Tag Archives: canning

Blackberry jam

Luke and I returned to Sweetberry Farms in early June to pick blackberries.  We were joined by some friends, and I forgot my camera, so there are no pictures of the picking.

Needless to day, picking blackberries is significantly tougher than strawberries.  In case you have no idea how they grow, blackberries grow on canes, covered in thorns.  While you don’t necessarily have to stoop down as much to pick them, you do have to contend with the relentless thorns, big and small, that never fail to prick you.

I brought home four large boxes of blackberries, and I was covered in cuts, scratches and a sunburn.  I paid dearly for those blackberries!  But friend, it was well worth the effort.

The day after picking, Andy, Luke and I spent the bulk of the afternoon preparing, washing, and prepping the blackberries so they could be frozen, eaten raw, and turned into various concoctions, including frozen yogurt, sorbet and salad toppings.

There was one box left when we were done.  The next day, I turned it into JAM.  No, it’s not paleo in the least, but it’s sometimes nice to reach into the past and borrow a few tricks from our grandmothers’ cupboards.

The recipe was really easy to throw together — it was the actual cooking that was hard!

Recipe:
9 cups blackberries
6 cups sugar

I didn’t realize you shouldn’t double batches.  It took FOREVER to cook and set.  I think I sat next to that stove, stirring frequently for over an HOUR.  The boys left and came back from the pool, and I was only just beginning to ladle it into the jars for processing.

Despite the hard work to prepare the food, I’m getting faster at it, and it’s really cool to know exactly what the ingredients are in a jar on the pantry shelf — because I created it!!

Look at me! I’m making jam!

Whenever we picked strawberries as a kid, my mom always made jam within a few days.  I’m not sure I appreciated her hard work at the time.

I used to think that the store bought stuff was fancier, and I wished we could get it – that is, until mom’s jam ran out.

I remember opening a jar of Smuckers for the first time in years and being very disappointed.  Mom’s jam was AWESOME.

I wanted to do the same with the berries we brought home from Sweetberry Farm.

I’m sure Mom told me exactly what she was doing while I sat in the kitchen and watched her all those years ago — but to tell the truth, none of it sank in.  In fact, I actively rebelled against anything that smelled remotely like being a homemaker for years and years.  So when I decided to make jam, I bought a book on home preservation and followed the instructions.

Home canning is a science, and it’s true that you do have to follow the “rules” so to speak.  But it’s not all that hard once you get the hang of it.  The most time consuming part was preparing the berries.  I had to wash and hull 8 cups worth — crushed.  Then I mixed the berries with 6 cups of sugar (so not Paleo) and stirred constantly over medium heat until they came to a boil — 25 minutes later.  I opted for the old-fashioned recipe because — believe it or not — it called for less sugar.

But the results were amazing.  It was the most delicious taste of heaven — just like I was a kid.

Jar of jam with funnelLuke woke up from his nap in time to watch me fill each of the 12 jars I had warming in the pot on the stove.  Once each one was filled, closed and put back in the pot, I brought the whole thing for  a boil, and let them process for 10 minutes.

The sealing process actually takes place once you take them out of the pot and let them sit on the counter to cool.  24 hours later, we tested, and the jars were perfectly sealed.  The jam didn’t really set, but it’s still delicious.  And my son loves me for making it.

What more could a girl want?