"The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice."
I am enamored with the blackberry. This isn't a bad thing, since they're one of the healthiest snacks on the planet, containing almost the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits tested. Luckily for us, you can find them year round in the market these days. I buy some almost every week and when I'm trying to be good, I'll grab a handful to snack on in the afternoon when I'm jonesing for something sweet.
My love for them goes WAY back to when my Gramma Murphy had an old grove of blackberry brambles on the side of her property. We picked baskets-full that she would magically turn into the BEST blackberry jelly, which was my all time favorite on a peanut butter sandwich. These days I prefer the jam version and that's the recipe I'm sharing with you.
If you want to make this recipe, take care in choosing your blackberries. Pick them locally, or buy from a farmer's market for the best flavor. If you have to purchase them from a market, taste a couple first to make sure they are both tart and sweet. I once made the mistake of buying them in bulk from a HUGE discount chain, because I couldn't believe how inexpensive they were. Rushing home to make jam, I dreamed of all the jewel colored jars full of dark delectable jam. I soon woke up. Here's the thing; the berries were probably imported from Tim-Buck-Too and didn't have much flavor, and of course, that lack of flavor translated to the jam. Learn the lesson from me. All berries are not the same...taste them!
Blackberries have lots of natural pectin, so your jam will set pure and naturally!
From 250 Home Preserving Favorites by Yvonne Tremblay
(makes about 5 8-ounce jars)
8 cups blackberries (about 2 lbs or 1 kg)
1/2 cup water
1/4 lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1. In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, combine blackberries, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
2. Add sugar in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil rapidly, stirring often and reducing heat further as mixture thickens, for 12-15 minutes or until thickened. Test for setting point. I keep 3 saucers in the freezer for this. You spoon a little on the cold plate, wait a minute and then nudge it with your finger.
|See the wrinkles in front of my finger? This jam is set.|
3. If it wrinkes, it is set. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
4. Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of rim; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten just to finger-tip tight.
5. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks.