When people think about serviceberry recipes, jam always comes to mind. This serviceberry jam is infused with vanilla and just the right amount of sugar. Not too sweet, not too tart.
And it could not be easier. This jelly is made without pectin and is a freezer-style jam. But we have included instructions for canning as well.
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From serviceberry muffins to my famous serviceberry galette, which is like a rustic pie, I have been keeping busy with these little berries. They are only in season for a short time so let's get to it!
📖Why This Recipe Works
Serviceberries also called referred to as a juneberry or saskatoon berry, are in season for 2 to 3 weeks between June and August depending on where you live. Given that these delicate little berries are only around for a short time jams and jellies are the perfect way to preserve them so you can enjoy them all year long.
Jam is the perfect way to use up serviceberries. When properly cooked the jam requires no pectin. And this is a freezer jam, so no special canning skills or equipment is required.
Jams can use up to 1:1 ratio of berries to sugar but I find that two sweet. We are closer to 2:1 ratio. Lemon juice adds the required acidity to preserve the jam, regardless if you preserve it in a water bath or freeze it.
You need 2 cups of serviceberries for this recipe. The recipe can be doubled or tripled without modification. You will also need:
- Sugar- I used granulated white sugar but you can also use monk fruit or coconut sugar.
- Lemon Juice- Use bottled lemon juice for uniform acidity.
- Vanilla Extract- Optional but I love the flavor it brings. You could also try balsamic vinegar for a unique twist.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Serviceberry Jam
Before making the jam you need to thoroughly wash the berries and remove any tiny stems they may have left.
Step 1- Mash the Berries
Mashing half the berries (or a little) less gives the best texture. For a smoother jam, you can mash them all. You can use the back of a spoon, a potato masher (my preference), pulse in a food processor, or use a handheld immersion blender.
Step 2- Boil
Add all the berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. You will want to actively stir to prevent burning. Once the berries begin to release their juices and the sugar dissolves the mixture will begin to boil.
Turn down the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes or until the jam reaches 220F degrees.
Step 3- Cool
Scoop your jam into jars to cool. For freezing be sure to leave headspace, a ¼ inch of empty space at the top. Once cool store in the fridge.
The jam can either be refrigerated for up to 10-12 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
If using pre-sterilized jars, boil in water for 5 minutes. If hot, clean jars are used instead, then the minimum process time is 10 minutes. Please read more about the basics of canning if this is new to you.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Serviceberries have a high seed-to-fruit ratio so seedless jams are not a practical option. Instead leaving at least half the berries whole gives the jam a unique and lovely texture.
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💬Frequently Asked Questions
If your jam didn't set wait 24 hours, it can take that long for natural pectin to set. If it is still runny you need to recook the jam by adding more sugar and a bit of commercial pectin.
Yes! You can use non-sweetened frozen berries to make jam. Thaw the berries and proceed with the recipe. Frozen berries typically give off a bit more water than fresh fruit, so you may have to add 5 minutes to the cooking time.
Put a small plate in the freezer for ten minutes. Pour a small amount of boiling jelly on the plate. If the mixture gels, it should be done. Or tilt the plate vertically, if it barely runs and is very slow-moving the jam is done.
Serviceberries, also referred to as Juneberries or Saskatoon berries are the edible small sweet fruit of the tree by the same name. Common in the Northern US and Canada, these small trees are often used in landscaping. Serviceberries are smaller than a blueberry but bigger than a current. They have a sweet berry flavor with a just slight hint of tartness.
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- Mason jars
- Place half the berries in the saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Alternatively you can pulse a few times in a food processor.2 cups serviceberries
- Add the remaining berries, sugar, and lemon juice to the pan and stir. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Lower the heat to maintain a low boil, stirring often. Continue cooking until the mixture arrives at 220F (105C) on a candy thermometer and has thickened, this should occur after approximately 25-30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the jam (leaving about ¼ inch of space) to 1-2 clean jars let cool and then refrigerate.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- You can process all the berries in a food processor for a smoother jam. Commercial pectin may be needed if you go this route.
- This is a refrigerator jam recipe. The jam can either be refrigerated for up to 10-12 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- See posts for instructions on canning.