For those unfamiliar with uncanny‘s whereabouts, we’re nestled at the farthest south-east tip of New Brunswick, on the border with Nova Scotia. Oxford, Nova Scotia, a little town about half an hour away that has the honour of being the wild blueberry capital of Canada. With our acidic soil, we produce some really great blueberries, both wild and highbush.
Since wild blueberry season is still a few weeks off and anxious for blueberries, my family and I decided to head out to a highbush blueberry u-pick. The highbush blueberry is about triple the size and is incredibly easy to pick. While I normally hold off until wild blueberry season, Mr. Uncanny has recently become a real homebrew whiz and after a very successful batch of strawberry wine, he decided to try his hand at blueberry wine and it turns out highbush is the way to go.
With a scant 1 lb remaining from the 8 lbs we picked, I decided to make the highbush blueberry shine with the help of some citrus and some citrusy herbal goodness growing in my garden. This jam was a lot of fun to make for two reasons: 1. I’ve never made a micro-mini batch of jam 2. Small batches are perfect for the fridge and I didn’t have the heat and steam of a boiling water bath on a hot summer day and 3. I rarely make jam for home consumption. People love to joke about how much jam we consume and it’s true, we love our jam and find unique ways to eat it, but truthfully, it’s the dribs and drabs after I’ve finished bottling them. Most jams get purchased and it’s only in the case of very large yields or double batches that I keep a jar for our use.
I humbly present to you my ode to the highbush blueberry and my entry into the Can You Can It? contest:
Highbush Blueberry Lemon Verbena Jam
Yield: 2×250 mL jars
1 lb highbush blueberries, washed and stemmed
1 lemon, quartered, sliced thinly with middle membrane removed (see photo)
7 leaves of lemon verbena, rinsed and sliced
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1. Put saucer in the freezer.
2. Place quartered, sliced lemon with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water and simmer over low heat until lemons have softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add in blueberries and lemon verbena and increase heat to medium.
4. Stir until blueberries begin to break down and add remaining 3/4 cup sugar.
5. Continue boiling over medium heat until the gel point is reached on your frozen plate test. For me, it was about 5 minutes.
6. Pour into jars and refigerate, or, pour into sterilized jars and boil in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I enjoyed it almost straight away and admittedly, the citrus is outnumbering the lemon verbena, but I know better than to judge a jam by it’s first bite. Time and mellowing can do wonderful things with a jam and I have no doubt the herbal citrus flavour will shine through. If not, it’s still tasty! Enjoy!