(Cue dramatic music: Dun dun DUN!)
Instead, I’m going teach you to make lemons when life hands you lemonade … by which I mean how to make a quick jam when you accidentally buy terrible fruit. Yes, I know that was confusing. My apologies.
The story goes thusly: My local grocery store had blueberries on sale. I was happy to purchase some, since my kids eat them like they’re going out of style. My happiness was short-lived, however, because these were just awful. Instead of the gloriously tangy flavor I expected, this sad fruit was bland and mealy. I literally could not eat them.
Since I’d already bought them, however, I was stuck. Some people might have tossed the blueberries, as a matter of principle, but I felt that wouldn’t work, since we haven’t yet got a money tree growing in the back yard. The world’s largest and most vicious, thorn-laden blackberry? Yup, that’s back there. But no dollars as of yet. Therefore, I knew these bad berries needed rescuing.
(Do y’all enjoy step-by-step photos of recipes? Personally, I just want juicy pictures that make me hungry but lots of people seem to enjoy it. I’ll give that a go today. Mind you, I was holding the camera in one hand and cooking with the other — in addition to the fact that I take photos about as well as a clever two year old. I’m getting better, but I have quite a lot to learn. So the photos mightn’t be the most exciting ones you’ll ever see. I suggest you lower your expectations, and come along with me on this photographic journey.)
1. Wash the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blueberries. Put them in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add lemon juice…
…and a pinch of salt…
…and the sweetener of your choice to the pan. (Mine is maple syrup, because that was what I grabbed first from the cabinet. Honey would be even more fabulous.)
3. Realize that you forgot the herbs. Step out to the garden and pluck a few leaves from this gorgeous thing.
4. Bring the leaves inside. Wash them, stack them atop one another, roll them into a little bundle, then slice into thin ribbons (this is called a chiffonade, and is a handy technique for all sorts of dishes).
5. Turn off the heat. Stir in the shiso chiffonade (say that ten times fast!), along with some chia seeds.
7. Set aside to cool (approximately 30 minutes). If served immediately, this is more of a compote; as it cools, the jam becomes firmer.
So there you have it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Except that it’s blueberry jam, not lemons.
The children and I ate the heck out of this with a couple of batches of tasty paleo pancakes. This is also delicious as an addition to a cheese plate.
- 1 lb. fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh shiso leaves
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Wash the blueberries and drain them. Put them in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add lemon juice, salt and maple syrup. Cook until the berries start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make a chiffonade of the shiso leaves.
- Remove the blueberry mixture from the heat, stirring in the shiso leaves and chia seeds.
- Set aside to cool (approximately 30 minutes). If served immediately, this is more of a compote; as it cools, the jam becomes firmer.