I'm a freelance writer trying to defy the millennial stereotype through hard work. Joy is in the little things.
I love making jams and jellies, but often I just don't have time to do it the old-fashioned way. When I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, it didn't even occur to me at first that it could be used to speed up this process. I came across an applesauce recipe for the Instant Pot after I went apple picking one fall—and ever since I've been coming up with pressure cooker iterations of my favorite jams and jellies.
I use fruit pectin in most of my jams to help them gel without losing too much volume by reducing them, but this recipe can also be made without pectin (pectin-free instructions underneath the original recipe). If you choose to use pectin, I include the type I use because the amount needed can vary by the brand and type of pectin you use.
- 1 pound fresh blueberries
- 1 1/3 cups honey
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fruit pectin (I recommend Ball Real Fruit Pectin)
- Wash the blueberries and remove any stems.
- Put the blueberries and honey into the inner pot of your pressure cooker.
- Put the lid onto the pressure cooker, checking that the vent is sealed.
- Turn the pressure cooker onto high pressure for 2 minutes. It should take it a few minutes to get up to pressure, then it will cook at that pressure for 2 minutes.
- Leave the vent closed and let the pressure naturally release for approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, release the pressure valve and remove the lid.
- If you prefer your jams to be smoother, either put the mixture into a blender or use a hand blender to smooth out any blueberry chunks. I prefer mine a bit coarser, with chunks of fruit in it, so I simply take a whisk to it for a few seconds.
- Add the lemon juice to the mixture, and turn the pressure cooker onto saute on low.
- Add the fruit pectin to the mixture while it's still on saute, whisking it in as the mixture comes to a boil.
- Let the mixture begin to bubble and stir in pectin, but turn off the heat before it reaches a rolling boil.
- Transfer the mixture to jars to let cool and set.
Yield: Approximately 2 to 3 half-pint jars
Pectin Tips: How to Test if It's Thick Enough
The pectin won't set until it cools, so don't expect your jam to thicken while it's boiling. If you want to test that it will set thick enough, keep a spoon in a glass of ice water.
Before you remove the mixture from heat, take a spoonful of jam onto the cold spoon and see how well it thickens as it rapidly cools. If it seems too thin, either add another 1/2 Tbsp of pectin or continue to boil the mixture down so that it thickens naturally.
If I'm on the fence about whether a jam is going to gel properly or not, I will put about an inch worth of jam into a jar and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. If it has at least a top layer of gelled jam after that time, you're good to go. If not, you probably need to thicken it.
If you don't want to use pectin, you don't need to! Here's what you need to do:
- Follow steps 1-8 above.
- Once the pressure has been released and you turn on the saute function, instead of adding pectin, simply continue to let the mixture reduce on saute until it thickens.
You will lose some volume this way versus using pectin, but it will thicken sufficiently, and you can have a delicious jam pectin-free. The jam will still thicken more once it cools, so use the tips above to make sure you don't reduce your jam too far.
Love jams and jellies but don't have the time or the urge to make them yourself? Check out my Etsy store to buy handmade, delicious jams and jellies for any occasion!