Old-fashioned Blueberry-Basil Preserves

I love using descriptors like “old-fashioned.” They are completely undefinable (from the time of yore?), and conjure images of everything on the shelves at your local Cracker Barrel.

(In case you’re wondering, other adjectives falling into this category include old-timey, prairie-style, country — oftentimes spelled with a “k” — and grandma’s.)

But I’m coming up empty on finding another name for these preserves. Honey-sweetened, commercial-pectin-free, and lacto-fermented. Seems like the way our great-great-grandmothers likely had to make jam, yes? On the prairie or in the country, no doubt.

My motivations for making them this way should come as no surprise: I’m still not eating sugar, which leaves most jam recipes out of reach — and I’m totally into fermenting things these days. Give me a jar of just about anything, and I’ll stir a little whey into it, let it sit on the counter for a day, and let those good lactic acid bugs multiply (granted, the honey in this recipe probably halts that growth a bit, but they do still grow, according to what I’ve read in Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation — ahem, many thanks to Suzanne for the weekend book loaner! It’s now on my to-acquire list!).

Oh how I heart this jam. The high salt content helps with fermentation but also lends a delightful surprise flavor component to what we’ve come to expect from jam (read: candy-sweet). Simmering the berries with honey helps bring out their natural pectin — so once chilled, the jam really does jelly up (though some liquid does remain). I’ve recently been allowed one slice of Ezekial bread each day on my diet, and don’t think every one of those precious slices hasn’t included this jam, since the day it was ready.

Old-fashioned, somewhat near a prairie. I think I’ve found my kountry urban calling.


Blueberry-Basil Preserves (lacto-fermented) on Punk Domestics

12 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Blueberry-Basil Preserves

  1. This is a very interesting recipe. I make cheese, kefir and yogurt at home, so I have plenty of whey to experiment with. I like your glass jar šŸ™‚ And I also don’t use pectin and often use honey to make my preserves. Thank you!

    1. Simona, I found that jar at a yard sale for a quarter, the week I picked blueberries. It seemed like fate ; )

      1. I should keep my eyes open for yard sales. I actually have one (only) very similar to yours, maybe a bit smaller. I don’t remember where I bought it. I have not used it for food, but I think I am going to change that.

  2. What an interesting recipe idea! I can see how basil would work here…I’ll definitely have to try this recipe out, thank you for sharing!

    1. Jen, make sure you bump up the basil quantity if you’re looking for a more substantial presence. Enjoy!

  3. We’re going blueberry picking this week (since we just moved to Maine), and I can’t wait to try this one out!

    1. Whoa, you’re already there! Maine seems so fitting for you guys ; ) Can’t wait to see pics and here stories.

  4. Katy, I made this over the weekend and what an interesting flavor! Mine was most definitely fermenting (active bubbles this evening). I like it and my husband does too.

    1. Rebecca, I’m so glad you guys like it! I have fallen hard for it — on my last of 3 jars, wondering what in the world I’ll do when it’s gone ; )

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