Blueberry Lemon Zest Jam

by Rachel on August 19, 2011

Blueberries and Lemon Zest

My childhood friend Helen has been visiting this week.  What cracks me up about Helen is that once, long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, she could not cook to save her life.  My how times have changed.  In her adult life, my friend Helen is an award winning, jam and jelly making DIVA.  She has won so many prizes in the New Mexico State Fair she’s lost count and had to build an annex onto her Albuquerque digs just to hold all of her awards.  This is Helen’s award winning Blueberry Lemon Zest Jam – which won first prize at the New Mexico State Fair in 2007.

Blueberry Lemon Zest Jam (makes about seven 8-oz jars)

  • 2 tablespoons of julienned lemon peel, chopped (see photo for reference)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 cups blueberries, crushed
  • 4 cups sugar, measured EXACTLY
  • 1 package, commercial pectin (we used Sure Jell)

Jam, Jam, Jam

Place empty jam jars in dishwasher.  Run the dishwasher and leave the clean jars in the dishwasher until you need them.

Place the jam lids and rings in a medium pan on the stove and bring to a boil.  Leave the lids and rings in the pan until you need them.

Put two small plates in the freezer.  You’ll use them in a bit.  Ignore them for now.  Put a canner on the stove.  Put in the rack.  Fill with water to 1-2 inches over the height of the jars you are using.  Bring to a boil and then turn off.

Place lemon peel, ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar in small saucepan and simmer for five minutes over medium heat until the peel is soft.  Strain the peel.  Toss the sugar water (preferably not AT anyone) and keep the peel.

Add the cooked peel to the crushed blueberries.  Place crushed blueberries, lemon peel and pectin into a heavy pan (I use a medium-sized Dutch Oven).  Stir.  Carefully measure the sugar.

Bring the fruit and pectin to a full rolling boil.  Once it reaches full rolling boil, add the sugar.  Bring back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Turn off heat.

Pull one of the small plates out of the freezer.  Put a drop of cooked jam on the plate.  Check to see if the jam has jelled.  It will literally look like jelly if it is done.  If it has jelled you are ready to fill your jars.  If it hasn’t jelled, turn the heat back on and boil one more minute.

To fill your jars successfully I recommend using a funnel.  Place it in your jar.  Pour in the hot jam until you reach ½ inch from the rim of the jar.  You cannot get jam on the rim.  If you do, the jar won’t seal and your jam won’t keep and you’ll be terribly sad.  Using a sterile device (like a canner magnet) pull the lids and rings out of the hot water bath.  Put on your lid and ring.  Tighten.  Place filled jars in the hot water bath and boil them for exactly five minutes.  Remove from hot water bath and set on counter to cool.  You should hear the lids pop as they seal.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristem August 19, 2011 at 7:35 am

Next time you make jam try using Pamona’s pectin. It’ll allow you to cut WAY back on the sugar. You’ll also be able to share with people who have corn allergies because it made from citrus rind instead of corn.

Rachel August 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

I’ve tried all kinds of Pectin. I’ll give Pamona’s a shot next time. Thanks for the advice!!

Myra August 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I literally JUST made a peach-blackberry with lemon zest jam!! That lemon zest gives you such a nice tangy ending to your bite. It’s one of our favorite batches to come out of the 130 lbs. of white peaches we pulled of the tree this year! :)

Avf August 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

How did you julienne the lemon peel?

Jacki August 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Sounds lovely! I may give this a try!

SB Canning August 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Do you have a picture of the final jar? Love the concept of all the peel.

Rachel August 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I used a vegetable peeler first, and peeled all of the peel off of the lemon. Then I used a paring knife and sliced the peel into the long thin sticks you see in the photos. Finally I used a large chopping knife and chopped up the the long sticks. Does that make sense?? I was hoping that the photos would help explain the process.

Rachel August 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I will photograph the jars and post the photos. I’ll do it tomorrow. Promise. I liked these pictures so much I went with them – but if you want photos of the jars, then photos of the jars you shall have!!

Rachel August 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Myra – peach-blackberry with lemon zest sounds AMAZING. Are you going to post the recipe on your blog???

The Sustainable Sweet & Savory Gourmet August 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I have a giant bag of organic blueberries frozen from the farmers market…this will be perfect to try! Blueberries & lemons are just meant to be together! Thanks for sharing!

lani August 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I made a blueberry lemon jam a few years back and everyone went bananas for it. This sounds almost the same…yummmy….Thank you I will post it on my canarella facebook page….. page…

Rachel August 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

The Sustainable Sweet Savory Gourmet – I agree, blueberries and lemons ARE meant to be together – especially on my plate!!

Rachel August 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

Lani – thanks for reposting!!

Rachel August 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

Lani – I tried to find your facebook page and failed. What is it called? Could you post the link here?

Rosemary R August 20, 2011 at 8:36 am

You shouldn’t have to use pectin at all with that amount of lemon peel, which is high in natural pectin.

Rachel August 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

Rosemary – you certainly can skip the pectin, but you’ll need to boil the fruit quite a bit longer. I’m partial to jams that aren’t cooked quite that long, so I go with the pectin. That choice is certainly up to you.

Rochelle August 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I’m new to canning and have two questions.
1. Can I do this with fine grated zest?
2. Can I use liquid pectin?
Any other hints, blogs, or websites are greatly appreciated!

Rachel August 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Rochelle – you can absolutely use fine lemon zest if you prefer it. You can use liquid pectin but you’ll need to follow the package instructions on the right amount of sugar to fruit. Those ratios vary depending on what kind of pectin you’re using.
Good luck!!

Patty October 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

Sounds delish! We make a lemon marmalade using Meyer’s lemons. Since they are a lemon orange cross they’re already sweet. I suppose I wouldn’t use the sugar in the rinds with this type of lemon?… Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to try it.

Rachel October 25, 2012 at 8:31 am

Do you mean you wouldn’t sugar the rinds for this recipe, or for a different recipe? I don’t sugar them for this one, but you might need to do it for others.

Patty November 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

This recipe (Blueberry-Lemon jam) calls for rinds to be boiled in sugar water. I think I would just boil them in water with no sugar since they are a sweeter lemon. When I make marmalade I boil the rinds in just water, no sugar-so I think it will work with this recipe too.

So are you altering the recipe too, and not using the sugar with the rinds? Just trying to clarify…

Jessica July 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

This is AWESOME. I love this jam it’s the best. Nothing should be changed it’s perfect. It looks beautiful and spreads to perfection. And the flavor is so good. I like jam and want it to taste all that it can be and this is it. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I googled it and yours sounded the best. I used a Julianne and vegetable peeler for the lemon it worked great if you want to give that a go.

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