Stained Hands and Sweet Jam: It’s Blackberry Season

Last week, we spent a sunny Friday morning blackberry picking in Point Pleasant Park with a lovely group with the Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre. Eight adults + 4 kids + 1 hour = 24 berry stained hands and many cups of blackberries.

It seems to be a great season for blackberries.  Check out your local park for blackberry bushes.  In addition to Point Pleasant Park, I’ve also seen blackberry bushes at York Redoubt.

Some of the blackberries went into the fridge for this past Monday’s jam workshop, and the rest went home with the pickers (in both buckets and bellies).

On Monday, we got together for a jam making workshop.  We made one batch of blackberry jam using the recipe from the pectin package (see below) and a a small batch using Splenda for the diabetic in the group.  Although Splenda can be substituted on a one-to-one basis for sugar, it didn’t gel quite as nicely.  While we worked, we snacked on tomatoes and grapes from the Bayers Westwood garden, and the group brainstormed ideas of foods they’d like to make in future workshops.  There was a request for apple pie and pumpkin pie, so Fiona, our Katimavik participant, is going to brush up on her pastry skills and maybe you’ll see a post from us next month on our pie workshop.

We’d like to hear your tips too!  Where do you like to pick berries?  Have you ever made sugar-free jam?  Did you have a pie recipe you’d like to share?

Blackberry Jam

3 ¾ cups (925ml) crushed blackberries (about 4 pints/ 2 L)

1/3 cup (75 ml) bottled lemon juice

7 1/3 cups (18oo ml) granulated sugar

1 pouch (85 ml) Liquid Pectin

Wash and crush berries, one layer at a time. Sieve part of the pulp to remove seeds, if desired. Measure 3 ¾ cups.

  • Place required number of clean 250 ml/236 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180F/ 82C) for at least 10 minutes. Keeps jars and SNAP Lids hot until ready to use.

Combine fruit and lemon  juice, in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan.

Stir sugar into fruit mixture.

  • Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Immediately stir in Liquid Pectin, mixing well. Stir and skim foam.
  • Ladle jam into a hot jar to within ¼ inch of top rim. Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Centre snap lid jar, apply screw band securely & firmly until resistance is met – fingertip tight. Place jar on canner; repeat for remaining jam.
  • Cover canner; bring water to boil. At altitudes up to 1,000 ft, process – boil filled jars – 10 minutes. Remove jars without tilting. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands. After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward.  Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place.

2 thoughts on “Stained Hands and Sweet Jam: It’s Blackberry Season

    • Honestly, I believe this was a copy-and-paste from the source we got our recipe. I don’t think there really needed to be an all-caps emphasis on this tip!
      However, the thinking behind this is really so that the soft rubber of the seal doesn’t get disrupted if someone would attempt to over-tighten the lids. (It’s the same idea as the 24 hour rest period – but I have NEVER waited a full 24 hours to put my jars away!) More of the new canning info suggest the canning rings are useful only for the actual canning process, and are not needed or useful when the jars have cooled down.
      Hope this is helpful,

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