I love making jam. A few summers ago I roasted in my kitchen in Queens making batch after batch of jam from peaches I picked on several outings in Connecticut. The season ended with well over a hundred mason jars of varying sizes and specialties, which my siblings and I packaged with homemade breads and chocolate for our families at Christmas. It was wonderfully fulfilling.
And hot. And sticky. And sometimes infuriating.
So when I picked up a few containers of the most plump looking blueberries the other day, knowing that I have a recipe with jam to make for the Burwell General Store Vintage Recipe Swap, I approached my kitchen with both delight and trepidation.
Problem: I hate regulating temperature for jam. Problem: I hate how much sugar most non-gelatin recipes require and I don’t use artificial sweeteners. Problem: I have a big writing contract to kick start tonight and don’t have time to swelter in my non-airconditioned kitchen while I constantly check the gelling stage I mastered all those years ago.
Solution! Use the berries three ways to get even more sweet, lip-smacking lusciousness out of them. Straining the jam at the first stage will give me lots of delicious juice for a syrup and the jam can be thickened a bit so the whole shebang can be done quickly.
For the recipe swap I have to make a variation of a jelly cake. And these swappers don’t mess around, so not only do I want to make something completely homemade and as natural and gluten-free as possible, but I also want to kick things up a notch after my Baked Potato Cake disappointment last month. So why not use the berries to make jam for the recipe I’m brainstorming, plus make a syrup to infuse into a sweet martini to go alongside?
I’m excited by this.
So this extremely easy recipe makes a Blueberry Ginger Lime Jam, a Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Syrup and a Smoking Blueberry Martini. Just in time for a just-less-than-sweltering summer night in the city.
- 4 cups of ripe blueberries, rinsed and de-stemmed
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 5 limes
- 2 Tbsp freshly zested ginger
- 1 tsp tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- yummy vodka
- Place blueberries and sugar in a thick-bottom pot and place over medium heat.
- Zest ginger directly in pot, so fine that it almost has the consistency of a paste.
- When the berries start to bubble a bit, zest two limes directly into pot, and add the juice of those two and a third.
- Boil until the juice is completely released and the berries are soft.
- Strain the mixture over a stainless steel bowl until almost all the juice is out but the berries still retain a bit of moisture. Return berries to pot.
- Juice the remaining two limes into a bowl and whisk in the tapioca starch until it’s dissolved.
- Slowly whisk the lime/starch mixture into the blueberries until combined.
- Remove jam from heat and pour into a stainless steel bowl. Refrigerate until cooled completely.
- To the syrup, add the cayenne pepper and whisk to dissolve. Remove to refrigerator to cool completely.
To make a scrumptious martini: chill a martini glass. Use a bit of vodka to line the rim of the glass and then dip into white sugar. Fill with 1 ounce of blueberry syrup and 2 ounces of cold vodka. Alternatively, place the two in a martini shaker over ice and strain into glass.