How to Make Blackberry Jam with Pectin

A bucketful of blackberries

Making jam is one of the easiest way to preserve fruits and berries. This recipe for blackberry jam is simple and easy to make and to water-bath can. Learn how to make blackberry jam.

How to make blackberry jam

I was so excited when we moved to Oak Hill and I realized we had wild blackberries growing in the hayfield. 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. 

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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. 

Blackberry jam with fewer seeds

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 blackberry jelly instead of jam for the same reason - the seeds - but I prefer jam to jelly, so this is an experiment of sorts.

You can sieve berries in several ways. One is to use a food mill such as this one. Put the berries in the mill and turn the handle to push them through the sieve.

Or you can use a chinois strainer. This one is a 3-piece set with a pestle to push the berries through the strainer, leaving the seeds behind.

Empty half-pint canning jars

The first step in making jam is...

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

The first step is to get your equipment and supplies ready.

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 hot water over them. 

Gather your ladle, jar lifter, canning funnel, etc. (Check out this collection of canning tools and utensils, it has everything you'll need!)

A saucepan holding canning lids in water

Now make the jam

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

Add the blackberries into a large saucepan. If you've sieved some of the blackberries, measure after sieving. You should a total of five cups of blackberries, including the juice that was produced by sieving.

Divide the four cups of sugar. Put 1/4 cup of the measured sugar in a small bowl and the rest of the sugar (3 3/4 cups) in a large bowl and set aside.

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

If you wish, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to prevent foaming. I recommend doing this.

The blob in the middle of the photo below is the butter.

A large saucepan of blackberry fruit and juice with a pat of butter in the middle.

Heat the saucepan's contents 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) that you had set aside, and stir well. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

Remove the saucepan from heat and skim off any foam. If you added the butter, you will still have a little foam, but not nearly as much as if you'd skipped the butter.

Ladle the jam into half-pint jars using a canning funnel, wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any drips, and put lids on the jars. Screw the bands on until they're finger-tight. 

Put the jars in your water-bath canner using the jar lifter. The water should cover the jars by at least an inch. (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.

Put the lid on the canner and turn the heat up.

Jars of blackberry jam inside a water-bath canner

Processing the jam

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.

To find your altitude, go to What Is My Elevation and type in your address.

If you live an altitude over 1,000 feet above sea level, you'll need to adjust the processing time. See the "Boiling Water Processing" part of this High Altitude Canning Chart and add the necessary amount of time.

When the time is up, turn off the heat and carefully remove the canner from the burner. 

Remember to open the lid away from your face, so the steam won't hit you full-on. 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!

A woman's finger checking the seal on a half-pint jar of jam.

Make sure your jars are sealed properly

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 delicious 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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A bucketful of blackberries


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