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 | By Michelle DiFranco

Blueberries in the Freezer?

Treat yourself to sweet homemade jam

A couple of months ago, it all began. Cancellations of large events, followed by cancellations of schools and then … the cancellation of Mass. News of the pandemic was changing every minute for the worst … it was something that, for most of us, felt unreal. I vividly remember one day needing to unplug from reading the headlines and just walk outside for some fresh air. It was a beautiful and crisp sunny day. I heard a bird chirping in the distance and noticed a few small patches of lawn starting to green up. One thing was certain not to change … that spring was just around the corner despite what was happening in the world.

I thought of the passage in Genesis 8:22: “All the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” The sunshine that day, and the gloriousness of God’s creation, reminded me that he is faithful to us, and has this in the palm of his hands. It brought tremendous peace.

Well into our quarantine though, the anxiety crept in. We were getting low on foods we consumed regularly. One of them was fruit jam. Since we did not want to venture out to the store, my husband tried to convince me we could go without it. What!? With three kids and all of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we consume … I slowly began to panic.

I ran to our basement freezer to see what items I did have for the next several weeks. Amongst the frozen pizzas and meats, I noticed several gallon bags of blueberries from last July’s blueberry picking. I was elated, and decided I would get the whole family involved to make our own blueberry jam!

A couple of weeks later, I stepped outside on the patio to enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with homemade blueberry jam. The grass was even greener, and I could hear the birds all around me. Amidst the uncertainty in the world, one thing was certain — summer was just around the corner. I savored every bite of the blueberry-covered toast, since it reminded me of the warm July morning they were picked. But the moment also reminded me that God’s faithfulness to Noah in the book of Genesis is the same for all of us, an inheritance that is everlasting. Filled with hope and knowing that God provides us with all of our needs, I felt at peace.

Easy Blueberry Jam

(Yields about five 8-ounce jars)

  • 6 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Small wide-mouth jars (washed if freezing, sterilized if canning)

In a medium stockpot, crush some of the blueberries with a potato masher. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring often for about 18-20 minutes (so it thickens). To test the thickness, put a small dollop on a frozen plate. If it’s still runny after about a minute, it needs a bit more time to boil.

Ladle into small wide-mouth jars (to ¼ inch below rim). Cover and let sit until containers are almost room temp. Refrigerate for 3 weeks or store in the freezer for up to a year. This recipe works for the traditional canning method too! Just follow the safe canning instructions.