Here is an embarrassing story… When I was about four years old I politely declined a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from my aunt because the jam wasn’t homemade.
Maybe I was a food snob even then.
My mom, grandmother and great grandmother made countless batches of jam every summer, and I just didn’t understand that everybody didn’t do the same. Frankly, I still don’t. Even the best store-bought jams are usually a pale comparison to those lovingly preserved at home with freshly picked fruit. It seems like a very good investment in time, energy and dollars to me. My jam making has evolved over the last couple decades – from overly sweet freezer jams of my teenage years to my low sugar, wildflower jellies of today. It was somewhere a few years back now that I started experimenting with flowers and fruit. My first batch of blueberry lavender jam was a resounding success.
The first time the aromatics of the blueberry lavender jam hit me, I knew it would be wonderfully good. Deep dark berry tone, freshened by floral and clean notes – this blueberry lavender jam is summer in a jar. I am never without lavender these days… As an herbalist, I have it dried in jars, fresh in the yard and essential oil by the ounce. Blessed to have a friend that is a blueberry farmer and another that is a berry crop research scientist for Oregon State University, my access to amazing fruit is pretty darn great. When I combine fruits and flowers, I often pair those which reach the zenith of their season simultaneously. Here is western Oregon, the early blueberries varieties are peaking just as the lavender is reaching full bloom. A perfect, purple match.
Blueberry Lavender Jam Notes
A few notes on making a perfectly lovely blueberry lavender jam… I actually prefer to infuse the simmering fruit with lavender, rather than leaving whole bits of lavender in the final jam. I tie a small bundle of 5-7 sprigs of fresh lavender together to infuse the cooking jam. Alternatively, you may also fill a reusable muslin tea bag with dried lavender. Either method will still result in a delightfully aromatic blueberry lavender jam. I also employ my favorite Pomona’s Pectin here to provide excellent jam set with very little sugar compared to other brands of pectin. I have tried this as a pectin-less jam, but I found the results too runny. If I tried to reduce it to desired thickness, the jam resulted in a somewhat “cooked” flavor and lost the floral aromatics. So good ole Pomona’s for the win…
Blueberry lavender jam is a simple spin on a classic that I am sure will delight even the snobbiest of PB&J pre-schoolers…
Blueberry Lavender Jam Recipe
- 8 cups lightly mashed blueberries
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 5-7 sprigs fresh lavender, tied in a bundle (or 2 tablespoons dried lavender tied in muslin bag)
- 2 cups raw, organic sugar
- 4 teaspoons pectin
- 4 teaspoons calcium water (see Pomona’s package directions)
- Mix pectin and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring blueberries, lemon juice, lavender and calcium water to a gentle simmer. Continue simmer and stirring very frequently for 10 minutes to infuse lavender into jam.
- Add pectin/sugar mixture and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, until completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Remove lavender bundle or sachet.
- Ladle into sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe rims of jars and screw on lids and rings, finger tight. Process in a water bath canner at a full boil for 10 minutes.
- After processing, remove jars from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check for seal and store in a cool dark place. Will keep for up to a year in pantry, refrigerate after opening.