Robert Lambert is a perfectionist. Some might say he's a little obsessive, but one taste of anything he makes shows how worthwhile that diligence is. To make his preserves, fruitcakes, and syrups, picks his own fruit whenever possible, or sources it through the network of northern California farmers that he’s known for years. But it’s not just the meticulous way he sources his ingredients that makes the difference, it’s what he does with them once he’s in the kitchen.
Growing up in northern Wisconsin, Robert picked wild blueberries in the bogs, and today he sources wild blueberries from northern Michigan (which is basically Wisconsin anyway) because it's the truest flavor to what he recalls.
To create the jam, Robert brings the fruit to a full boil, then turns it off. This minimal amount of cooking results in a fuller, truer flavor. Also—as with all his fruit jams, but even more than most—an absolute minimum of sugar is used here, less than a quarter of the total volume, which allows the fruit flavor to shine. (Most jams are 2/3 to 3/4 sugar.)
But because it's Robert, there are some very important if not necessarily traditional, ingredients that he adds to make the jam truly exceptional. And as Robert says, blueberries have a mild flavor and they need a little help to bring out their potential.
In this jam, Robert adds Meyer Lemon juice and zest (which he does by hand himself) as well as pineapple juice, a bit of Thai ginger syrup (made by Robert), a small amount of his own raspberry champagne jam and just a splash of cognac. The extra ingredients lend their support to the flavor of the blueberry and really lets it shine!
Grab a jar now and save it for when the warm weather has officially slipped away. This jam is like summer in a jar.