Fresh blueberries, a gift of the mid summer.  When
they are truly fresh they  send off an aroma that is reminiscent of those fake blueberry donut bombs from Dunkin
Donuts (you know, the cake donuts with the tiny violet dots in them) but in this case the aroma is from nature..
not a test tube.  There is an abundance of them this year and New Jersey is one of the growing states for them.
So, as luck would have it, living here gives me access to sweet bush ripened blues, not those ones shipped in
from Chile, probably picked when green and ripened in warehouse conditions.  We have way too many of them in
the refrigerator so before they went bad, I decided I would make preserves with them.. Are you scared yet?
Don't be.  Jelly and/or preserve making is not a difficult process unless you plan on making a ton of it and canning/
jarring them.  This will be a guide to making just enough to keep them in your refrigerator for up to a month, and
no canning/bottling etc etc necessary..  Feel free to do that if you wish, I make enough to last for about a month or
so.    You do need to get pectin...I used the SureJell package, you may choose your own. Pectin is a natural fruit
powder which is made from apples and creates the "jelly" in jelly. 

     Back growing up in the wilds of Staten Island NYC, we lived in a wooded area..Blackberries, wild blueberries,
raspberries, mulberries and concord grapes all grew in the surrounding woods.  Throughout the season, we
would take to the woods with pots or baskets and pick as much as we could.  Inevitably the berries would get
a boatload of sugar poured over them (horrors!!) and they would melt into the sugar to create a colorful mass
 of mushy sweet fruit.  After we were sick to our stomachs from the sugar berry shock, Mom would take the un-
sugared fruit and concoct pies, or preserves with them.  I sort of remembered how she did it ( of course I watched
every move she made in the kitchen, or, this would be a very, very dull blog).  So, according to memory, this is
how I made the New Jersey Blueberry Preserves.
   For this recipe I used 2 pts of picked over and washed
blueberries.  Added them to a pot and with a potato masher beat them up a little. Then added in a measuring cup, 1/3 of
the SureJell Pectin packet, 1/2 cup sugar, blended them, then added them to the pot.  then added 1/8 cup of water, and
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice...DON'T USE REALEMON PLEASE!!!  ..we're not rationing lemons, use the actual
product.  Add 1/4 tsp. ground cloves. Now mix well.  Place on medium heat and bring to a slow boil.
When it begins to boil, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 tsp. of lemon zest.  Stir in well. Let it come to a rolling boil and then
let it boil for 1 minute.  Then remove from the flame.  It is imperative that you stir constantly through this process so
the sugar doesn't burn or crystalize.
    This is what it should look like, fragrant,
berry purply blue with a hint of spice and lemon...key word is hint.  Too much lemon and spice will overpower this
and make it potpurri-esque.  Great for a Yankee Candle, not your toast or scone.
Let this cool down for 10 minutes then pour into a plastic container. Let this cool for 1 hour or more before you
cover and refrigerate it.

     See how nicely it has jelled? Please just say yet
and humor me because it really did jell nicely.  Serve this with toast, bread, croissants, scones, muffins, you
name it. 

  The preserves should not be
liquidy (is that a word?) and stay on the spoon like in the above picture.  So try this out with this summer's bounty
of fresh berries.  You'll feel like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show....a real country recipe for today's modern
and twittered up world.


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