Blueberry Jam with Ginger and Vanilla

Ginger and vanilla are both on the list of my favorite flavors. The two couldn’t really be more different. Ginger is bright, heady, floral, and bitey. Vanilla is warm, round, so soft and inviting. The funny thing is, ginger holds a stronger association to childhood for me. While my grandmother baked, she was French, and her desserts often took the form of galettes and tartes. I loved her custards and cream puffs, but strangely enough vanilla doesn’t evoke childhood memories for me like it does for so many.

Ginger, however, does. It’s not because my mom or grandmother made gingerbread or spice cookies. It’s all about the Chinese food. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and some of my family members had lived in Asia, others had just traveled extensively. As a result, we were always hunting down the most authentic and amazing Chinese food. Seafood banquets at Hon Lin or Hong Kong Flower Lounge featuring exotic items like Jelly Fish and Sea Cucumber along with lobster and crab were the first choice for birthday dinners out on the town. If we went to another Chinese joint, we would always be sure to request black vinegar and shredded ginger for the table. I can’t even speak those words, black vinegar and shredded ginger without my mouth watering. To this day, if I walk into a Chinese restaurant and I smell real black vinegar, I can guess my dinner will be better than average.

I don’t know that, as a child, I associated gingerbread and gingersnaps with the real ginger because they tasted so sweet and not very ginger-like.  The first truly gingery dessert I ever had was a ginger cake and ginger ice cream from a Thai restaurant we frequented in Pacifica, CA. It still stands as one of my favorite desserts of all time. As ginger has become popular in American fine cooking, ginger crème brûlée often appears on menus, as do ginger pear tarts, and I’ve even tried ginger granola from the bulk section of my local grocer.

Recently, I’ve been seeing a slew of high-priced fancy jams flavored with ginger. Now, I LOVE high priced fancy jams, especially when I’m not buying them. Here’s a little secret, with good produce, and a good pot, those jams can be all yours for a fraction of the price. Really, it’s very little work, too.  It’s true that jams are delightful on toast or with nut butters of all varieties, but I love having jams as part of a buffet or serving them with a cheese plate. This one came about as part of a build your own crostini bar that I did for a wine night with the girls.

Blueberry Jam with Ginger and Vanilla

  • INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups fresh organic blueberries
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup candied ginger chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ½ cup water

 

  • INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add blueberries, water, sugar, and ginger to a heavy bottomed saucepan. Split vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pan. Add the vanilla pod to the pan as well. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Removing any foam with a spoon.
  • Reduce heat to medium and keep jam at a high simmer, stirring frequently, and skimming the bubbly foam off the top as it arises.
  • Continue cooking down until you’ve reached a thick jam-like consistency (45 minutes-1 hour)  Remove the vanilla bean, seed pod and allow to cool.
  • Serve with scones or over pancakes for a sweet breakfast treat or serve with goat cheese and good salty ham and crusty bread for a savory/sweet appetizer.

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy March 8, 2011 at 5:06 PM

That looks wonderful. Blueberry and ginger is a great combo.

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lemonsandanchovies March 8, 2011 at 5:31 PM

I was on my way home when I saw your tweet about this post and I had to get over here right away. I love the sound of the jam and I'm a bit jealous that it seems I'm the only one who has yet to try making it myself. This looks like a recipe for me, however. What an intriguing combination.

I grew up in the Bay Area, too, and Chinese restaurants were a twice-weekly ritual for my family growing up. It's too bad the peninsula doesn't quite compare to SF when it comes to Chinese dining options.

Thanks for sharing this recipe. :-)

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sabrinamodel March 12, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Well, you might want to get in on these girls nights! There's always room for one more.
I think there is fantastic Chinese on the Peninsula. Some of the best Shanghainese food is in San Bruno and of course Millbrae is chock full of awesome Chinese food. I work down in Redwood City, but haven't found anything great in that area. Further south I think there are some good places.

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Sabrina March 8, 2011 at 6:06 PM

I love this! It looks so simple too! I was just looking through my old food network magazines and came across a whole article about making your own jams. They are just so elegant and I love the idea of a crostini bar…especially with wine! I'd love to hear more about that!!!

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Lori March 8, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Great combination of favours, the jam looks fabulous. You are so right about making your own…when you start with great produce and great ideas…you win! Well done!

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Tiffany March 9, 2011 at 4:36 AM

This sounds AMAZING and ginger and vanilla are two of my favorite flavors too! I bet they go amazing with the blueberries! :D

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RavieNomNoms March 9, 2011 at 8:11 AM

YUM what a great idea, this looks amazing. I bet it tastes EVEN better!

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sabrinamodel March 10, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Thanks Raven!

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Wilde in the Kitchen March 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM

The flavors in the jam sound amazing! Plus, your pictures of the jam make it look fantastic!

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sabrinamodel March 10, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Thanks so much. I love hearing from you.

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Peter @FeedYourSoul October 19, 2012 at 6:05 AM

I thought this was such a cool combination to create a fabulous jam that i featured the recipe on my Friday Five Breakfasts over at Feed Your Soul – http://chefpeterskitchen.blogspot.com/2012/10/fri

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culver city bars February 23, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Hopefully, Your Blueberry Ginger Vanilla Jam is very testy because it is looking very Yummy. I like this type of jam. Thanks to you to given us your best jam for best eating. I have liked the jam and always try to make it everywhere.

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