bear.

    I have the same one, except pink (albeit VERY faded), whos name is Pinky. My dad gave it to me in 2nd grade when I broke my arm. I’m now 31, and it still lives on the corner of my bed. I tried ordering a new one for a friend years ago from the Gund website, but it just wasn’t the same. Seeing yours made me smile!

    • Reply Shae August 28, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Melissa, I love this comment so much. I have the pink one, too! I’ve had her since the 80s and she’s so faded you can barely see the little white crescent on her belly — also she’s really flat because sometime in the 90s I put her through the washer and dryer without a proper washing bag. (Did you know there are special bags for washing bears? They really work!) The bear in this photo has a special story. Because you know these bears, if you look closely, you’ll see he doesn’t have his original nose. Because of his defect, he somehow ended up hanging on a wall among a bunch of cheesy stuffed animals at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks. I noticed him right away and knew he had to be rescued. We played the game and a guy guessed Stewart’s age wrong by more than five years — so we got to take him home. He travels all around with me and his full name is Kantishna Harvey Blueberry E. Bear. Or Mr. Bear for short. :-)

  • Reply Links: Late Summer Jams, Soggy Pickles, and Winners - Food in Jars September 7, 2015 at 11:48 am

    […] Low-ish sugar blueberry raspberry jam. […]

  • Reply SocialTech360 August 24, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Mmmm! Keep the Blueberry Chronicles coming – this too looks delicious!