Blackberry Jam- A Taste of Summer in the Dead of Winter

I am seriously jealous of my sister's blackberry plant. It was a small neglected shrub when they bought the house, and after some rejuvenating pruning, It is huge and the harvest has been generous!

Lucky for me though, no one in her house really likes them besides her- and apparently she doesn't have to fight the birds- so she asked if I could make it into jam for her. And because I am an amazingly awesome sister, I did ūüėĀ. I also got to keep the extra jars. ūüėȬ† Win, Win.

Blackberry jam in the beginning stages. Blackberries contain enough natural pectin to set as a jam on its own.  No added pectin needed.
Blackberries contain enough pectin naturally, that jam can be made without the needed for added pectin as many recipes call for.  This also allows the recipe to be made low sugar, allowing the fruit flavor to really shine.  I followed the recipe from Ashley over at Practical Self Reliance.  You can view the whole recipe here:  Blackberry Jam without Pectin.  This recipe is specifically for jelly (seeds removed) but jam is made the same way, but do not strain out the seeds... I left it as jam.

The recipe is super simple and really only contains 2 ingredients: blackberries and sugar.  The blackberries are measured and simmered with water. Her recipe suggests starting with 9 cups of berries with 1 cup of water.  You can adjust your proportions accordingly if you don't have a full batch.  Boil gently and mash, until berries are broken apart, about 5 minutes. 

 

Blackberry jam in the beginning stages. Blackberries contain enough natural pectin to set as a jam on its own.  No added pectin needed.

If you want seedless jelly, you can place mash in a jelly bag to strain overnight.  Not sure what a jelly strainer is? Here is a description of our Jelly Straining Bag with Stand.  I prefer jams and like to leave the seeds so I skipped this step.

For every cup of blackberry juice or mash, add 3/4 cup sugar.  So for each 4 cups of juice/mash you would add 3 cups of sugar.  

Bring mixture to a boil and stir frequently to prevent scorching.  Jam and jelly making usually results in a lot of foaming, so make sure whatever pan you are using has high sides (a wide surface area on the bottom is also helpful to boil down more quickly without sacrificing color and flavor). 

When making jams and jellies without pectin it is important to monitor for gel stage, to ensure the jam sets properly when cooling.  You can read about gel stage on this blog post.  Another way to monitor for gel stage is to use an instant-read or jelly thermometer.  When the mixture reaches 220 degress F (at sea level- lower temp as altitude rises so adjust accordingly for your altitude) you can be confident you have reached gel stage.

 

Weck Jars filled with Jam.  Most jellies need 1/4" headspace but Weck jars prefer 1/2" headspace.

Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4" headspace (or instructed headspace if using a different jar like Weck jar above).   Process in a water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes.  Cool on the counter for 24 hours.  Gel set may take 48-72 hours, so be patient!

But if you find after 48 hours your jam hasn't set, you can reprocess it by bringing it back up to 220 degrees, or use it as a fruit spread over ice cream, in yogurt or oatmeal.  The flavor will still be delicious!

 

If you give this recipe a try let me know!

Happy Preserving!

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