The seasons for local summer fruit where I live are so fleeting that one could miss them within a couple of days. Cherries and apricots are often gone within a week’s time. Because local blueberries are so prevalent, it’s easy to become complacent, thinking they’ll be there to pick – or buy at the farmers market – throughout the summer. Not so. With local blueberries waning, it was time to put some up for the winter. Inspired by the delicious blueberry and basil sorbet of a few weeks ago, I decided to make a jam with similar ingredients, substituting aromatic lemon basil for the Genovese basil. I think lemon and blueberries have an affinity for each other. In another version, I might also add lemon zest and more lemon juice, both of which would help the jam to gel.
4 c blueberries
1 c sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (2 tbsp)
½ c leaves of lemon basil
Combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Tie the lemon basil leaves in a small muslin sack and sink it in the middle of the berries. Let macerate for 2 hours or as long as overnight.
Prepare jars for water bath canning. Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.
Bring the fruit mixture to a boil, skimming off the foam (you can add a dab of butter to control the foam.) This will gel in about 10 minutes.
Ladle into hot jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to a counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes 4 four-ounce jars plus extra for tasting.