As a parent of young children, I can no longer think about the concept of jam without the image of Dr. Gru from Despicable Me 2 popping into my head, maintaining in that Boris Karloff/drunken Slav accent of his that he is no longer a villain and is on the straight and narrow:
If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about, because you have seen this movie approximately 8,000 times and know all its ins and outs, including how the Minions become purple and evil. If you’re not, or haven’t seen the movie, I won’t spoil how the Minions turn evil, but I will tell you that Gru is giving the law-abiding life his level best by abandoning projects like stealing the moon for tamer pastimes like creating fruity spreads–and more power to him. I have a feeling he and the Minions would put out some pretty tasty stuff.
Since we’re talking jams and jellies and tasty stuff, allow me to introduce you to this ridiculously easy blueberry jam, which does not require an army of Minions. Have you ever heard of a jam that 1.) doesn’t call for pectin and 2.) takes 20 minutes start to finish? Right, me neither. Most jams and jellies involve a real commitment in the kitchen. This jam, on the other hand, can be slapped together in the time it takes to watch a New Girl episode (or a Ninjago, if we’re going to stick with the kids’ entertainment theme). It may or may not end up being cheaper than store-bought blueberry jam, but if you hit the grocery store/farmers’ market/berry patch on the right week, it just might. Even if it doesn’t, though, making your own blueberry jam is a fun way to give yourself and your family a homemade, delicious breakfast treat on toast or muffins, or even to give a friend or neighbor as a thoughtful little gift. Without canning, this jam will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It could also make a lovely cake filling or an unusual “J” in a PBJ. I know I’ll definitely be making it again!
Easy Blueberry Jam
(From Fine Cooking)
4 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. white sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1. Place the berries and 2 Tbsp. water in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Using a potato masher, stir and mash the berries until they are bubbling around the edges of the pan, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until dissolved, about 1 minute.
2. Add the lemon juice, increase heat to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 218 degrees on a candy thermometer, 8-10 minutes. (If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can do the “cold plate test”: place a small amount of jam on a spoon on a plate in the freezer. Check the consistency after a couple of minutes. If it has jelled to your liking, it is done.) Remove the pan from the heat and let cool 5 minutes.
3. Transfer to a heatproof, airtight container and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.