Food Preservation — 17 September 2013

We did some canning of the wild balckberries we recently picked.  I’m very happy with the results and it seemed to be a simple enough process that anyone could do with the right equipment. Using three gallon bags of berries, surgar, and pectin, I was able to make about 12 cups of blackberry jam.

Here is the process that I followed:

Sanitize the Glass Jars

I used our dishwasher to wash and sanitize our canning jars.  Another way to sanitize the jars is to place them in the oven at 275F for 20 minutes.  You’ll want to time this so that you’re putting the hot jam into hot jars.  If the jars are cold, then there is a good chance they will shatter when the hot jam is put in them.

Heat up the Berries

With the stove on medium heat, I dumped about half of the berries that we had stored into our pot.  The pectin recipe warned that the pectin would not be effective with too large of a batch.  So, I kept my batch relatively small (about 9 cups of berries).

Plop go the berries

Plop go the berries

The heat helped break down the berry, so that the seeds could be removed.

Remove the Seeds

Blackberries have a lot of little seeds that I didn’t want in our jam.  In order to remove most of these, I mushed up the berries then ran them through a strainer.  I used a hand blender to mash up the berries.  Straining the seeds was probably the most difficult part.  There are lots of ways to do this, but this is how I did it.

I put a bowl in the sink, then put a cullender over the bowl.  I then poured the blended berries into the cullender and allowed the liquid to drop into the bowl.

2013-09-07_12-19-05_444I used a spoon, to mix the pulp and try to get as much of the juice out as possible.

Get the Pots Ready

These next few steps go by quickly, so you’ll want to get things in order before starting.  Otherwise, you might have to end up yelling for help from an innocent bystander.  (Okay, I admit I might have had to do this).

2013-09-07_12-28-57_705You will need to have a pot with the berries, a pot of water for the canning lids, and the water bath caner.  I was able to keep the jar lids in hot water until they were needed.  Extracting the lids is easy with a Magnetic Wand.

Magnetic canning wand

Magnetic canning wand

Add the Ingredients

I followed the recipe that was on the pectin package.  I used “Classic Pectin” from Ball.  Here is what the recipe says for reduced sugar jam (still has a lot of sugar).

  •  1 1/3 cups prepared fruit.
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pectin.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar.

I measured how many cups of blackberries I had, then increased the amount of pectin and sugar to keep the ratios the same in the recipe.  I then added it all in the pot on the stove and brought it to a boil.  You’ll want to constantly stir the mixture to help dissolve the sugar.  After boiling for 1 minute, I removed the pot from the heat and poured it into the hot jars using a plastic funnel.

Before placing the jar lids on the jars, I used a paper towel to wipe away any jam on the rim of the jars.  This helps ensure there is a good seal between the lid and jar.

Wipe away the jam from the rim of the jar.

Wipe away the jam from the rim of the jar.

Put Into The Canner

The water bath canning method can be used for blackberry jam.  Even though I have a pressure caner, I oped to use the water bath canning method.  After placing the lids and rings on the jars full of jam, I placed them in the hot water inside the caner.  Once all the jars were in, I made sure the water covered the jars completely, and brought the water to a rolling boil.  I put the lid on the caner, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

2013-09-07_13-52-37_424Once the 10 minutes was completed, I turned the heat off, and let everything cool down a little before opening the lid.  I think this is good practice because there will be a lot of hot steam under the lid and you don’t want to get burned.

Final Product

Using the jar grabber, I took the hot jars and placed them on top of a cloth towel on the counter top.  The lids sucked down with a “pop” almost immediately after taking the jars out of the hot water.  This is a good sign since the lids should be sealed under a vacuum pressure.  The cloth towel helps so that the jars don’t get stuck to the counter top.  For some reason hot jars have been known to do this at times.

2013-09-09_21-17-36_814And there you have it, fresh home made jam you can store on the shelf until needed.  Only a few steps were needed and this should last our family well over a year.  I hope this encourages you to try your hand at canning your own jam…you can do it.


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(6) Readers Comments

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  2. Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! We’re live again this week. Come on over and share what you’ve been working on!

    • Thanks for letting me share Mary.

  3. Wow, I really appreciate the step by step guide here especially with the pictures! I have always wanted to can yet have never taken the plunge!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

    • Canning can be a little tedious but I think its worth the effort to learn.

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