Monday, August 27, 2007


Logan and I went blackberry picking last week. We picked 3 quarts of blackberries. Upon returning home I decided to attempt making jam. I've never done it before but used the recipe that came with the pectin. This particular pectin came with a packet of calcium that is supposed to help the pectin gel so you can use a lot less sugar.

Here is my jam boiling. Making the jam itself was pretty easy. I left the seeds in because we all like the seeds in our jam. I used 2 of the quarts for jam and froze the other quart for crisp sometime this winter. I found the actual canning part to be intimidating. I've never seen canning done and I had all these visions of exploding jars in my head. I used a boiling water bath and the jars seemed to have sealed. I still have visions of opening moldy jars of jam this winter. I really was wishing I had an Amish neighbor as I was doing this! The pictures on the internet were helpful but not quite the same as having someone there to hold you hand.

Here are my sealed jars. I sealed 6 and had 1 that I didn't seal to use right away. I managed to get blackberry juice everywhere! But it was fun and everyone agrees the jam is delicious. I only used 1.5 cups of sugar for the whole recipe so you really get the blackberry flavor.


Danielle said...

I was a bit intimidated the first time I canned as well and admit to having Monty Python-esque fears along the lines of, "Not the canned salmon?!"

I haven't used the pectin recipes, mostly cause I've been actively trying to steer clear of them, figuring that the fewer ingredients, the better. My first batch of strawberry preserves came out way too thick because I kept waiting for it to look like it was gelling as the recipe suggested. Well, it never did—kinda like gravy, it does its magic after the fact.

I just did a bunch of grape jelly today, and I'm hoping it'll be tasty. I'll let you know if I use the pressure canner.

farm mom said...

Congrats! It looks beautiful. You're a brave girl. I haven't braved canning yet either, pretty much for the same reasons you described, I'd feel better having someone with me that knew what they were doing. That and having toddlers in the kitchen seems to make the process even more dangerous sounding. So, for now I freeze everything, but I really hope to can someday, to hereduce energy consumption.

Niobium said...

I've been canning for the first time this summer also. I started out with speghetti sauce in jars like yours (only bigger). I found the sound of them sealing to be very comforting and exciting.

Over the weekend, I jarred Kosher Dills and zucchini pickles. I used "old fashioned" jars: the one with the rubber ring. It wasn't nearly as satisfying as with the lids you have because of no sound indicating the seal was created.

I agree with how intimidating canning is. And like farm mom, I wish I had someone who knows what their doing to be looking over my shoulder.

Christy said...

Danielle - You make the jam without pectin? I'd be interested in one of your recipes.

Farm mom- Luckily my son is almost 8 so it is much easier to do something like this with him around. He actually helped some.

Niobium - I only heard 1 jar seal but the 8 year old is often loud and can drown out many sounds. I've read that some towns have canning bees where you can learn to can from people who know what they are doing, but I didn't find anything like that around here. A mentor would be great!

Deanne said...

Awesome! It looks yummy. :)

Danielle said...

Mostly I just googled for my recipes. I have a couple of good books about the process, but to be honest, I'm not wild about the recipes in them.

Basically, the recipes I've used have been fruit, sugar, and lemon juice, and they've all turned out tasty. I just read a mess of recipes until I find some kind of reasonable consensus with what I'm looking for.

The grape jelly came out very thin—more like a grape sauce, really—but it's very tasty. I've had duck with wild blueberry sauce and cranberry sauce; I'm wondering if it would be tasty with grape sauce, too. Since we just processed our duck, I may need to try it out this fall!