Homemade Blueberry Jam with Rum
It's Quick Pickling and Preserving Week on Betty Eatz and today we are making homemade blueberry jam with rum. Making jam from scratch might sound daunting, but I assure you it is not. It is easy to put together and done in less than 30 minutes.
First, let's talk about toast.
How is it that toast is so wonderful? I may not be hungry, but the moment I smell toast being made by someone in my house I want some, too. It smells so good.
There is something cozy about the aroma of bread baking, and maybe that’s what makes toast such a comforting smell. Thanks to the browning caused by radiant heat from an oven, toaster, or even campfire, slices of bread become toast.
The process is called the Maillard reaction.
French chemist Louis Maillard first described the chemical reaction in 1912 after conducting experiments in protein synthesis. Scientists have since discovered that when the Maillard reaction takes place and all the lovely browning occurs, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. These compounds produce even more flavors.
Maybe this is the answer to why toast is so wonderful. But perhaps it’s also the jam.
I used to get together with some mom friends when my kids were younger. We would make jam while our kids played. Between the crates of berries, pectin, hot water baths, and tongs, it was quite a sticky production.
The resulting jars of jam were spread between peanut butter sandwiches and plopped on yogurt. My favorite way to eat it? On toast.
Years later, I’m still making jam. It’s still delicious. But now, I don’t use pectin.
Pectin is a starch that is found naturally in some fruits. Powdered pectin is added to jams, jellies, marmalades, and preserves during the cooking process to quickly thicken and produce a gel-like texture. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t add longevity to the shelf life.
You don’t have to use pectin to get your jams to gel, however. Pectin alternatives include agar agar, chia seeds, cornstarch, gelatin, and tapioca starch. Also, citrus!
This recipe uses lemon juice to help set the jam.
- If you don’t want rum in your jam, leave it out. The jam will still be delicious.
- Want a more pronounced rum taste? Cook the jam and then stir in the rum at the last moment. If you add more than a tablespoon the jam will be loose and runny.
- Don’t despair if you don’t have a candy thermometer. You can eyeball the jam to see when it has thickened enough. It will continue to thicken as it cools down.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp rum
- Place berries, sugar, lemon juice, and rum into a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
- Immediately reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes. Smash some of the berries with a potato masher about halfway through the cooking time.
- The liquid in the saucepan should start to thicken. Test the mixture if desired with a thermometer to see if it has reached 220 degrees F/104 C.
- Ladle the jam into clean pint-sized mason jars and let cool. Then, seal jars and store them in the refrigerator. Eat within 2 weeks.