I just returned from our summer vacation to Oregon. I love Oregon’s coast during the summer when the inland valleys are 90 degrees and the coast is shrouded in low clouds, fog and temperatures in the 60’s. While driving on highway 26 from Portland to Cannon Beach you start to see signs for picking your own fruits and berries. Blueberries, blackberries, marionberries, apricots, and cherries were in season this last week and they were at the peak of their season. I could not help but stop and get some fresh Oregon Blueberries. The plan was to bring a basket back and make blueberry jam. Well, the berries never made it to Cannon Beach! Less then an hour after buying those blueberries they were in my stomach.
One of the cool things about the Northwest is that wild berries grow along the side of the road in many places. These berries ripen and fall to the ground as thousands of cars and humans pass by at 65 miles per hour. It is a foragers dream to stop on the side of the road and pick berries to your hearts content. We stopped by a particularly prolific blackberry bush with the largest, sweetest berries I have ever tasted. These blackberry bushes were growing wild in a thicket the size of a basketball court.
My favorite berry of all is the blueberry. Several years ago while fishing for salmon on a remote river in Alaska, I picked handfuls of wild blueberries and ate the sugary masterpieces on the side of the river watching brown bears catch spawning salmon. Oregon blueberries seem to be larger then the ones I picked in Alaska but they were just as sweet as the ones I gorged on that day on that remote salmon stream. My favorite way to eat blueberries is in a jam. Blueberry jam on fresh warm buttermilk biscuits with melting butter are heavenly. I have included a short video recipe of my favorite blueberry jam recipe for your review.
Even though I ate all the Oregon blueberries I bought on the side of the road before I had a chance to make jam, I was able to find fresh, plump Oregon blueberries at Costco. I could hardly tell the difference and the ones at Costco were very fresh. I hope you enjoy the video recipe and get a chance to can some blueberry jam yourself this summer!
- 4 cups fresh blueberries
- 3 cups sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid fruit pectin
- Place blueberries in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a stockpot. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, lemon peel and nutmeg. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 5 half-pints.