If I want to make blueberry jam, which type of blueberry should I use?

I just bought a pack of blueberry, but I found that the flesh/pulp of them is not blue, but light green in color. When people say "blue"berry, do they mean the color of the skin only?

How many type of blueberries can be bought in markets?

  • All the blueberries I've ever eaten had insides that were a pale gray or green color. The skin is the blue part -- although it turns a nice purple when cooked. – Martha F. Jun 21 '11 at 18:52

Common names of plants are a very unclear matter. There are big differences not only between languages, but also regional differences within a single language.

There are lots of (closely related) plants which are sold under the name blueberry. And probably not even the person who grew (or gathered) them can tell you the exact species. While it does matter when it comes to jam (for the same reason it matters whether you use Roma tomatoes or Cherry tomatoes for a sauce) it is highly improbable to find a source which can consistently provide you with a specific known variety. Also, you probably have to study some very specified botanical literature and be provided with parts of the plant other than the berries in order to be able to identify the type with some degree of accuracy.

On the other hand, don't let that come in the way of good jam. Blood orange marmelade may taste different than bitter orange marmelade, but both are good. The same goes for blueberries: you can use any variety, even if some of them would be a bit better on their own.

What you need for a jam is a good sweetness to acid ratio, the proper amount of pectin, and as much aroma as possible. A softer texture also helps to prevent unpleasant lumps. So generally, you want to go with the ripest fruit available. They are soft, and have the fullest aroma. This is something you might want to consider with your current source of berries: maybe they're not a special "green on the inside" variety, but only underripe. If they don't taste very sweet, and their aroma isn't very complex, I'd try to find other sources. Farmer's markets and organic stores are usually able to sell much better fruits (because they cater to a picky, price-inelastic clientelle), but of course they cost a lot too.

Sweet fruit is always good, but you need enough sugar added for food safety. A ratio of 2:1 (fruit to sugar) can still be kept in the pantry, more fruit than that and you need to refrigerate the unopened glasses too. With blueburries, you'll need to add both pectin (to get the jam to gel) and acid (to get the pectin to work). This is the part which will vary with fruit variety: more watery types will need more pectin, and less acidic types will need more acid. If you want a good quality jam, you'll need to do some experiments until you get the proportions right. If not, you can buy "jam sugar" or however it is called in your country - this is sugar with pectin and acid already added. It won't have the perfect ratio for your fruit, but it will more or less work. But then, if this quality is enough for you, you can skip buying the expensive berries and slaving at the stove, and buy manufactured jam.


i'll also just add that, from my own experience (last week!) making blueberry jam, the blueberries i bought are exactly as you describe (what i think of as a common, ordinary blueberry), and during the cooking process the jam turned into the dark blue color i expected.

  • This is my experience as well. The color comes from the skin and infuses through everything. Grape jellies I have made have been exactly the same. – Sobachatina Jun 21 '11 at 16:43
  • When I buy blueberries, they are usually purplish on the inside, and colour everything without cooking (e. g. a smoothie). Of course, they are probably bilberries rather than blueberries, the distinction isn't made here. Still, good to know that the "green" fruits are usable too. – rumtscho Jun 22 '11 at 7:40

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