It would be a little cliché to say that this jam is my jam.
But if you look up the Urban Dictionary definition of “my jam,” you’ll find that the term is used to describe something you enjoy more than the majority of other choices within that category.
And if you lined up a dozen jams in front of me and told me I could only take a spoon to one, I would select this spiced blueberry spread, hands down.
So what makes it so special? All kinds of things. But let’s start here:
In addition to the fresh blueberries, this recipe leans on earthy spices like cinnamon, cloves, warm nutmeg, and fruity allspice to give it multiple layers of flavor.
This means it doesn’t just belong at the breakfast table. It can go anywhere.
I’m not saying spiced blueberry jam should tag along with you to work or school or the movies or anything – though you’re welcome to take your jar on the go. But its versatile personality gives it a place in a multitude of dishes.
Giving your brunch a boost is kind of a no-brainer, as the obvious choice for this condiment is to glide some over golden-brown whole grain toast or smear it over something like this banana bread with a cinnamon streusel topping that parallels the spread’s warmth.
But what about scooting it towards a more savory-flavored dish?
Packing runny brie inside flaky puff pastry is an epic move in its own right, but top that stunner of a snack with this sweet spread, stand back, and watch the crowd go wild. The intensity of the cloves hits your tongue right off the bat, and it’s pure perfection against the melty, buttery cheese.
Seeking something a little simpler? Try smearing toasted crostini with tangy goat cheese topped with a dollop of jam. Boom. Five-minute appetizer, when you’ve got some of this tasty spread on hand.
Call me crazy on this next one, but get outta here duck, duck, goose. I’m calling “all aboard!” on the duck, duck, spiced blueberry jam train. Who’s coming with me?
Think about it.
Duck is a moist, tender protein known for its particularly gamey notes. Its strong flavor profile makes it an ideal partner for fresh fruits like berries and dried fruit like dates. And lucky for us, part of the makeup of this masterpiece is a handful of dried dates for sweetness.
So between the blueberries, dates, and earthy spices that pair well with duck’s meaty flavor – duck, duck, jam is about to be your new favorite game.
I love accidental cleverness.
We called on agave this time around, instead of granulated sugar. And if you’re wondering why, here’s the deal:
The syrup boasts a subtleness that’s a wonderful addition to any recipe, and it’s a common ingredient in vegan cooking if that’s your thing. But if honey or even maple syrup is what you have on-hand, I promise I won’t send the sugar police to your door.
Maple syrup and honey can be used as substitutes in an even 1:1 ratio if agave isn’t your thing. If you opt for granulated sugar, however, you’ll need a full 2 cups of sugar plus four tablespoons of water to replace the 1 1/2 cups of agave syrup that’s called for in this recipe.
If it is, keep in mind there are several grades of the syrup available: raw, light, amber, and dark. Raw and light both have a very neutral taste and are on the delicate end of the spectrum, while amber has a medium intensity. Dark is rich like honey, with a more pronounced flavor.
I found that this recipe is so spice-forward and complex that the type of agave used doesn’t make too much of a noticeable difference, particularly since the dates already bring a sugary element.
To cap off what makes this jam my jam, there isn’t a pectin packet in sight.
All of my very first ventures with various styles of homemade fruit spreads required nothing more than a few fresh ingredients, a little pot, and a spoon. Well, and a bunch of Grey’s Anatomy reruns playing in the background.
It took some time before I was ready to dive into the world of gelling and jar sanitization (like we did in this peachy recipe), so a condiment made with ingredients containing natural pectin reminded me of concoctions from kitchens past. Blueberries and dates come fully equipped with a high amount of pectin, meaning these ingredients produce a jam that does just fine without the added packet of powder.
I also took the route of making this recipe refrigerator and freezer-friendly, as opposed to one that goes through the pressure or water bath canning process.
Although that disqualifies it from being shelf-stable, at the end of the day, I knew it would be too delicious to last more than a few days.
A cinch to whip up, this spiced blueberry jam is pleasantly punchy with a complex flavor, spiked with woody cinnamon and warm cloves. Get the recipe now.
- 8 cups fresh blueberries (4 pints)
- 3/4 cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (about 8)
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 large)
- 1 1/2 cups agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- In a large saucepot over medium-high heat, add the blueberries, dates, lemon juice, agave, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, mash the berries and dates until broken down, and then lower the heat to medium.
- Keeping the jam at a gentle boil and stirring often to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn, simmer uncovered until the mixture has thickened, about 20-25 minutes.
- Test for doneness by placing some jam on a plate and putting it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When you push your finger through the jam, it should wrinkle up and gel instead of seeping back into the gap. Continue boiling for 5 minutes at a time until it achieves this consistency.
- Remove the pot from heat and allow the jam to cool slightly. Ladle into airtight containers or jars, allow to cool completely before putting the lids on top, and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Jam
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Spreads
Keywords: blueberry, spice, jam, cinnamon
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather and Measure Ingredients
Rinse and measure the blueberries and prep the dates if yours are not pitted. Use a small, sharp knife to make a lengthwise slit through each date and peel it open to reveal the pit. Using your fingers, pull out the pits and discard them.
Using a larger sharp knife (such as a chef’s knife), roughly chop the dates into smaller pieces to help them break down easily in the pot.
Juice the lemons and measure the agave, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
You can substitute honey or maple syrup for the agave at a 1:1 ratio.
Step 2 – Boil and Mash the Fruit
Place the blueberries, dates, lemon juice, agave, warming spices, and salt in a large saucepot over medium-high heat.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, use a potato masher to mash and break down the blueberries and dates. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low to keep the mixture at a gentle boil.
Step 3 – Simmer
No need to cover the pot with a lid, but keep in mind that you may get an occasional splatter. Adjust the heat accordingly so the mixture is simmering as it cooks, but not splattering everywhere.
Allow the jam to simmer at a gentle boil, stirring often to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning. It will reduce and thicken as it cooks.
The jam is done when it is visibly thickened, in about 20 to 25 minutes.
The best way to tell if the jam is ready to take off the heat is to put a small portion on a plate and freeze for about 5 minutes. Nudge your finger through it and wait to see if the liquid seeps back into the gap. It should gel and almost wrinkle up.
If it’s still too liquidy, place the pot back on the stove to boil for 5 more minutes at a time and continue testing. If you’re working in a hot kitchen, you might want to put a plate in the freezer ahead of time for at least 15 minutes before you begin testing it.
Step 4 – Cool and Jar
Remove the pot from the heat, but leave the jam in there for about 15 minutes so it can cool slightly and continue to thicken.
Ladle the jam into airtight containers or pretty glass canning jars, but allow it to cool completely before placing the lids on top and refrigerating. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 1 month, but will not keep at room temperature as it has not been processed for this purpose and is not shelf-stable.
Serve over yogurt, with muffins or toast, or on crostini with soft cheese.
Who’s in Your Jam Band?
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a sucker for an eclectic orchestra of flavors that come together to create one harmonious recipe.
And while I may have compiled the members of my jam band with warming spices like cinnamon and clove, you might be in the mood for a different sound altogether.
What will you add to spruce things up and make this jam yours? Share your flavorful creations in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Pick up an extra pint of blueberries while you’re at the store and give the juicy fruit a new home in these berry-centric recipes next:
- Einkorn Breakfast Porridge with Maple Roasted Blueberries
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Buttermilk Waffles with Blueberries and Bananas
- Protein-Packed Breakfast Quinoa with Blueberries
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on July 16, 2015. Last updated on June 10, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”