Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food: Wild Blackberry Jam - Recipe and Tutorial

Michael, the boys, and I picked 3 lbs and 12 oz of wild blackberries in two quick rounds when we were out and about on the 4-wheeler. The boys wanted my Mom to make them blackberry jam, but I decided to give it a go myself. Of course I talked to Mom on the phone 25x in less than an hour since this was my first attempt at making jam.

I thought I'd take pics along the way and share the process with you. I didn't get as many pics as I would like.. because it is kinda hard to take pics while doing this by yourself. But I did manage to get a few.

First I gathered my supplies. {Berries were in the freezer overnight... so they look a little frosty in this pic cause they were adjusting to the room temperature.}
The first thing I did was wash and dry my jars. You can sterilize them by running them through your dishwasher I've heard or by boiling them in a canner.  Someone even suggested heating them in the oven at 250. {What is your method?} Then I dumped my berries in a colander and rinsed them off a few times. I made sure there weren't any weeds, bugs, twigs, mud or anything like that in there. Once I knew they were clean, I put them into my deepest cooker and added 2 cups of water. I let them come to a hard boil and boil for ten minutes, stirring them quiet often to keep them from sticking.
Once they finished boiling... I grabbed another cooker, a dipper, and my sifter. I held the sifter in one hand over the clean cooker and dipped the berries and juice into the sifter. I then sifted the berries until no juice was coming through the bottom. The idea was to get only juice into the clean cooker without any seeds. I'd then dump the seeds into a bowl and then repeat the process over and over until I had all the seeds in the bowl and the juice in the cooker. 
The seeds looked like this after being sifted. I forgot to get a pic of the juice.
I then rinsed the first cooker and sifter out. I poured the juice through the sifter again into another bowl. This made sure that any extra seeds were caught. There were a few that had made it through the sifter the first time. Now the juice was free of seeds and ready to go on with the process.  

I used a one cup measuring cup and measured the juice as I put it back into the original deep cooker. I had five cups of juice. The instructions on the Jel Ease was to use four cups of juice, but Mom said it would be fine.. to use the five cups of juice and just add in another cup of sugar. Blackberries have a lot of natural pectin and it wouldn't be an issue.
I put the cooker that was filled with juice on the burner, set the stove to high, and dumped in the Jel Ease. I stirred continuously until the two were at a rapid boil. Then I dumped in six and a half cups of sugar and began to stir, stir, stir as it boiled rapidly for three minutes. When three minutes was up, I moved the cooker to the front burner and began dipping it out of the cooker and into the jars. Mom told me to leave my jars sitting on the stove the entire time so that they would be hot when I began filling them up. So I did. I had enough jam to fill eight and a half jars. They are half pints. I quickly put on the two piece lids on while the jam and jars were hot so that they would seal. I used a thick dish towel to hold onto the jars as I tightened the lids.
As you can see.. I made a mess. I didn't have a funnel.
About thirty minutes after I put the lids on, I went back to see if they were sealed. Mom said the lids would be smooth on top or even look as if they were caved in. There would not be a bump on top and when you touch the top, it wouldn't make a popping noise. Five of the jars sealed but three hadn't. I didn't check the half filled jar because we were going to eat it straight away.  I was about to panic, but Mom said not to worry. If the jars were still hot, to turn them upside down and they would seal. Sure enough they were hot, I turned them upside down, and left them for about 15 minutes. I went back to check and they were sealed. I plan to put them in the fridge anyway, but I still feel better knowing they are sealed.
I tossed some biscuits {from a can} in the oven and we went to town on the half jar.  I was surprised. It turned out great and the boys loved it. Even Michael approved.  

Pick Your Own has a great post about making jam if you'd like to check that out as well.


Melanie said...

Mmmmm! I love homemade jelly! Great info!! :)

Nicole said...

wow interesting! I want to attempt this some day. I'm trying to make myself all domesticated... LOL. I grew up on a farm but my mom never did things like this, on my grandmas.

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

I love love love blackberries! I think I will attempt it! Thanks for sharing it on the farmgirl hop today!

Life-n-Reflection said...

oh, how I love homemade jam!

Teresa said...

There really isn't anything as good as fresh homemade jam!

Cindy@OldTimePickers said...

Yes...I love blackberries. I just made a blackberry topping for ice cream and pancakes. Congrats on your jam success!

Hannah Young said...

Wow! That looks so good :) We had a great blackberry patch last year, but this year our goats and the heat got to them and they're dead unfortunately :(

I will definitely save this recipe for later! Thank you!


Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

Hi Alana Jo!
I featured you in today's Farmgirl Friday! Come by to see and enter of course if you have a new post !
Thanks for your entry,

Stacey@Real Southern Living said...

I have been making home made wheat bread and I've wanted to attempt making jam! I have ordered a bunch fresh berries from Oregon. Thanks for the tips as I will be sure to reference this.

Anonymous said...

Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings