Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We Be Jammin'-- A Step-by-Step

Here is a Step-by-Step on how to make Seedless Blackberry Jam. Before we begin, I am in no way a professional photographer and I am not used to taking pictures while I am cooking at the same time, so please forgive the blurry photos and the not-so-bright ones. I thought the pictures conveyed what I was trying to tell so they'll do the job nicely. Before you begin your jam-making, be sure to have these utensils on hand:
Jar Funnel (the blue thing in the left hand top corner, they come in different colors and metal ones, too), clean jars with bands and lids, ladle, silicone spatula (the silicone can handle high heat and regular spatulas will melt as I have since learned!), a potato masher (something like this would work best, the wire ones don't mash evenly), and jar tongs to protect your fingers from touching hot jars in boiling hot water. You'll also need cheesecloth or an old flour sack towel (not pictured).
You'll also need a large canning pot, and 2 large cooking pots-- stainless steel preferred. One pot for boiling the clean jars and lids and the other pot for the jam.
What you'll need for the jam: Sugar- lots of it! Lemon juice, blackberries and fruit pectin.
Take a colander and set it on a large measuring cup (mine is an 8 cup size) and then put the cheesecloth or flour sack towel on top. Place a layer of berries in the towel and smash with the masher.
When berries look like this, you are ready to SQUEEEEZE and say hello to your Popeye forearms!
Hello, Popeye forearms! You squeeze and squeeze and squeeze. Wring that cloth with the berry pulp in there and squeeze every last drop out of it! Take THAT Mr. Boss! (I should warn you, berry juice stains the counters AND your hands. You can use rubber gloves, but I don't mind a couple days of purple fingers. The counter will clean great with that Mr. Clean scrubber sponge-- no house should be without this fine scrubber!) You'll need to repeat this step several times, discarding the seedy pulp and smashing a fresh layer of berries until you have enough juice to equal...

3 1/2 cups. Can't see the measurement here very well (I told you I wasn't a professional photographer!), but take my word for it, it says 3 1/2 cups. Before you begin the cooking part, fill the big canning pot two-thirds full of hot water and set it on the stove on high heat. Keep the cover on. In another big pot, place several clean jars and lids and fill with water. Put that on the stove and boil on med-high heat. Kitchen will get HOT so keep that exhaust fan running and wear cool clothing. Feel free to imagine yourself in a steamy spa.

Pour juice into a large pot.
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Add 1 package of fruit pectin. I use Ball Natural Gel Original Fruit Pectin. There are other brands and other types-- low sugar recipe, freezer jam recipe, etc... If you make those other kinds, follow the directions included in the package. Cook jam, lemon juice and pectin on high heat, stirring constantly with your silicone spatula. This will be about 10 minutes of stirring and singing The Sound of Music Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do-- Doe a deer, a female deer, Ray a drop of golden sun, Me a name I call myself, Far a long long way to run, Sew a needle pulling thread, La a note to follow so, Tea a drank with jam and bread, that brings us back to do do do do Doe a deer..... Stir until your hands get tired and keep on stirring. When it starts to boil rapidly, let it boil for a minute.Then add 5 cups of sugar all at once. (It helps to pre-measure and have the sugar set aside waiting) Stir some more. Keep stirring. The sugar will all dissolve and it will be about another 10 minutes of stirring before it starts to boil again. Keep stirring until it looks like...

This. When it finally starts boiling rapidly again, let it boil for a minute then remove from heat. Working quickly, (remember that pot of jars you've been boiling? ) using the jar tongs, remove a jar and place hot jar onto a towel next to the cooked jam.

Using the ladle (picture isn't the best, sorry), fill the jar almost to the top. Directions say, "Leave 1/4 inch head space." That just means almost to the top and leave a little wiggle room! After jar is filled, wipe the rim with a damp towel and retrieve a hot lid from the same pot you had the jars in. Wipe dry and place on jar, then tighten band. Use towel to hold jar while you tighten the lid.

Then take your jar tongs and carefully place into the hot water canning pot and make sure water covers the top of the jar by at least 2 inches. don't forget the water level will rise as you add more jars. Repeat until all the jam is in the jars and you have the canner filled. If you have some jam left and not enough to fill a jar, you can refrigerate and eat for breakfast the next morning.
Cover the canning pot with lid and return to a boil. When it starts boiling, then you can set your timer and boil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use your jar tongs and carefully set on a towel. Cover all the jars with another towel to keep the jars from cooling too quickly. You'll hear the lids "popping".


Since I do my canning at night (so the kids don't bother me and it's cooler at night and I can sleep off the hot kitchen) by morning, the jars are cool enough to handle. Still a little warm and the jam isn't completely set yet. When it is completely cool, the jam in the jar should be set and you can store in a cool dry space for up to a year. If it lasts that long!

There you have it! Jam!! Or jelly if you prefer.. whatever.. it's yummy on toast, biscuits, desserts, fingers. Enjoy!

35 comments:

Jenn said...

Thank you! I have always wanted to try this, even bought all the equipment but have been too afraid, until now that is! Fantabulous photos, I don't know what you are talking about! And thanks for the turkey tips, it turned out wonderful. Conquering food fears is kinda fun! Im glad that you have been "checking me out".

lady macleod said...

I can imagine NO circumstance under which I would be found making jam, but it was great fun watching you do so. I thought the photographs were quite good, the sugar pouring especially. Well done.

Krissie said...

WOW!
That was fun!
Not gonna do it anytime soon, but will remember where to go for instructions!

The Good Woman said...

Been wondering how you did this. Where I come from we don't worry about the straining through the cheesecloth. There are those that will tell you they like the texture and that the fruit fibre is good for you. But the thought of perfectly smooth jam makes me think that its more likely we're just lazy!

Karen said...

Gosh, now I'm hungry! My mom now makes strawberry preserves using the freezer method instead of canning. You gave a great step by step pictorial here!

jenny said...

Jenn-- I remember the first time I did jam, when I was done, all I could say was, "that's it?" It was so easy! The prep work is what's so time consuming, but once that is out of the way, the rest is easy! Thanks for coming by!

Lady M-- Thank you!! I'm tickled you had fun watching me!! Thanks for coming back!

Krissie-- Too bad Blogger doesnt have a "scratch and sniff" feature! LOL

Good Woman-- I dont mind seeded jam, but it does get to be a pain digging out tiny seeds from between your teeth. I made a dessert once that called for raspberry jam and I bought seeded jam (before I started making my own). It didnt go over very well because the people I made it for happened to not like the seeds. So I go the extra mile and strain out the seeds. Hubby prefers it smooth, too.

Karen--Thank you! I would freeze jam, except I already have frozen pumpkin and corn and a few other things and I have no room for more in there!!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Very nice photos. Don't know if I'd do it myself, although I have made jam in the past.

jenny said...

Coffee-- I sometimes think it would be easier to just BUY some jam, but then I eat some homemade jam-- mmmm! the taste just doesnt compare to store-bought. And how could I let all those lovely berries go to waste?

Elsie Button said...

WOW - that must have taken you ages to put together!! thank you!

jenny said...

Elsie-- you're welcome! I had fun doing it, but Hubby was kinda irritated with me because I took so long to post it. He had *things* to do and was waiting for me to get off the one and only computer. Hmph!

Lantana said...

Ugh, all that work! I would have the whole kitchen torn up and berries all over me!

I am much better at making apple butter. You don't even have to peel the apples if you have one of those thingys where you can grind the apples and keep the skin out. I forget what you call them.

I admire your energy and stamina.I suppose you give the jelly away for Christmas gifts? I hope your people appreciate it. Heh, heh.

If you want to sweat bullets, go pick Huckleberries, and then make jam out of those. THAT'S work! Hello Smuckers!

Warmly, Lantana

Donna said...

Oh come on Ladies.... It's really, really simple! I did 6 Quarts on my first time. It went smoothly and it was great all year long. This year I put up Strawberries and Blackberries and since I know what I put into it there is NO DOUBT what I'm putting into my body. It's all good. I did put newspaper down on the counters and used paper towels and clean Dark Red kitchen towels.. But there was very little muss. Tomatoes were a little more difficult, but still easier than pressure cooker methods. I'll stick to water baths and extend the time for altitude. You gotta try it once, you'll be sold. I promise.

Liz Jaeger said...

Thank you for this!! We can't wait to make our first batch.
Can you please let us know exactly how many jars your batch made (using the 3 1/2 cups of mashed berries that you started with?)
thanks again.
John & Liz

lolandjoe said...

Just making my first batch! I have made jams and jellies in the past as I grew up on a farm in a family of eleven children. This is the first time that I have had blackberries and I want to do this for my husband.

Thank you for the step by step. I already had the berries "juiced", and wanted to see a few recipes! You are definitely a delight...now to get the homemade bread going for the jelly! Ha ha.

Kelly said...

My Dad in Denver can't have seeds in his diet so thanks for the post of the cheesecloth step, I always thought if you squeezed fruit it would go cloudy but you added lemon, so thank you!

Phil said...

well, 2 years later, i'm definitely going to try your recipe, but, I must say, you need a juicer! I would never have the energy to make the jam if I had to mash & squeeze them. I must be too lazy but I'd prefer to make a jelly then and waste the pulp. Thank goodness I have a juicer!!! I'm going to also try a yellow plum (from the tree in the backyard) / seeded blackberry jam. . . I need to figure out the balance of sugar/pectin/plums/blackberry juice. . . wish me luck.

another good use for blackberries is in a pie with apple/pear and rhubarb... they all balance each other out!

thanks for your informative posting!! Kari

cindy said...

i have made some jams and preserves last year. kind of new at it. found a wild blackberry bush behind my new house and picked them. would like to know, with the recipe you have, how many pints of jam will you get. thankyou , i'm trying it now, so wish me luck!! love to cook

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Susan said...

I tried the flour sack towel method yesterday. I used one of my older ones that I didn't care about ruining. Unfortunately, it wasn't strong enough to hold up to all that squeezing, and it split wide open. What a mess! Pulp and juice all over. I'm still giggling at myself :) Thanks for a great recipe!

Donna said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I planted blackberry bushes last year just so I can make my own jam. I think I'll try the low sugar recipe, I want to taste blackberries not sugar. I am eager to try seedless. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I haven't done this in many years (back when I could send kids out to do the picking...lol). Last night my now-27yo son brought me what must be 30 lbs. of frozen blackberries from last summer! I'll be canning until the cows come home! Lost my original recipe, and would like to say thanks to Mountain Mama for this post.

And girls, it really ISN'T that hard, just takes some preparation and a little time. Well worth it for the fresh flavor and satisfaction you get! I WOULD suggest wearing old clothes or something you can bleach.

Linn said...

I had 20 cups of blackberries, picked last September, frozen in vacuum sealed bags. I had an injury around that time and didn't get around to making jam, hoping for the day when I could physically do it. Well, today was the day and this was the first and only jam recipe I looked at. It's an awesome recipe! And your photos are very helpful. I used my Champion Juicer to remove the seeds, and juiced some green grapes I had in the fridge. In all, about 11 cups of juice for this delicious seedless blackberry jam. Thank you!

keysa71 said...

This is a fabulous recipe and works perfectly. The "de-seeding" method is the first one I've used that really works. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Awesome recipe. Just finished and was looking for a blueberry one to keep canning. What do you know?

thanks a lot!

Gordon

Mellyberm said...

Great post! I just wanted to mention that I used your recipe since my kids are picky about seeds in jam! My cheesecloth did not last too long and I ended up with some seeds anyway but not too many! I'm thinking next time I'll just dust off the juicer we have in our pantry...I don't know why I didn't do that in the first place!

Charlotte said...

I use this method to make my blackberry jelly and then I use the pulp left in the cheesecloth to make blackberry jam!! Both are delicious and my family can have the thick pulpy jam or the seedless clear jelly!!

John Lee said...

i have a great blackberry patch.Now i know how to make
preserves. Thank you Jen!

John Lee said...

I have a beautiful patch at my house and IT HAS BLOOMED.. and now I know how to make blackberry preserves... Thanks Jen.

Anonymous said...

I've made a LOT of jelly and jam, but never tried for seedless before today. Jars are still cooling, but it sure does LOOK good!

Anonymous said...

I just smash the berries through a sieve. I hate seeds. the puree can be added to every pie. the sugar in the original pie is usually good enough to cover the additional berry puree. I make a regular apple pie and add 1 or 2 cups of puree. It is heavenly

Rhonda said...

Thanks for the info this has answered many of my questions, I have made 2 batches of Blackberry jam and it just didn't seem right. so again thank you for the info.

Anonymous said...

Just found your recipe this year and I must say it is a great one, not to sweet like most and can still taste the blackberries. I cheat and use my Vitamix on lowest speed and then pour into a sieve, most of the seed are gone and I don't mind a few here and there. Whipped up two batches late last night. Thinking I might try the juice idea, I was afraid I would just end up with lots of waste. Now to see the comments on using the pulp for pies. woo hoo thanks again.

Kayla Sandel said...

I been canning for a few years and our one blackberry plant took off this year. I have enough blackberries to make several batched !.And I am going to try this recipe for seedless jam... By reading the simple recipe,it should be YUMMY !

Angie Varney said...

Do you have a recipe for strawberry jam?

jenny said...

Angie Varney-- For making canned strawberry jam, I use the basic recipe in the Ball Canning Book... Pretty easy to make:
5 cups of crushed strawberries,
one-fourth cup of lemon juice,
7 cups of sugar
Combine strawberries and lemon juice and one box of pectin and bring to a boil, continuously stirring. When boiling, add entire amount of sugar all at once. Stir, stir, stir until it boils again. Pour into canning jars and then process jars in canning pot for 10 minutes.

Hope that helps!