One of our favorite summer outings is to an area blueberry farm called Rush River Produce near Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. On a clear day, the scenery is truly breathtaking. Picture rolling hills, manicured farmland, gorgeous flower gardens, eager and welcoming owners, and berries…rows and rows of sweet juicy blueberries. Blueberries may be the easiest berry to pick and are perfect for kids as they can quickly fill their baskets (think instant gratification). Not to mention that blueberries are less perishable than other freshly picked berries, so you won’t have to rush home and prepare them before they lose their newly-picked luster. If you haven’t tried blueberry picking before, I highly recommend it. It’s great family field trip (not to mention all of the blue bounty that you bring home with you!)
With four of us picking berries, we end up with pounds and pounds of them. I usually freeze my extra berries to use when I need a little taste of summer during the doldrums of winter. Freezing blueberries is super simple. Just place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, pour them into a ziploc freezer bag, and they are ready to use whenever you are in a baking mood. I had a few cups of berries left after all of my berry freezing and baking, but I really wanted something more savory rather than sweet. After a few tweaks and tastes, I ended up with this quick and easy Blueberry Jalapeño Refrigerator Jam. I’m not a canner (at least not yet!), so this is my version of a similar product I find at our local farmer’s market. The jalapeño gives the berries a subtle, sweet heat that is made savory with few tablespoons of onion-y shallot.
I loved this Blueberry Jalapeño Refrigerator Jam on top of some warm buttermilk biscuits, but I also think it would be an excellent topping for grilled chicken or pork. That is, if you don’t eat most of it out of the saucepan like me…
Looking for other blueberry recipes? We’ve got em!
2 medium jalapeno peppers with seeds and membranes removed, finely minced
3-4 tablespoons of finely minced shallots
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low and continue a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes or until jam starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
This recipe makes a little over a cup of jam. Feel free to smash up the berries with a potato masher while they are cooking if you prefer a “smoother” jam. My berries were pretty small, so I didn’t mash them up, and I really like how chunky the jam turned out.