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 red berries ready to change color and end up in my bucket and then in something yummy.

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

Water bath the jam jars 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. 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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  1. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Love your blog, have been a 'silent' fan for months now. Blackberry is also my very favorite jam. My yard helper mowed all the canes down, AGAIN, so I have to wait another 2 years to have berries on my property. I've braved the snakes and a huge buck recently across the street to pick enough to put up 5 pints. It will have to do as a 4x4x2 container is selling for $7 at local farmers markets, can you believe that? Blessings to you & yours, Jan in NWGA.

  2. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:21 PM

    Hi Jan, I'm glad you've finally broken your silence. :-) Blackberries sell for a similar price here too. So expensive, but having picked them and knowing what you have to go through, I understand the high price. Fortunately for folks like you and me, we can pick our own!

  3. Anonymous7:45 AM

    Hello, blackberries are full of pectin, especially the not-quite-ripe ones. Even with your reduced--sugar recipe, it is perfectly possible the jam would gel just fine without any added pectin. Just pick some still-reddish berries along the juicy ones.

    I'll usually sieve my berries too, but it's a pain in the buttocks. This year I have a Roma-type tomato mill with only one screen, I'll see if it works for maller-seed blackberries.

    Quite a few people drop the pulp-coated seeds in vinagar to perfume it. Other dehydrate them and add the powder to their preparations. You may want to give it a go?


  4. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:43 AM

    Those are all great suggestions, Sarah, thank you. Putting them through a sieve is definitely a pain! Let us know if the mill works, that would be a big help.

  5. Elderberry is my favorite -- made tart. But elderberries around here are hard to find. I made blackberry last year and wished I had taken part of the seeds out. How fun that you had a little helper. ~Pamela

  6. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:26 PM

    Pamela, elderberry is one thing I've not developed a taste for. I use elderberries for medicinal uses, but I have to go forage for them. This year I bought some seeds and will plant them so I have some bushes nearer home. I may not like the taste, but they're good medicine.

  7. I love blackberry jam! Haven't made my own yet, but hope to try it very soon. Thanks for the post.

  8. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:47 PM

    I hope you'll give it a try, Janet. It's quite easy to do, and a delicious snack on homemade bread. :-)

  9. How wonderful that you have that much growing wild! We have several vines too but they are difficult to reach, deep in the forest, and I think the deer are eating them, haha! Thanks for the canning instructions! xoxo

  10. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:25 AM

    Thank you, Marie. Not only do deer and coyotes etc eat blackberries, so do my dogs! Very gingerly...

  11. Blackberries ....yum! I haven't had any in quite a few years! My grandmother always made the best pies and cobblers, because they were fresh! Yours look delicious :)

    Thanks for linking up at my linky, too (Together on Tuesdays). I appreciate you stopping by :)

  12. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:57 PM

    Thank you, Lisa. I was thrilled to find your linky party this morning. :-)

  13. Blackberry jam is my favourite jam, too! Unfortunately we don't always have access to any which is just so sad...:( Yours looks delicious and how lovely you have wild berry bushes on your farm! Do enjoy:)


  14. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead7:07 AM

    Thank you, Kelly-Anne. I hope you'll be able to find some wild blackberries somewhere so you can have your fill!

  15. Our homestead was blessed with more blackberries then one family can use! We make lots of jam but what we really like is the blackberry pie filling. I hope you don't mind I link over to a great recipe for homemade pie filling. Sure tastes great in the middle of winter!

  16. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead2:43 PM

    I don't mind, Tracy. I've not made blackberry pie before because I would be the only one eating it. On the other hand, maybe that's a reason to make one. :-)

  17. I love blackberry jam and I just bought some to make jam next week, along with strawberry jam as well. I see yours has pectin, I don't use it as the berries have natural pectin?
    I will try yours too and see.

  18. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead11:46 AM

    They do have natural pectin, you're right, Fabby. However the two attempts I've made at jam/jelly without pectin gave me syrup. It was good syrup, but I wanted jam. :-)

  19. How I wish we had blackberries growing!!! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Your pictures are just tasty looking :)

  20. I am so jealous you have wild berries. Homemade jam is the best! I would love to have you link it up to my Feature Friday Link Palooza!

    Danielle @ Blissful & Domestic

  21. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead5:02 PM

    Thank you, Danielle.

  22. Your blackberries are beautiful. I recently wrote a blog about Homestead Jams and included your blog. Thanks again!

  23. Leah, thank you for including me in your round-up. I'll go take a look!


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