Recipe: Blueberry basil preserves

One of my favorite restaurants, the dearly departed Journeyman Cafe, had blueberry basil pie on the menu.  When I decided to leap into preserving this season, I decided to use some of my own plentiful basil crop to jazz up the blueberry jam on my list. 

With my secret ingredient flourishing in the back garden, I rolled into Krupka’s Blueberries to stock up.  This is a u-pick operation practically around the corner from me, with plenty of berries to tide me over until my own bushes start producing.  Amidst the children riding on grandparent’s shoulders was a surprising number of black-attired, big-booted bikers with white buckets strapped to their waists.  The juxtaposition was fascinating, and I thought about taking their picture except I wasn’t sure about what their reaction might be.  So I bought my ten pounds and headed back to the kitchen.

I hope you read my post about using a candy thermometer.  This is one of those recipes where that trusty tool will save you grief. 

Blueberry Basil Preserves

Makes a little more than one cup

3 cups blueberries

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pour blueberries into a large saucepan over high heat.  Mash with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon.  Once they begin to exude juice, stir in sugar.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until your candy thermometer reads 225 degrees and the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Remove the jam from heat, stir in the basil and lemon juice, and transfer to sterile containers.  Store in the refrigerator.
Update:  If you want to make a larger batch, weigh equal amounts of berries and sugar, then boost the basil leaves and lemon juice accordingly.  Pour into half pint jars with 1/2-inch head space, then process for 15 minutes in a water bath.  You’ll find tips on water bath preserving here.


* I use Pioneer Sugar,  a beet sugar produced near my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan.  My pastry chef friends tell me that beet sugar and cane sugar perform differently at high temperatures — I welcome comments about how this recipes worked for you.

And this concludes my Rustic Kitchen Blueberry Fest, and just in time for tomatoes.  Check out my other blueberry posts: 


Blueberry basil ice cream

Blueberry lime curd tart with ginger cookie crust

Recipes courtesy of Janine MacLachlan, The Rustic Kitchen. All rights reserved.







  1. i discovered your site a few days ago am really enjoying it! i have a question about blueberry preserves in general. i happen to also make some blueberry basil preserves a few weeks back, and while i love the flavor, it has a gritty texture that i’m wondering if can be improved. any ideas? thanks!

  2. just re-read your post. i used cane sugar! do you think that’s it? maybe i should put the sugar in a blender first to make it super fine??!!

  3. daydecker says:

    Just curious. While blueberries are in season, why do you not make enough to seal the jars and put them in your pantry? Does the jam not preserve well?

  4. daydecker says:

    I went ahead and made this recipe…but in a larger quantity. (I used 4 pounds of blueberries and upped the quantity of the other ingredients accordingly.) I am experienced making jams, but I really appreciated the tip about the 225F. Most recipes just tell you to use store-bought pectin and sometimes the jams don’t jell. This recipe jelled perfectly!

    Also, I think this is my favorite way to use all the excess basil I have in my garden. Thank you for posting it! And if you come across other ways to use a lot of basil (besides pesto) please post that too!

  5. I just got finished making this – DELICIOUS! Thank you for a wonderful twist on a basic jam. It’s still warm so I can’t say if it will set up, but with flavor this good, it won’t matter!

  6. hi there! has anyone canned this yet? i am making blueberry butter, and would love to can this as well.

  7. Divine! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I just mixed it in with some European-style plain yogurt. Yum!

  8. Kathleen.
    Yes! I can this recipe every season now and they preserve quite well. Leave 1/2-inch headspace in half-pint jars. Let me know how it goes!

  9. Coming into this late!
    How much lemon juice do you use in your recipe?

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