With the end of summer right around the corner, and an overabundance of blueberries (from a recent local blueberry picking adventure) and one massively large zucchini (I guess when you go away for two weeks the little zucchini just grows and grows until it becomes a giant one), I got to work yesterday using up my bounty. After freezing most of the blueberries, I decided to use what was left in a couple of recipes.
I made a large batch of blueberry jam and several loaves of zucchini/blueberry bread. I know, the bread probably sounds weird, but it’s actually super delicious! It is now my favorite treat.
The jam will keep on the shelf for up to 18 months (if you are successful in “preserving” it) and the bread will keep in the freezer for several months, if you don’t end up eating it all up as soon as it comes out of the oven. (Not naming any names, but maybe that’s what kinda happened in my house.)
*A few notes before you get started: You can make the following changes - decrease the amount of sugar by at least 1/4; use canola oil instead of coconut oil; use regular flour in instead of white whole wheat flour; use walnuts instead of pecans - but if using nuts, only use 1/2 cup of blueberries. And, finally, I always set my timer for at least 10 mins less than a recipe calls for when baking for the first time. Every oven is different.
Preheat your oven to 350*
Grease the bottom and sides of a standard loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment (or wax) paper.
1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamon
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of grated zucchini
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 - 2/3 cup of blueberries
optional: 1/4 cup chopped finely pecans
Sift the flour, then combine it with the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, on medium high, mix the sugar and egg together well. With mixer on low (or using a wooden spoon), add zucchini, oil, and lemon peel until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture, folding it in until just moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries (and nuts if using them.) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake on a rack centered in the oven for 55-60 mins, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 mins in the pan, then turn out onto a rack and continue to cool completely before slicing.
End-of-Summer Blueberry Jam
*A few notes before you get started: I love this recipe, from the cookbook Against All Grain by Danielle Walker, because it is easy and is made with no refined sugar and STILL is so sweet and delicious. How? Honey! (I like my jam a little bit tart, so I tend to cut the amount of honey I use.)
In order for the jam to be “shelf-stable” for up to 18 months, you have to be sure the canning process is successful. (I cover that extensively below.) If it is not, and you will know, you can store it in the refrigerator. However, it will not stay fresh nearly as long. You can use frozen and thawed blueberries for this recipe if you don’t have fresh ones.
Things you will definitely need: large pot to sterilize the jars and lids in, small canning jars with two piece lids (a disk and a rim), magnetic lid lifter, and jar lifter - these serve to preserve sterilization of jars and lids if you plan to keep preserves for a period of time before using. I also recommend a silicone canning mat, although I’ve read it is not necessary.
Tips: In order to “preserve” the jam, you will need to sterilize your jars and lids. And you can do that in either a large pot or using your dishwasher. If you use DW, be sure to time the end of the cycle for when the berries are cooked, so they should be put into the jars as soon as they are ready to go. Because my DW takes so long to run a cycle, I used a large pot and timed it so that the sterilization step started 10 mins before the berries were finished cooking.
SERVES: this recipe fills three 8-oz jars, but you can double or triple the recipe if you wish to make more.
9 cups blueberries
2 1/4 cups honey (you can use less depending on how tart your berries are)
6 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 teaspoon lemon zest
Place the blueberries (remember to completely thaw if using frozen) in a large sauce pan (or a large pot if you are making more than one batch) and crush them with the back of a fork or using a potato masher. Add the honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently while the mixture boils for 15-20 minutes and it starts to thicken. The best way to test if it’s done is to put a spoonful in the freezer for 5 minutes. If it won’t easily pour off of the spoon when you remove it from the freezer, then it’s done. Sterilization process - While the jam mixture is cooking, place a large pot of water, with the jars and lids immersed, on the stove over high heat. As it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium and let it remain on a low boil until preserves are ready. This should take about ten minutes. When the jam is ready, skim off any foam in preparation for ladling it into the jars. Using a jar lifter, remove one jar from pot of hot water and place on counter. Using a large spoon, fill jar with preserves, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Using the magnetic lid lifter, remove a lid from the pot of hot water, making sure the two pieces are in-tact, and screw lid tightly onto jar. Continue until all of the jam has been jarred. You now have two options - 1) store the jam in the refrigerator, for a couple of weeks or 2) “process” the jam using the canning method below. This will allow the jam to be shelf stable for up to 18 months.
Use a large pot for the canning method. Place a silicone canning mat on the bottom of the pot and put the filled jars onto the mat - you should be able to fit three to six depending on the size of your pot. Fill the pot until the jars are covered with two inches of water. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat slightly, but still at a boil, and continue to boil for at least 10 mins.
Using the jar lifter, remove the jars from the pot and place upside down on a dish towel, leaving them for 20 - 30 mins. If the canning process worked, the disk part of the lid should be indented tightly and will not move. This is how you know the canning process has been successful, and the jam should be shelf stable for up to 18 months. If the dick is not tight and moves then you should store in the refrigerator.
I hope y’all will give these recipes a try and please let us know how they turned out! Also, if you have a special recipe you would like to share with our Jaya community, please send Hilary an email. We would love that!
Enjoy these waning days of summer.. before you know it, we will be talking about pumpkins and cranberries.