Okay, this post is not a recipe. I’m sorry, it’s not but it’s more of an account of what happened and how it was handled when it failed which is very important to know how to fix jellies or jams if they do not set.
My first experience preserving anything was making blackberry jam in 1996. I followed a recipe from the old tried and true Ball canning book. It worked beautifully. It set perfectly, and I had thought -wow, this is so easy, how could it ever fail? Oh but it can and does at times….
I really should go back to the Ball canning book and never look back because I have had better luck using their recipes than online recipes.
Canning tomatoes is easy. Canning pickles is easy. But jellies and jams require a little bit of calculation or you need to follow a recipe EXACTLY. It’s something about the ratio of fruit (depending on it’s natural pectin content) to sugar to pectin.
We had originally planted blackberries in front of our chicken run years ago and they went crazy, so crazy that I didn’t’ know what to do with the fruit. I was too busy running my commercial studio to really care about canning or preserving. I ended up wasting them, I’m sure.
We pulled those plants because they were out of control, but I kept having little shoots come up from where the root was not fully removed. I took these shoots and planted them behind the chicken run, and there they have thrived. I wasn’t going to waste this year.
The blackberries were huge.
I picked two batches total. First patch I prepared. After sorting and cleaning…
I pushed the blackberries through a chinois.
If you don’t have one, I have to admit, they are a handy tool to have around.
I don’t usually mind blackberry seeds but these are HUGE. I’d prefer no seeds so figured I would take the time this year and remove them.
This batch made about 3 cups of puree. I froze the puree to wait on the next batch.
The next batch made another 3 to 3-1/2 cups of puree.
I cooked my blackberry puree and added sugar and pectin as required.
The recipe I used was 6 cups of blackberry puree, 5 cups of sugar, a few tablespoons of lemon juice, and one packet of liquid pectin. Then I processed the cans in a pot of boiling water to the correct time….. Do NOT use this recipe.
While the jam was DELICIOUS, it did not set.
Let’s consider why it didn’t set. I may not have used exact measurements. I think my first batch of berries turned out 3-1/2 cups and second 3 cups, so maybe that extra 1/2 cup threw it off. Or maybe it was because I used a seeded recipe but removed the seeds – maybe that made a difference, either way, there is hope. If you ever have some that does not set, throw it all back in a pot and bring it to a boil, and follow instructions here. This is a GREAT resource for making sure you have the correct ratio. I ended up following it precisely and the second time around, it set well.
I wish I had double the amount of blackberry bushes now! I’m sure they will keep spreading which is great – blackberry jam every year!!!