Few foods are as much fun to make as blueberry jam. From the plunking of the berries hitting the bucket while you pick them to the pop of the lid after the jars have finished processing. Each step of the process is more satisfying than the one before. Perhaps the best part (and I’m sure that Sam, Aunt Katydid’s middle child, would agree) is the smashing of the berries.
We decided to make a small batch with the kids so they could learn the ins and outs of canning jam. Our recipe called for 2 cups of mashed blueberries, four cups of sugar, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and a package of liquid pectin (which I advise using if your helpers are plentiful and all under the age of twelve). Not that you should listen to me or anything.
I also advise setting the ingredients out ahead of time because by the time you have measured everything out — the kids have scattered all over your property and have chased the chickens up a tree or disemboweled your car. Just remember that I warned you.
If you have several youngsters involved in your canning project, have them sort the blueberries and pull out the little stems. Keep in mind that you should double check their finished product even if you have an excellent dental plan. No one likes to chip a tooth on blueberry hedge bits.
Bring the mashed blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil and add the pectin. Wait until your mixture returns to a boil. Let boil for a full minute and remove from heat. Thank your sweet stirrers for helping during all that. Now to fill the jars! (That’s Willy, Aunt Katydid’s oldest young ‘un filling jars like a pro.)
More jar filling by Sam (Aunt Katydid’s middle child, remember?). Sam, by the way, is wearing a bathing suit. I just thought I would let you know. We have a pool and the kids were just about to get in it. Anyway, after placing lids and rings on their little jars of blueberry jam, we processed the jars in a boiling water canner for ten minutes (enough time for people to change into swimwear). And we were off to the pool to cool off!
Have you ever attempted canning with children present? What did you make? Do you have any advice because I am about to embark on doing this sort of thing with three or four children on a fairly regular basis and I am VERY open to suggestions.
Read about picking the blueberries in Friendship Harvest: Blueberries and Tranquility
Sheri - Horrible resource for you here; I have never canned! I can say that the blueberry jam looks heavenly and I would help you eat it though. Your Aunt Katydid’s saps are cuties, love their intense expressions!
CrossView - Wha fun! No advice here excpet to just go for it! There will be messes but who cares??!!
YDavis - Won’t have any advice for you as I have no little ones of my own.
I enjoyed looking at the photos of your little helpers. They look like they are pros! 🙂 Especially Willy…look at his concentration…and noticed his expression while Sam was filling the jar…like he was thinking “yup, that’s right, that’s the way to fill the jar”
Rosa - Cute pictures! I love blueberries! No later than this afternoon, I baked a Blueberry Cornmeal Pudding…
Valarie Lea - Well since I have to work, I don’t get to do this. 🙁 But my MIL does with my kiddos and she seems to do just fine with putting to them to work snapping beans and brushing corn and stuff. 🙂
Kath - I always ask the kids to pitch in. They always do without hardly any grumble as they LOVE the finished product.
Their favorite thing to “can” is sweet relish. Then they take turns cranking the grinder and seeing all the veggies turn to “goo”.
I love home-canned goods!
Auntie Katydid - Thems is some awfully purty youngins’. Good thing they look just like their Daddy! (Uncle Grumpy!) We had a ball yesterday. They came home and told Daddy allllll about it. And they are looking forward to doing something fun next week.
PS — The work situation worked out. I am no longer employed and everyone is still on good terms with everyone else involved. I’ll try to call you later and tell you all about it.
CC - I make jam in the middle of the night so that I won’t have to deal with kids at the time!
Dawn - Yummy. I just planted blueberry plants this year and they had berries on the plants and I have enjoyed them through grazing. I look forward to having a nice little blueberry orchard. We are enjoying Saskatoon Berries right now. They are about the size and shape of blueberries, but more purple and less cloudy looking. They have a bit bigger seed in the center and have a different flavour. They make good jam too. As for advice, I let my kids watch and sometimes stir, but really, didn’t include them when they were younger. I found it too much stress for me. My kids do know how to cook as we have always had fend for yourself breakfast and lunch and they have all been taught to cook meals and can do that. The canning then is a matter of following instructions and remembering mom did it all the time, it can’t be that tough. I have canned a lot of things. I don’t have a pressure canner yet but I have done the hot bath canning.
Mrs darling - I was thinking to myself, ” She’s making blueberry jam and leaving the peelings on?'” I was about to ask you how you managed that when I realized that you were going to cook the jam. My poor girlfriend made blueberry freezer jam and the peelings were so bad nobody ate it. Shall I tell you a secret? I have all these blueberries at my house and Ive never made blueberry jam. Alos, Ive never bought a jar of jam in the 19 years Ive been married! So you see Ive been freezing jam just not blueberry jam! Now I shall make a batch of blueberry jam this week!
Sophie - Your blueberry jam looks so delicious! If you want, I will hire you to do the canning for me, next summer!!!
Mommie of Five - My kids and I can all the time. They enjoy watching me can things from 4 berry Jam, to homemade sala. Its a true gift to be able to eat what you grow in such a yummy manor. GL all 😀