News & Events

December 13, 2021

Biblio Bistro: Keweenaw Berry Jam

This episode of Biblio Bistro features Keweenaw Berry Jam which highlights fresh local berries that have been frozen. Depending which berries you use, they are seasonally available either at U-Picks or the Farmers Market beginning in July – early September. Margaret Hanson with TeachtoTaste is our featured guest and this episode is jam-packed with great information on how to make and can your own jam!  TeachtoTaste provides engaging cooking lessons that explores our relationship to food through history, memory, and local agriculture.   

About Keweenaw Berry Jam

This simple, but flavorful berry jam is a great way to savor the Keweenaw summer year-round! This recipe is designed for those who are inexperienced with homemade jam and walks you step by step to get a delicious (and beautiful!) end-product.

In total, this recipe was only $13.06 (canning jars included) to prepare, or $0.13 per serving (1 tablespoon of jam)!

Healthy Eating Tips from Dietitian Meghan

  • Berries – Blueberries and strawberries were featured in today’s jam. Blueberries and other naturally blue or purple-hued foods contain a special plant compound called anthocyanins. Research has indicated that regularly including foods rich in anthocyanins can improve both mood and memory! Strawberries are also rich in fiber and boast high Vitamin C levels. Many of the nutrients found in strawberries have been linked with heart health.
  • Sweet Treats – All foods can fit into a healthy diet (including cookies!). It is best to avoid a “black and white” mentality towards any type of food, as this can create stress with eating and lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Additionally, the foods we eat not only provide a range of nutrients to help fuel our bodies; they also nourish and connect us socially and emotionally, which is an important aspect of our health and wellbeing.  

Cooking Tips from Guest Chef Margaret Hanson

  • Using frozen berries that have been thawed actually breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, which speeds up the cooking process for jam!
  • This recipe does not use pectin, although you could use it if preferred. Some fruits naturally contain pectin, which can help the jam naturally gel, but it does require some patience!
    • Low-pectin fruits include nectarines, peaches, and strawberries.
    • High-pectin fruits include apples, citrus peel, and under-ripe fruit (especially with some green tips).
  • If using frozen berries, you may need to spend extra time evaporating off some of the extra liquid from thawing.
  • Don’t adjust the sugar levels for this recipe or your jam wont’ set properly!
  • Be sure to mix jam periodically to avoid scorching the bottom. It’s also super important to make sure you wait until it’s 215 deg F or your jam may not thicken.
  • When filling jam into a sterile jar, leave about ½ “of headspace. Tighten the jar lid so it’s sealed, but not too tight (this allows extra air to escape during the water bath).
  • If wanting to preserve your jam for a longer period of time, the best approach is a water bath method. This will keep your jam safe for up to 1 year. Make sure you completely cover the jars in water or you run the risk of water evaporating below the lid, which can cause the jar to explode.
  • If the jam doesn’t set, you can put in freezer and use for holiday baking (or you can recook and clean and sterilize the jars, and redo the water bath).

Farmers Markets in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula

Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 10.55.12 AMFrom Calumet to L’Anse there are several great farmers markets in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Our friends at the Western U.P. Food Systems Collaborative have put together a great resource on this that gets updated regularly. Check out a full list of farmers markets here,

About Biblio Bistro

Biblio Bistory at Portage Lake District LibraryThe Biblio Bistro series strives to show that healthy cooking doesn’t have to be boring or laborious. Our goal is that by watching this series, participants can feel more confident and curious in the kitchen, all the while increasing fruit and veggie intake and supporting the local food system! Learn more about Biblio Bistro at

About Portage Health Foundation’s Food Initiative

PHF Food Initiative Logo Vert CMYKPortage Health Foundation is passionate about making a difference when it comes to food in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. PHF’s Food Initiative is two-fold. First, the food initiative aims to improve access to locally grown and healthful foods within our community. Second, it provides educational resources and tools to promote sustainable changes to eating and lifestyle habits for all. Learn more about this initiative at