Full of New England's Finest Blueberry Jam

Okay, I’ve been sneaking straight spoonfuls from the jam jar all week. Can’t help it really. This blueberry jam is addictively indulgent in small doses. It’s also a deep purple color that really shouldn’t exist in nature. I’m starting to think it shouldn’t exist in my fridge, either.

It’s definitely special: rich with a hint of spice and a blueberry flavor that’s deepened by balsamic vinegar. I’ve been finding excuses to have it all week. It’s pretty easy, see:

Soap scum on your shower curtain screaming, “clean the bathroom?” Have a procrastination spoonful. Lose at bingo? Have a B48 consolation spoonful. Looking for love in all the wrong places? Have a lonely hearts club spoonful. Out of whiskey? Have a drunkard’s spoonful.

I first made this jam with a friend a few weeks ago. It's now waiting, rather patiently, to be the wedding favor for her nuptials next year in Vermont. We took the recipe and times ten-ed it. (If you have 80 plus friends you plan on giving this jam to, go ahead, give yourself a spoonful.)

Did it take long to sterilize the jars and can the multiple jam batches? Yes. Was it worth it? Oh, yes.

So much so that I decided to make another batch, just for me. This time I divided the recipe in half and stuck most of it in the freezer. New England’s finest berries and a lot of love went into both batches, but—sweet heavens—it certainly helps when you can finish up and have the dishes washed in well under an hour.

While the blueberries in Massachusetts this season seem even better than usual, sadly summer is ... slowing. So it helps to know I already have a pint of jam stowed away in the freezer. Like a squirrel, I’ve started stockpiling frozen blueberries and other related goods for the colder months. I’m relying on them to get me through.

So if I say all I need to get by is this recipe, am I a little full of it? Yes. But at least some of it is blueberry jam. I guess you could say I’m full of New England’s finest.

New England Blueberry Jam
Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders


2 pints blueberries
2.25 cups sugar
2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz balsamic vinegar (preferably aged)
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients, except the vanilla extract, in a large pot; cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the juice starts to run from the berries; once this happens, stop stirring and cook the mixture for 1-2 minutes more. Then increase the heat to high and continue to stir frequently until the mixture boils.

Once the mixture boils, cook it for about 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the mixture starts to stick. Begin testing the jam to see if it is done after about 10 minutes more of cooking. (See first note below.) Once the jam is ready, stir in the vanilla and place the jam in a container to store in your freezer until you are ready to use it.

Yields 1 pint (2 cups)

-The jam will continue to firm up after it has finished cooking, so you'll want to test the jam for doneness prior to when it looks like it is at a "jam consistency" on the stovetop. To do this, place a small plate with a few metal spoons on it in the freezer a bit before you'll want to test the jam (an hour or so). When you are ready to test to see if the jam is at your desired consistency, place half a spoonful of jam on one of the freezer spoons and return it back to your plate in the freezer for a few minutes (3 minutes or so, until the bottom of the spoon feels like it is at room temperature). Tilt the spoon to see if the jam runs; if it doesn't run it is ready. If it runs, continue cooking and retesting the jam every few minutes.

-The jam should last a few months in your freezer. If you are planning to go through it rather quickly, you can just store it in your fridge. (You could certainly can the jam too.)

-The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is a wonderful investment if you are "into jam." Worth every penny. It was also nominated for a 2011 James Beard award for photography. The photos are fantastic, but the recipes are beyond.

-Saunders notes this recipe is a spin-off of more traditional, old-timey blueberry jams, which mainly utilized balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice. Including a little lemon adds brightness to jam.


  1. I definitely want to hear about these jam favors. We're thinking of doing jam for our wedding favors and would love to pick your brain!

  2. Blueberries have been amazing this season. Your jam looks fabulous!

  3. I want to go to that wedding...in Vermont AND blueberry jam for favors? Bliss.

  4. Some of the best wine I ever tasted was a blueberry wine in Maine. There's just something about New England blueberries. Add some love to the recipe with those berries and I can well imagine why the jam is so wonderful. Using home made jam as wedding favors is genius.

  5. Michelle, I'm definitely here for advice about the jam! We canned a bunch of 4 oz jars (a little over 80). It took about 6 hrs start to finish, with the two of us. The Blue Chair Jam cookbook is a great resource for jamming too. If you want to meet up to chat about it I'd be game for that too! Just let me know.

    Mom Chef- blueberry wine sounds lovely. Maine is still on my list: I haven't been yet (oh the shame).

    Maris-saw you did a post on blueberry jam too! We are on the same wavelength. ;)

    Sue-You're 100% correct: I can't wait for that wedding!

  6. having grown up in new england (+ picked many a blueberry), this sounds amazing! they're also in season down in tennessee + we're planning to go pickin' next weekend so i'll be making some jam as well. happy eatin'!

  7. You've sold me on this! They way you wrote about it makes me think I need to make some right now! Your paragraph about finding reasons to have some made me laugh too!

  8. i adore blueberry jam and have definitely been known to eat it by the spoonful. that said, there's very little more frustrating that going through the whole jam-making process and having it not set up. grr. :)

  9. Oh I could totally enjoy this all by itself by the spoonful. Looks amazing!

  10. This jam sounds delicious and a perfect give away for a wedding! What a lucky bride to have such a creative and good friend!

  11. I know I've said this before, but I REALLY enjoy your writing style...the first part of this post had me laughing, "Out of whiskey? Have a drunkard’s spoonful." Just great!

  12. Aw shucks! Thanks folks. Warm blogger comments? I think I'll have another spoonful. ;)