mapleblueberrypreservesI went to grad school with Laena McCarthy, founder of the Brooklyn jam company Anarchy in a Jar. We didn’t know each other; she’s a face I remember from the hallways. But we ended up as Facebook friends during that time, and I’ve followed her updates as she founded her company and built this really cool artisanal jam empire. I became especially interested after I got the bug to start canning a couple of years ago when Meredith started (which reminds me that I still have museum photos to post from the summer). What is about librarians and canning? I also met Meredith in grad school.

Anyway, when Laena published her cookbook Jam On last year, I bought it. But I didn’t really get a chance to dive into it until this year. Last month I made her Easy Like Sunday Morning Blueberry Preserves with the fresh local blueberries I bought and froze over the summer. I had been hoping to get my hands on wild Maine blueberries (which this recipe calls for) during our road trip in August, but every farm I called and emailed had sold out within days of our arrival in Maine. I spiraled a lot over that one, but these preserves are pretty amazing with good old local New Jersey berries–I always have a bunch in the freezer for muffins all year, and I used my entire crop this year on these preserves. Well worth it.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Blueberry Preserves
Makes 4 8oz jars or 2 pints

2.25 cups blueberries about 6 cups)
3.5 cups sugar
2 ounces maple syrup
2 Tbsp lemon juice

First you have to wash and stem all the blueberries, which does take forever. The recipe calls for a 2-day process; first macerate the berries with all of the other ingredients for an hour to release the juices.


Then measure 6 cups of the fruit into a nonreactive pot and bring it to a simmer over high heat. Simmer until bubbles start to form around the edges.

mbpreserves4Then pour them into a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours to let the juices really get going.

The book has a ton of advice on canning, prepping your jars, etc. I stick my jars and lids in the dishwasher to really clean them, then I stick them in the canning pot and let them simmer until they’re ready.

So when it was time to finish the preserves I put the fruit back into a nonreactive pot and brought it to a boil on medium-high heat. The recipe says to skim the foam off the top, return to boiling, and cook on high for 5 minutes. Skim again, return to a boil.

Repeat until the syrup reaches a temp of 221 degrees F on a candy thermometer (this is the gel stage). Fill and seal the jars.

The recipe calls for a 6 minute boiling water bath; I have to admit, I loved the short processing time on the recipes in this book. Some of the canning recipes I’ve tried have at least a 30 minute processing time, and I always wonder what the benefits of that are vs. possible effects on the flavor.

This was enough time to properly seal the jars, and this stuff was so good. I sent a jar to a fellow GeekMom in a gift swap we just held, and I hope she likes it as much as I do. The maple syrup is so fantastic, and I love the name of these preserves. Perfect Sunday morning stuff.