Last year we had a wonderful opportunity to get blackberries. We went picking every other day while they were in season and it is easy to say the kids got really sick of blackberries. They would complain and I would say “Aren’t you excited!? We are only going to come a hundred more times 🙂 Just think of the yummy jam these will make!” They also make fantastic cobbler.
I froze most of the berries because we were also in the middle of other harvesting projects. I finally got to making some jam today…
Due to us canning 84 jars of applesauce, LOTS of plum syrup/jelly and pear butter. It was only my second year canning, we had canned a TON, I had learned a TON….I had no urge to learn to make blackberry jam too. The berries then quickly became an afterthought when moving was on the horizon. So that is why most of them are still in the freezer.
Yesterday I got motivated to try out rhubarb jam and got the canning bug. So, out came the blackberries.
(Yes, I made rhubarb jam yesterday but sharing that will just have to wait for the next post because I just am bursting to share about today’s blackberry jam. The first batch turned out so well that I have another set slowly warming up as I type.)
I used the Berry Jam recipe from my Ball Blue Book of Preserving book.
When I was done I spread some on bread for the kids. The 3 year old exclaimed “This is awesome Mom!” I would mark that a success.
First, I got all of my equipment ready. I cleaned all jars and equipment I was going to use. Put the canning jars in my pot of hot water right after rinsing them NOTE: Don’t put those cold or room temp jars in really hot water, have them warmed up first. If you skip this step it may result in cracked jars that in my case may then result in tears. You always want your jars nice and hot before you put that hot jam in them. It is really disheartening to have the bottom of your jar pop off mid-processing and watch all your beautiful jam (or in my case it was applesauce) mix with your processing water and glass shards.
Next, I measured out 9 cups of berries. (Aren’t they beautiful!)
Added sugar (6 cups)
Slowly warmed up those frozen berries until they got all liquidy. Yes, I know liquidy is not a word but I like it so I am keeping it 🙂 Slowly bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. This is the point I am so tempted to get a spoon and eat some right out of the pot. I resisted…
Cook rapidly to gelling point and stir frequently to prevent burning.
Okay squirrel moment: I test gelling point two ways: 1)take its temperature using a candy thermometer: Gelling point is the boiling point of water plus 8°F. This will vary according to your elevation. and 2) the plate test: Place a small amount of your spread on a plate and place it in the freezer until it is room temp. If it is set when taken out it is ready to can. Why do I do it both ways? Well call me paranoid…overly cautious … I don’t know… I just am not totally confident in this canning thing yet and REALLY want jam not syrup. When I have been doing this for 10 years I am sure I will know by looking at it.
Remove from heat and skim off foam if necessary. I did not have foam because I use my husband’s grandmother’s trick of putting a Tbsp. of unsalted butter in during cooking. I don’t know what kitchen magic is occurring but it takes down the foam.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4- inch headspace. Place on hot lid and ring. Tighten just to hand tightness.
Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. As you can see from above doesn’t have to be fancy mine is a cheap pot and I put extra rings on the bottom to serve as a rack to keep my jars off the bottom. Just make sure it’d deep enough so your jars can process with an inch of water over them.
Here are the beauties cooling. And all of those seals made that glorious POP to tell me they are sealed. Makes me want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus every time.
I love blogging. It gives me a reason to take pictures of jars of blackberry jam and other ridiculous things I would never put in an album.
Here is the recipe:
Berry Jam (from Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
9 cups of crushed berries
6 cups sugar
Combine berries and sugar in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to a boil. Stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to gelling point. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Off I go to finish the second batch
The Frabjus Lady