Blueberry Lime Jam

I do love blueberries on their own, but sometimes you just need a little something extra to really bring out the flavour of a berry. If you are looking for a jam that really kicks it up a notch, you’ve come to the right place. Adding the juice and zest of a lime or two really enhances the flavour of the blueberries and makes a delicious jam. This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The only change that I make is to use a lower sugar pectin and less sugar, and two limes rather than one, but here it’s written as in Ball.

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Ingredients:
4.5 cups crushed blueberries
5 cups sugar
Zest and juice of 1-2 large limes
1 package of regular pectin (or use low sugar pectin and adjust sugar accordingly)

Here’s what we did:

Prepare the canner, jars and lids. This yields around 6 half pints unless you reduce the sugar.

In a stainless steel pot, combine the crushed berries, lime juice, lime zest, and pectin. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.

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Bring the jam to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add the sugar all at once when the boil is reached, and return to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, then remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Fill the hot jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids, and tighten the bands finger tip tight.

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Process the jars in a boiling water bath canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water for 10 minutes, starting the time when the water reaches a full rolling boil. After the 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Cool the jars 12-24 hours, remove bands, check seals, wipe clean, label and store.

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Garden update, and more on the potato box!

I have been meaning to do this update for aaaaggees and I’m not sure why it keeps getting delayed. And every time I go to do it the plants have grown even more and I need to take new pictures. It’s crazy how fast everything is growing! So here we go finally, the first day of summer and the garden is booming!

The peas have reached the top of the fence and are going crazy 🙂 We’ve also got 4 tomatoes and the zucchinis in the side garden.

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The first zucchini of the season is growing! Look at that cutie pie.

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I’ve harvested my rhubarb twice already and look at it! Many more rhubarb treats still to come. I’m not sure if it’s the climate here or what, but rhubarb grows amazingly well.

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I went for 4 tomatoes in the front of the house, and more throughout the raised beds, 12 in total. This year I did lots of romas, san marzano and grand marzano, then 1 grape tomato, an early girl, and an Oregon spring. Lots of canning in my future! Last year the san marzanos were amazing so I am super excited for them again this year.

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But speaking of tomatoes, we did have one problem with our tomatoes last year. Man! While I don’t claim to be an expert gardener by any means, I will make one recommendation here from what I learned. If you haven’t already, get out there and mix some lime into your soil. Quickly! Like now before even finishing reading this! The picture below is blossom end rot, and it can be caused either by calcium deficiency or inconsistent watering. I definitely watered those babies well, like obsessively well, so I think I must have had a calcium issue. I guess low calcium in the soil prevents plants from absorbing other nutrients properly. Determinate tomatoes are more prone to getting end rot because the tomatoes all come in at once, creating more stress on the plant. You can just cut the end off if it’s not affecting the whole tomato, but I am really hoping I limed enough to avoid it this year.

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And here is the whole yard! I’ve got lettuce for days!

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OK, now let’s talk about the potato box! The idea behind growing potatoes in a box is that as the greenery grows up taller, you mound the dirt around them, add more layers of box, and presto, you’ve got potatoes! It’s a great way to grow potatoes, especially in a small area, mine is only 2 feet by 2 feet. When I first decided to build one, I tried finding others who had success with it. I watched a bunch of youtube videos of excited gardeners opening up their boxes, and most of them were complete failures! Very few or no potatoes 😦 So, instead of realizing maybe it doesn’t work, and deciding not to build one, I thought I’d see if it would work for me. We shall see! Last year I got them started a little too late, but still had some potatoes, so I am excited to see how it works out this year. They sure are growing lots of leaves, hopefully there are taters under there!

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My other beds include more tomatoes, peppers, beans, herbs, edamame, beets and stevia. I also have a bunch of dill growing in random places because I had some go to seed in the garden last year. It’s going to be ready way before the pickling cucs, dang it! And it looks like I forgot a picture of my beety delciousness. Next time I guess!

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The marigolds I started from seed aren’t too happy, but I’m hoping they start busting out soon.

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And the alyssum I also started from seed. They were looking teeny and pathetic, so I planted them anyways… now they just look weird and sad. So we’ll see what happens there too. They have a few flowers, but look kind of weird. Not sure what went wrong, oh well.

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Cucs and carrots. These babies are looking good 🙂 I could have got the carrots in a little sooner than I did, but oh well, we’ll have lots soon.

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OK wow, I realize there were a lot of exclamation points in there. But I am so excited for summer!! YAY GARDEN! This year I stuck with mostly tried and true favorites, with the addiction of stevia and edamame. What are you growing? Any new adventurous plants?