juneberry jam

Juneberry Jam: Easy Small-Batch Recipe

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Juneberry Jam: A Taste of Summer 

Juneberries are a delicious fruit that often go unnoticed, but they make an incredibly flavorful jam that captures the essence of summer in a jar. If you’ve never tasted juneberries before, you’re in for a real treat!

juneberry - juneberry jam recipe

WHAT ARE JUNEBERRIES?

Juneberries (Amelanchier spp.), also known as saskatoon berries or serviceberries, are a species of shrub or small tree native to North America. They produce clusters of dark purple berries that resemble blueberries in size and color, but with a distinctive sweet-tart flavor that hints of cherry, almond, and grape. Juneberries are highly nutritious, being rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. People often use them in baked goods as you would use blueberries or to make jams, jellies, and other preserves.

juneberry simple syrup
juneberry

Where to Find Juneberries & When to Pick

Juneberries grow wild across much of northern North America, often found along the edges of forests, woodland areas, and even urban parks or backyards. 

On my property, the subtle appearance of Juneberry trees became evident in the early spring, as they are among the first to welcome the season with their charming white blossoms amidst the understory of the woods. Without these early blooms, it’s likely I wouldn’t have noticed them at all. This timing is a crucial tip for anyone eager to identify and harvest these berries themselves.

As the season progresses, the full greening of surrounding trees can make Juneberries harder to spot. This camouflage adds a layer of challenge but also a bit of excitement to the foraging process. By the time the berries ripen, which typically begins in June, everything else is lush and leafed out. Keeping a yearly reminder to start checking the trees for ripe berries around this time can be quite helpful.

The harvest window is quite short though, often just 1-2 weeks, so timing is important if you want to pick your own. Look for the berries to turn a deep purple color and become slightly soft when gently squeezed. If you pick them too early, they will not be as flavorful, and if you wait too long, they will become mushy and overripe. 

Collecting these berries provides not only a delightful addition to various recipes, but also a moment to connect deeply with the cycle of the seasons and the generosity of nature.

juneberry jam recipe
Freezing Juneberries for Juneberry Jam

HOW TO CLEAN AND STORE Juneberries

Treat juneberries much like you would blueberries. Begin by rinsing the berries under cool water. After rinsing, spread them out on a clean dish towel and gently roll the berries to dry them thoroughly. Once they’re completely dry, store the clean berries in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep for up to a week. If you prefer to freeze them, lay the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze individually. Once they’re frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer-safe bag or another sealed container. This method helps preserve their quality and ensures they’re ready to use whenever you need them.

juneberry jam
Small-batch Juneberry Jam

HOW TO MAKE JUNEBERRY JAM

When it comes to recipes featuring juneberries, jam is often the first thing people think of. This particular juneberry jam is delicately infused with vanilla and sweetened just right—not overly sweet, yet perfectly balanced in tartness.

The process is straightforward, too. This juneberry jam is made without pectin and designed as a freezer jam, making it wonderfully simple. However, for those interested in preserving it longer, I’ve also provided instructions for canning.

Why I Love this Recipe

Given their fleeting presence, turning juneberries into jams and jellies is a wonderful way to savor their flavor throughout the year.

Making juneberry jam is an excellent use for these berries, especially since it doesn’t require pectin when cooked correctly. This recipe is for a freezer jam, which simplifies the process as no special canning skills or equipment are needed.

While some jam recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of berries to sugar, I find that too sweet. Instead, I use a 2:1 ratio of juneberries to sugar. Adding lemon juice is crucial as it provides the necessary acidity for preservation, whether you choose to store your juneberry jam through water bath canning or simply freezing it.

juneberry jam recipe

Ingredients and Method

This recipe for juneberry jam can be doubled or tripled without modification. You will  need

  • 2 cups juneberries
  • 1 \¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional

Mashing:

  • To achieve a delightful texture, mash about half the berries, or a bit less. 
  • You can use a spoon, a potato masher (recommended for best results), pulse them in a food processor, or use an immersion blender. Do not over-blend, or pectin may become necessary.

Cooking:

  • Combine all berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  • As the berries release their juices and the sugar dissolves, the mixture will boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the jam reaches 220°F.

Cooling and Storage:

  • Transfer the jam to jars and let it cool completely.
  • For freezing, leave about ¼ inch of space at the top of each jar. Freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Store the cooled jars in the refrigerator if you plant to eat within 10–12 days. 

Canning (Optional):

  • Start by sterilizing your canning jars. You can do this by boiling them in your water bath canner for 10 minutes or washing them in the dishwasher on a sterilize setting.
  • Using a ladle and funnel, fill a hot jar with jam, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace at the top.
  • Remove any air bubbles by running a non-metallic spatula around the inside edge of the jar.
  • Clean the jar rim with a cloth or paper towel to remove any residue that could affect sealing.
  • Place the lid on the jar, making sure it’s properly aligned with the rim.
  • Tighten the band until it’s just snug, allowing for slight air release during the canning process.
  • To process the juneberry jam: bring the water in your canner to a full rolling boil, then start your timer for the recommended processing time. For jams, this is typically 10 minutes, but check your recipe or local extension for specifics related to altitude adjustments.
  • Once the processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the canner for an additional 5 minutes to adjust to the temperature change.

If you’re new to canning, it’s highly recommended to learn the basics of safe canning techniques. 

juneberry jam

Easy Small-Batch Juneberry Jam

Barbi Gardiner
Make delicious Juneberry Jam with this easy 3 ingredient recipe! Enjoy it fresh, freeze for later, or can it to last all year!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Juneberries
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional

Instructions
 

  • Place half of the Juneberries in a saucepan. Use a potato masher to crush them to your desired consistency. For a smoother jam, pulse this portion of the berries a few times in a food processor instead.
  • Add the remaining Juneberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice to the saucepan. Stir the mixture and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a steady, low boil. Stir often to prevent the mixture from sticking and burning.
  • Continue to cook the jam until it reaches 220°F (105°C) on a candy thermometer and has thickened, about 25-30 minutes. See Notes for testing doneness using the spoon method.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the jam to 2-4 clean jars, leaving about ¼ inch of space at the top. Allow the jam to cool before refrigerating or freezing.

Notes

Storage Options: This recipe is designed for a refrigerator jam. You can store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 10-12 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Canning: If you're interested in canning this jam for longer storage, please refer to our posts on canning techniques for detailed instructions.
The spoon test, also known as the "sheeting" test, is a way to tell if jam is ready to set:
  1. Remove the jam from heat.
  2. Using a frozen spoon, dip it into the jam and collect about half a spoonful.
  3. Place the spoon back in the freezer for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Remove the spoon and tilt it vertically to see how quickly the jam runs.
  5. If the jam runs slowly and has thickened to a jammy consistency, it's ready.
  6. If the jam runs quickly or looks watery, cook it for a few more minutes and test again.
Keyword jam recipe, Juneberry Jam, preserving
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Disclaimer:

The Outdoor Apothecary website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure proper plant identification and usage.

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