Bursting with delicious blueberry flavor without the skin, this blueberry jelly is sure to be a favorite way to preserve your summer blueberry harvest year after year.
Blueberries are one of my kid’s favorite fruits and one of the few fruits we grow on our one-acre homestead. While we often freeze and dehydrate blueberries, making them into a flavorful jelly is one of our favorite ways to preserve their delicious flavor all year long.
I’m usually a huge fan of things like raspberry jam, fruit spreads like my Christmas jam and strawberry preserves that leave the large chunks of fruit, but for blueberries, I prefer jelly. Blueberry skins are quite bitter, and I’m not a fan of the texture they make blueberry jam into. So, this is one of the few fruits I prefer turning into jelly.
Using ripe blueberries is essential so that the flavor really shines through, but that also means that there is virtually no natural pectin in the jelly. Making it next to impossible to make blueberry jelly without added pectin. You can make your apple pectin at home, but the results aren’t foolproof and will require copious amounts of sugar to properly gel since apple pectin is liquid.
I use a box of low sugar powdered pectin which seems to provide reliable, reproducible results and allows the fruit to shine in the recipe. You can use regular pectin if you want to use equal amounts of sugar and fruit or Pamona’s pectin if you’d prefer.
I do not recommend using liquid pectin, though you can, because it will require more sugar than fruit which, to me, defeats the purpose of preserving the fruit, to begin with.
How many blueberries do you need?
Blueberries do not make much juice, so you’ll need quite a lot to make just a few jars. Four cups of blueberries will yield slightly over one cup (an 8-ounce jelly jar) of juice. The blueberry jelly recipe I’m sharing will require 16 cups of blueberries and produce 4 jars of jelly.
You can use fresh blueberries, frozen blueberries (which I find provides more juice), or even blueberry juice if you can find it.
Please note, that my blackberry jam which can be multiplied up to three times, jelly doesn’t have that kind of forgiveness and you can only make it in small batches or it won’t gel.
How to Make Blueberry Jelly
Making your own blueberry jelly is really pretty simple. This recipe only requires blueberries, sugar, and pectin to make and you can either refrigerate it and use it within two weeks, freeze it and use it within one year, or can the jelly to make it shelf-stable.
- Water Bath Canner
- Canning Jars & Lids
- Canning Set
- Stock Pot
- Jelly Bag & Stand
- Blueberries (four cups for every jar of jelly, up to 6 jars)
- Water (one cup for every four cups of blueberries)
- 1 Box Low- Sugar Powdered Pectin
- 2 Cups Sugar (honey can be substituted)
Step 1: Prepare Jars & Canner
Begin by washing jars and lids in hot soapy water and preparing your canner, if you will be canning the jelly, by filling with hot water that goes over the top of the jars.
Step 2: Prepare the blueberries
Wash and sort your fruit and place 16 cups of blueberries in a large pan with 4 cups of water. Mash the fruit in the bottom of the pan using a potato masher. Over low heat, bring the mashed fruit mixture to a simmer.
Simmer the berry mixture for 10 minutes, allowing the berries to fall apart and release their juices.
Step 3: Strain the juice
Carefully pour the hot berry mixture into a jelly bag fitted to a stand over a large bowl. Allow the mixture to drain for at least two hours, squeezing the bag intermittently to help it along. Otherwise, let it sit for hours and the fruit juice will eventually strain out.
Step 4: Make the jelly
Add the strained juice, which should be about 4 cups of blueberry juice, and bring it to a full boil over high heat.
Next, add the box of pectin to the boiling juice and whisk it to incorporate it completely.
After the pectin is incorporated boil the mixture for one full minute. Next, add the sugar. I prefer to use pure cane sugar, but you can use another sweetener, including honey, in its place. Do not add the sugar first or you’ll have syrup that will never gel.
Return the jelly mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for an additional one minute.
Step 5: Check for gel
After the jelly mixture has boiled for one full minute, remove it from the heat and place a clean, dry spoon in the mixture. Pull the spoon out of the mixture and see if the jelly drops off in “sheets” which is two drops at a time forming a sort of sheet.
If the mixture does not properly gel, you can add a bit more pectin and sugar and allow it to boil hard again for one full minute.
Step 6: Ladle into jars
Once your jelly is finished and properly gelled, you can ladle the hot jelly into jars, it is now ready to cool and eat. You can also freeze it, just be sure to leave headspace and use straight-sided jars so they do not break in the freezer.
We prefer to can our jellies and blueberry jelly is no exception. However, this is completely optional.
Step 7: Can jelly (if preferred)
Ladle the jelly into 8-ounce jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove any bubbles and adjust for headspace if necessary.
Wipe jar rim and center lid on the jar. Place ring and tighten just past finger tight. Carefully place jars in the prepared canner.
Place lid on canner, bring water to a boil. Process half-pint jars for 10 minutes.
Uncover the canner, and allow the jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing them to a towel-lined counter. Leave the jars undisturbed on the towel-lined counter for at least 12 hours before checking for proper seal. Store the jars in a cool, dark place.
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One of my favorite recipes, this blueberry jelly is low-sugar, which really allows the fruit to shine and is the perfect way to preserve your summer harvest of fresh blueberries.
- 16 Cups Blueberries (substitute 4 Cups blueberry juice)
- 2 Cups Sugar (substitute honey)
- 1 Box Low-Sugar Pectin (1.75 oz)
Make Blueberry Juice
- Place 16 cups of blueberries and 4 cups of water into a large saucepan. Using a potato masher, mash the fruit.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat.
- Continue simmering the mixture for 10 minutes until the berries have fallen apart and released their juices.
- Carefully pour the fruit mixture into a jelly bag fitted on a stand over a bowl and allow the mixture to strain for 2 hours, squeezing intermittently to release the juices.
Make Blueberry Jelly
- Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and prepare a canner, if using.
- Place four cups of blueberry juice into a pan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once a rolling, full boil is reached, add one box of low-sugar powdered pectin, whisking it in until it is incorporated. Continue boiling the mixture for one full minute.
- Add in two cups of sugar, return the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for an additional one full minute.
- Ladle hot jelly into prepared jars, leaving 1/4" of headspace. Process jars for 10 minutes.
- Uncover the canner, and allow jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing them to a towel-lined counter.
- Leave jars undisturbed for 12 hours before checking for proper seals. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. If a proper seal was not made, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.