My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blackberry Jam

"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!

Blackberry Jam
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.


Jeff said...

This is just amazing! Blackberry jam at its most pure state. Don't forget that Blackberries also rank among the top fruits for fiber. This looks great!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks so much! Have a great weekend.

Tina said...

I made this jam today, but also incorporated raspberries and it is amazing! Most recipes I saw online wanted me to use 7 cups of sugar! That seemed insane, so I'm glad I found this recipe. It is the perfect amount of sweetness without being overwhelming. Thanks for the great recipe!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Tina, I'm glad you like it! I prefer when the fruit is the star and not "sickly sweet." Apparently we share that palette trait :-). Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Is the lemon juice 1/4 measurement of a cup or a tablespoon? thank you

Anonymous said...

Hello, Is the lemon juice 1/4 measurement of a cup or a tablespoon? thank you

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

That would be 1/4 cup. Thanks for catching that!

Anonymous said...

just wondering if the jam can be blended smooth at all? my daughter loves jam but isn't always keen on the chunks of fruit in it, thank you

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

To make a smooth jam, I wouldn't blend it, but rather run it through a wire mesh colander to remove the seeds and mash the berries.

Kim Murphy said...

What a great recipe - thanks - I have made 16 jars so far from the local hedgerow! - really wonderful taste

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thank you, Kim! So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!