Blackberry Jam

I was so excited when we moved to Oak Hill and I realized we had wild blackberries. I love blackberries, and who can say no to delicious free food?

This year the canes are just covered with berries; I've never seen so many in our ten-plus years here. Granddaughter and I went out picking three times and there are still plenty of not-quite-ripe red berries ready to change color to deep purple. 

They'll eventually end up in my bucket and then in something yummy.

We enjoyed fresh berries for breakfast and for dessert. I made a cobbler, and then blackberry jam. 

For this batch of blackberry jam I seeded half the berries through a sieve to reduce the number of seeds in the jam. Sometimes I make jelly instead of jam for the same reason - the seeds - but I prefer jam to jelly, so this is an experiment of sorts.

I used Sure Jell low-sugar pectin, in the pink box. The instructions inside called for 5 cups of crushed berries and 4 cups of sugar.

Making jam is quite easy, even easier than making jelly.

Get everything that you'll need ready before you start: wash the jars, lids and rings, fill the water bath canner half full of water and put on the stovetop on medium heat to warm up. 

Keep the jars warm until you can fill them - I keep them in warm water in the sink. Put the lids in a saucepan and pour boiling water over them. 

Gather the ladle, jar lifter, spoon, etc.

Put 1/4 cup of the measured sugar in a small bowl and add the box of pectin, mix well. Add this mixture to the fruit and juice in a large saucepan and stir to combine. 

If you wish, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to prevent foaming. The blob in the middle of the photo below is the butter.

Heat to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly so it won't burn. 

Pour in the rest of the sugar (3 3/4 cups) and stir well. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle jam into half-pint jars, wipe the rims with a damp cloth, and put lids on the jars. Screw the band on until it's finger-tight. 

Put jars in canner using the jar lifter. The water should cover the jars by at least an inch. I insert the handle of a wooden spoon to the top of a jar, then look at the wet portion of the spoon to know how deep the water is. 

Add more boiling water if needed.

Process the jam jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adding time if necessary if your altitude requires it. Start timing when the water in the canner begins to boil.

When time is up, remove the canner from the burner. 

Remember to open the lid away from your face. Remove the jars with the jar lifter and place them upright on a folded towel in a draft-free place. 

Then listen for the lids to start "pinging" - what a beautiful sound!

Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours, then check the seal by lightly pressing the lid with your finger. The lid should not move up and down; if it does, the jar did not seal and should be refrigerated and used promptly.

I love these jars full of summer sunshine! There's nothing as good as home-canned blackberry jam on a slice of homemade bread with real butter. Yum!

What is your favorite jam or jelly?

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