Last Sunday I, Nathan, and my father in law went for a lovely walk. After a couple of colder days, the sun suddenly decided to show up again. It seemed to want to tell us that it wasn’t time for autumn just yet. During that walk, we ended picking over 2 kilograms of blackberries. It was a perfect occasion to have a go at (what would turn out to be) the best blackberry jam recipe and today I am sharing it with you!
Now, have you ever been blackberry picking? I found out that it’s a prickly business, but o. so. fun! Especially when you manage to find a good patch. Move over spiders, those black pearls are mine. As we were walking around, we came across two other families picking blackberries. We were half-joking to one another when we were saying things such as: ‘We hope you have left some for us, ha-ha’. After which we continued with panic in our eyes only to find out that all was well in blackberry land. There were so many blackberries, that there was enough for us, them, and of course the birds!
I tried to make blackberry jam last year and boy… it did not work. It ended up being a droopy and sour mess. Looking back now, I realise that I definitely undercooked it. But if you know me, then you know that I don’t like giving up. So I searched for a fun new recipe to try and had a go at it. And guess what? It worked out very, very well. The magic ingredient? Love. No joke, it was strawberries!
The recipe requires you to let the berries, sugar, and lemon juice soak in a bowl for up to 24 hours before you cook it. This is a tip given by hitchhikingtoheaven.com and she says: ‘By allowing the fruit to macerate in this way, you’re creating a flavourful, pectin-rich juice while at the same time allowing the sugar to initiate the preserving process.’ It makes the process of making jam a bit longer, but I believe it was definitely worth it!
Look at that beautiful goodness doing its thing. And the smell… o the whole kitchen smelled wonderful! I wish I could say that I was the genius behind this recipe, but I am going to have to give all the credits to the blog Hitchhiking to Heaven. The blog is sadly ‘inactive’ but the creator Shae has made sure to keep the blog online in order for us to still be able to enjoy her lovely recipes. Most of them are focused on preserving whatever she gets her hands on, so if that interests you make sure to have a look!
Did you go blackberry picking this year and what do you usually like to make with blackberries? Let me know if you try out the recipe and what you think of it!
The best blackberry (and strawberry) recipe
- 1300 grams wild blackberries
- 400 grams strawberries
- 1100 grams granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp lemon juice preferably fresh
- Sterilise your jars and put 5 teaspoons on a plate in the freezer, to test your jam for doneness later. I sterilise the jars by washing them with washing up liquid and hot water, and then I put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius. I sterilize the jar lids by putting them in boiled water for a couple of minutes and I let them dry on some kitchen towel.
- Carefully pick over the blackberries, removing any stray thorns or brambly bits. Rinse them in a bowl. I like to add water and a little bit of salt to it. I then swirl the berries around a bit by hand and then leave it for an hour or so. After that, I pour the water out of the bowl and repeat this process two more times.
- Rinse, hull, and roughly chop the strawberries. You can leave the very small strawberries whole.
- Combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large glass or ceramic bowl, cover tightly, and let it rest in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- When you’re ready to make the jam, transfer the contents of the bowl to your jam pan. Heat the mixture on medium, stirring frequently until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring as needed to prevent sticking or burning. If it really wants to stick, turn down the heat a bit. In my stainless steel casserole pan, it took me 1,5 hours in total to cook the jam, but the cooking time could take as little as 25 minutes for you. Just make sure to watch the mixture and test it when it starts to thicken up, the foam settles down, and the bubbles become small and shiny.
- To test your jam for doneness: Remove the pan from the heat. Use one of your frozen spoons to scoop up a little bit of jam — not a whole spoonful. Return the spoon to the freezer and wait 3 minutes. Retrieve the spoon and hold it vertically. If the mixture just fails to run and is thick and gloppy when you push it with your finger, it’s done. If the jam isn’t ready, cook it a few minutes more.
- When the jam is done, bring it back to the point where it just begins to boil and immediately remove it from the heat. Extract some of the seeds from the jam by quickly pressing 3 soup spoons of the very hot mixture through a stainless steel sieve. I use the back of my soup spoon to work the jam through the sieve, holding it directly over the pot.
- Ladle or pour the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving about 1 cm at the top. Wipe the jar rims clean and place waxed discs for 1 lb jars on top of the jam. If you want to make sure that the jam really is 'safe' you can also place jam jar covers on top of the jars before securing the lids.