Blackberry Jam

blackberries in field

People in the Pacific Northwest take wild blackberries for granted. In fact, they’re something of a nuisance, lining highways and filling empty lots (my dad once had to rent a backhoe in order to clear the brambles from the lower half of our yard). In August, it’s easy to freely pick gallons of blackberries (you may sacrifice a bit of skin in the process – wild blackberries have very sharp thorns) at local parks, nature reserves and backyards. Just make sure to watch where you’re picking, last summer my parents got scolded after accidentally wandering onto someone’s property while picking berries at the very furthest most point of a dead end road.

blackberries in strainer

Out here in the Mid-Atlantic area of the country, blackberries are a little harder to come by. In fact, I’ve yet to find any wild fruit growing here in Philadelphia. However, I’m lucky to have a few good u-pick farms in the area. They’re not free, but they’re pretty cheap (two weekends ago, I paid $1.10 a pound) and when it comes to blackberries, the cultivated patches come with far fewer thorns than the wild ones.

mashing berries

Blackberry jam is one of my mom’s specialties, so this recipe is more hers than mine. She’s the one who taught me to mash the berries through a strainer to remove the seeds before turning them into jam (it’s a necessity with wild berries, as they tend to be seedier than cultivated berries. If you have more civilized berries, the deseeding process is optional). She’s also the one who showed me how wonderful a smear of blackberry jam can be on a slice of peanut butter toast mid-February.

blackberry pulp into pot

And, because I like to share my bounty, I do have a half pint of this luscious jam to give away. It’s a deep, deep purple color, is almost entirely seedless and is particularly amazing on pancakes (I had friends over for brunch the day after I made the batch and we couldn’t believe how perfect it was in place of maple syrup). Leave a comment by Monday, August 31st at 11:59 p.m. eastern time to enter.

So, on to the recipe we go.

Seedless Blackberry Jam

Yield: Approximately 3 Pints

Ingredients

  • 6 cups blackberry pulp (8-9 cups of berries, mashed through a strainer with the back of a wooden spoon)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 packet liquid pectin (half the box)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your jars, start your lids to simmering and bring your canning pot to a boil.
  2. In a large, non-reactive pot (stainless steel or enameled cast iron), combine the sugar and fruit pulp and bring to a simmer. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest/juice and stir to combine.
  3. Let the mixture reach a boil, stirring frequently to prevent it from boiling over. When the mixture appears to be thickening a bit, add the pectin and bring it back to a roiling boil.
  4. Let it boil vigorously for at least five minutes to activate the pectin. Before removing from the heat, check the set using the plate or spoon test to ensure that the jam will firm up when cool.
  5. Fill your jars with the hot jam, wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes.
  6. Remove from canner and allow the jars to completely cool on a dishtowel-lined counter top.
  7. Once the jars are cool, check the seals, label them and eat jam on toast in January.
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169 Responses to Blackberry Jam

  1. 101
    Celia Husmann says:

    Is the lemon juice necessary if I’m using raspberries?

    • 101.1
      marisa says:

      The acid in lemon juice will help with the set of the jam and also helps balance the flavor. You should include it.

      • Celia Husmann says:

        Great, thanks for the tip. These are not things taught in the Sure-Jel recipe booklets (LOL). I am learning a lot from you and I’m sorry for all the posts! Definitely spreading the word on your blog though!

    • 101.2
      jeanee lowery says:

      i would really like to sample this jam before i try to make it.i bought a jar from a girl at my local farmer’s market but it’s not really all that sweet and it doesn’t have a very strong blackberry flavor. perhaps the berries she used may not have been very sweet.
      however, we had a great discussion about making double batches. please read my comments on the honey lemon marmalade recipe.

  2. 102
    christy says:

    Just finished making this jam ~ it totally rocks, in taste, texture, & color. I did change it a bit, but the essence of your recipe is still very much there. My 8 C of wild berries amounted to just 4 C liquid once I put them through my KitchenAid fruit/veg strainer attachment ~ wild berries seem to be smaller & seedier than domestic versions ~ so I poured in 4 C of blueberries also. I followed your recipe, otherwise, maybe cooking it down just a bit longer because I had so much fruit. This was the 1st time I’ve used pectin but I like the consistency of it… & the fact that it IS consistent, more uniform results than relying on what natural pectin lies in the fruit itself. I am now sitting next to 7 – 1/2 pints & 2 very full Bonne Maman jars full of what I’m calling “Black & Blue Jam” ~ after its ingredients & how I feel while I’m picking those blasted blackberries! Life is good ~ & so is this jam!! :) Thanks for sharing your canning exploits, I’m glad I found your recipe for Dilly Beans (which is what brought me here in the 1st place just a few days ago) ~ I’ll be back often!! :)

    • 102.1
      Kathy says:

      Here in Alabama, blackberries are plentiful. I have been a blackberry jam connisour for years. Wh have had severe droughts for the last 3-4 years. Year before last, whene blackberries were scarce, to finish up my last batch of jam, I used 1/2 blackberries and 1/2 blueberries. Let me tell you, that was the best batch of jelly I EVER made! I have been making it that way ever sense!

  3. 103
    Celia Husmann says:

    Hmmm…. I put it in jars and it looks like liquid! I wonder if it will firm up? I boiled vigorously for the 5 minutes and used a packed of liquid pectin…..

    • 103.1
      Celia Husmann says:

      Maybe I should’ve cooked it more. I literally poured it into the jars. Oh well I guess — live and learn!

      • marisa says:

        Celia, you have to use your best judgment to determine whether it’s ready to pour into jars. The time I give isn’t exact, because every batch is different.

        • Celia says:

          Yeah, I have a hard time using my judgement even though I kicked myself for not doing so. I just kept thinking to follow your directions exactly… I’m wondering what your experience is in remaking the batch to thicken it? I’ve googled for info but curious what your thoughts are. By the way, my strawberry vanilla jam came out fab.

          • barb says:

            I know it was long ago but, a few diferent times my jams haven’t done the thicken thing so all those jars went back into the pot and came out great the second time so must be ok!

  4. 104
    Jessica says:

    Having a late blackberry season here in the Seattle area this year. I will be making a batch of this tonight, and if I love it enough (which I know I will) it will inspire me to fight the thorns for enough berries for a second batch. I think your in the area Marisa so you may have the opportunity to fill up on the blackberries while your here :)

  5. 105

    [...] Adapted from Food In Jars [...]

  6. 106
    Gina says:

    So i just tried this for the first time. I’ve never made jam before in my life. I only had enough berries to make half the recipe that you posted here, and i halved the pectin as well because that seemed like the natural thing to do. My jam didn’t set at all! :( all my hard work is now liquefied in five little jam jars. Should i have just added the entire package of pectin even though i was only using half of everything else the recipe called for? I used half a large lemon instead of a small one, so could too much lemon juice have been an issue? Not enough lemon juice? I want to try this again, but now i’ve got five jars of blackberry syrup i can’t do anything with (unless i can somehow salvage it by adding another half-packet of pectin..)

    • 106.1
      Peggy says:

      I made blackberry jam one year and tried it the old fashion way – making sure 1/4 of the blackberries are not quite rip and then add no pectin. Well, didn’t work. I too ended up with syrup. Which, was so well received I make it that way on purpose now every year. We use it on pancakes (usually mixed with regular maple syrup) and in shakes. Love it.

      As far as jam, I always add extra because I like my jam firm. Doesn’t seem to change the end taste.

  7. 107

    [...] jam was inspired by a fantastic recipe from Food in Jars. I did not mash the berries through a strainer, so it isn’t a seedless jam. I just mushed [...]

  8. 108
    Rigel says:

    I have been canning for a couple years, and have so far made simple things, plain strawberry jam and the like…this year I did pickles and relish and your orange creamsicle (hubby’s favorite!) But this….WOW! It came out SO delicious, I can’t even believe I made it! I don’t have liquid pectin so I used a package of powdered which I put in at the beginning, but other than that exactly the same. I have never thought to put spices in my jam (duh!), the cinnamon and nutmeg perfectly zip up the flavors, the bit of heat and woody-ness kind of reminds me of the stickers I dealt with this morning to get my berries! DROOL is pouring down my chin right now in expectation of it cooling…oh heck with it, warm jam on toast NOW!!!

  9. 109

    can’t wait for the blackberries in my yard to be pickable!

  10. 110

    [...] can find the original recipe here. I made a couple minor alterations on my own, but I essentially stayed true to the recipe. You will [...]

  11. 111
    Linda Moran says:

    Can you re cook blackberry jam if it does not set up? I forgot the lemon also.

  12. 112

    [...] planning to go picking again next weekend for more blackberries! I would love to make some more blackberry jam, freeze more for smoothies, make my own blackberry-infused vodka (HELLO?!), and my son is insisting [...]

  13. 113
    Liz says:

    I tried this recipe out after picking a loooooaad of blackberries and it worked wonderfully, thanks!

    http://thesugarlump.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/blackberry-jam.html

  14. 114

    Can I use powdered pectin and just lemon juice.

  15. 115
    J.W. says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. 116
    Annie says:

    Hi- I live in Skagit County , Wa and we have an abundance of wild blackberries of several varieties. I have experinmented with not using pectin and if there are some slightly under-ripe berries in your pot these will help you firm up your jam. It takes a bit more patience and careful heating but the taste is amazing. I did this because pectin is becoming so expensive. The bland tasting blackberry jam may be from commercial berries which sadly do not have nearly the zip as the wild berries. I have a farmer friend who let me glean his blackberry fieldlast year and I was so disappointed in the lack of flavor or even aroma- guess I’m spoiled with the wild ones. I have several packages in the freezer I’m planning to blend with the wild berries to help them out. And yes you can re-cook the jam if need be but be careful you don’t make blackberry tar or you can use it as ice cream topping or as syrup. My recipe is 8 c pulp/juice to 6 c sugar- heat to 210 degrees; water bath 10 minutes. I test small dabs to see if the jell is right.

  17. 117
    Laura says:

    I’m not a huge fan of blackberry jam but this recipe made all the difference. A friend gave me several gallons of wild blackberries so I had the luxury of experimenting with several recipes. This recipe was the clear favorite.

    I made a few changes – I did not strain the berries and I increased the amount of freshly grated nutmeg. The flavor is incredible and I plan to make more to give as gifts this year. Thanks to your Mom for sharing this recipe.

  18. 118
    Rachel says:

    I am so excited about trying this recipe! Just one quick question: when you say 6 cups blackberry pulp, should the pulp actually be in there? My strainer has such small holes that none of the pulp is getting through, just pure liquid juice. Is that alright? I hate seeds in jam so don’t want to use pulp full of seeds. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    • 118.1
      Cari says:

      Rachel, If you want seed free then use a food mill instead of a strainer, you should be able to pick one up at a box store of a kitchen specialty store. I actually found mine at a garage sale and have used it for applesauce and now for blackberrys. it saves tons of time and you get 10x less seeds…

  19. 119
    John Cochran says:

    Marisa, when they are in season raspberries grow wild along River Road just outside of New Hope in Bucks County. You might be taking your life in your hands some days to pick the darned things, but they are there

  20. 120
    Sarah says:

    My husband and I recently took advantage of the wild blackberries here in the Pacific Northwest! We live north of Seattle and found the perfect spot! I made a batch of blackberry pecan scones, but I made sure to have enough berries left to make a batch of jam! This recipe is the best that I’ve tried so far- its so decadent with the spices! It brings the berry flavor out and it just bursts in your mouth! Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing a family recipe!

  21. 121
    Rachel says:

    Can i make this jam using Ball Classic Pectin instead of liquid pectin?

  22. 122
    Di says:

    Turned out really good!
    This was the first time I’ve ever canned anything, so I’m pretty satisfied :)
    However I might not put quite as much sugar in.
    With an abundance of wild black berries on the west coast of British Columbia, this recipe will be a favorite.

  23. 123
    onesillyme says:

    Can’t decide between making peach-blackberry like last year, or blackberry jam with some sage added…

  24. 124
    Sophia says:

    I live in Guatemala, to this day I have only found pectin in dry form, like the gelatin, but I just can´t seem to find anywhere how to use it, do you put it in water first, do you use hot water? every thing I’ve tried has turned the pectin into lumps can any one our there help me? thanks.

  25. 125
    Shannon Swain says:

    So I dropped by the grocery store on my way home yesterday, and blackberries, normally $5.00 a box, were 10 boxes for $10.00!!!
    I got very excited, purchased a bunch of boxes, then decided I could figure out how to make jam on the net. And I stumbled on your site and made this recipe and WOW!! I had to adjust for various factors…..my 11 year old got up in the middle of the night and ate 3 boxes of berries, so had to run down and buy more :). I bought powdered pectin instead of liquid, realized my error, so had to run back down and buy liquid, and I am so glad I had both on hand, because after using only the liqui d pectin, I had very runny blackberry juice. I added almost a half a pack of dry, and that solved the problem. I was worried it was too late in the cooking process to add the dry, but it worked!I also cut back just a bit on the sugar, but only because I only had about 3 2/3 c. left after I made fureur, spicy molasses cookies this morning ;). The jam is outstanding, I feel very proud of myself, and am totally grateful to you, Marisa, for sharing!! Yippee!!

  26. 126

    [...] degrees.  Other blackberry eats and drinks… Blackberry Fizz Blackberry Orange Muffins Blackberry Jam Apple Blackberry Cake Mint-Berry Fruit [...]

  27. 127
    Sierra says:

    Wowza, I just got a little teary eyed at this post. I’m from Oregon and some of my best memories are stopping off the side of a bike path with my parents, filling my basket and stomach with wild blackberries and continuing on my ride. Now I live in Philadelphia as well, and I find that blackberries, my favorite fruit, are hard to come by. No way do I want to pay $4 per pint of mediocre tart blackberries.
    This is my question: Can you give me the name of a few of the best/affordable U-pick places close to Philly? Obviously not much in season now, but I would love to know for the future season. I would love to introduce my Philly-native friends to the joys of berry picking, and stock up!

    • 127.1
      Mary says:

      Sierra,
      Just stumbled on this blog and enjoying the recipes – especially since it is currently snowing outside. There are some great u-pick orchards in Berks County if you want to get on the Turnpike and head west. Weaver’s Family Orchard (north of Morgantown) has strawberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, pears and I have probably forgotten some items. Great local family owned orchard.

    • 127.2
      momnotmom says:

      You can also try Solebury Orchards just outside of New Hope in Bucks County. You can pick blueberries, blackberries, and apples depending on the time of year. They also have a flower garden you can cut your own. They have the best cider and apple cider donuts in the fall, too. They have cherries some years, too. They used to have raspberries, but no more. (Wah!)

      Google them or check out their web site.

  28. 128
    Aunt Charley says:

    I have a question I haven’t seen on here. It may be evident and I just don’t see it, but you say bring to let the mixture reach a boil, stirring to keep it from boiling over; then you say when the mixture appears to be thickening a bit, bring it BACK to a rolling boil. Was it a rolling boil before? If yes, then where does it say to reduce heat or otherwise allow it to be less than a rolling boil? I’m confused and want to get it right the first time as blackberries here are expensive.

    • 128.1
      Marisa says:

      It appears that there was a typo in that recipe that was causing your confusion. It was supposed to say that once you add the pectin, you need to bring it back to a rolling boil. I’ve corrected it, so you should be able to follow the recipe without issue. Thanks so much for pointing out the error.

  29. 129
    mb says:

    This looks like a very nice recipe. I am a very lucky person living in Portland Oregon. My friend and i just returned from picking piles of boysenberries and I think i am going to give this a spin. The nutmeg and cinnamon sound like lovely compliments to the berries. I will keep you posted

    I also wanted to add that your “small batch approach has completelg changed my canning life. Thank you for all you do.
    CHEERS!!!!!!

    Ch

  30. 130
    Brigid says:

    Hi! I live in Princeton, NJ and I’m looking for a cheap place to pick blackberries. The farm where I get my produce has ridiculously expensive prices. Where did you find them in Philly for $1.10?

    Thanks so much!
    -Brigid

  31. 131
  32. 132
    Jim Simms says:

    I’m leaving a comment for you for two reasons. One is that I love this recipe and my jam tastes wonderful. The other reason is that your recipe is so good that I’d love to try your jam also. I hope I get lucky and win your 1/2 pint give a way jam. It’s really good stuff. I live out in the country here in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I have discovered several great places to pick my blackberries for fresh Blackberry Pies and Blackberry Jam. By the way, do you have a favorite recipe for Blackberry Pie ? I have a pretty good pie recipe but if you have one I would definitely give it a try. If it’s anything like your jam recipe I’ll love it. Thanks for the Blackberry Jam Recipe.

  33. 133
    Gabrielle says:

    I am making this right now, and I can’t believe how amazing it smells!

  34. 134
    Jen says:

    Had to make some room in the freezer and found this recipe to use up some good blackberries I picked this year in Virginia. If the dregs at the bottom of the pot are any indication this is a FANTASTIC tasting spread! The spices and the lemon really give it a richer and brighter taste than any blackberry jam I’ve made before. This is a keeper!

  35. 135
    corina says:

    Hi there, from across the pond. I live in the UK and this year due to a wonderful summer we have blackberries everywhere. I have been picking three times this week already. Blackberry and apple is a tradition in the UK. I am an old hat at canning and wanted to share some information on jams that do not set . It is perfectly ok to re-batch the cooked syrup by adding another half cup of sugar per quart of syrup and more pectin. We can only get powdered pectin most places over here so sometimes it takes a bit extra to get jams to set. Also for all the seed and pulp many of you throw away it can be boiled in a separate pot along with water and sugar for cordial. Cook down mixture and add lemon juice. Strain and bottle. You can take the strained seeds and pulp left bake in a low oven and eat as a snack or add it to muffins etc. Don,t waste natures bounty. I often take the dried pulp and seeds, whiz it in my grinder and add it to homemade soap for exfoliation. Happy jamming from the UK

  36. 136

    […] plentiful wild berries. We collected about 11 cups of berries or almost five pounds. I used this Food in Jar’s Blackberry Jam recipe to make an extremely thick jam that was unbelievably time consuming thanks to the mashing of […]

  37. 137
  38. 138

    […] but it still tasted good and I am extremely proud of it. I used blogger Marisa Mclellan’s Blackberry Jam recipe.  She is the author of the wonderful canning blog, Food In Jars . She has go-to […]

  39. 139
    Sharon says:

    I went to mow the lawn yesterday. When I went to weed whack the brambles along the house, I noticed that there were black raspberries (apparently some creature has been eating them before I get to them, so all that’s left are the brambles to be cut). The whacking will wait! So far I have 1/2 cup of tasty berries washed and in the freezer. Will check for more in a couple of days. I will have to get some jars and pectin, but I can’t wait to make the jam, even in a small batch!

  40. 140
    bharris says:

    Just made spiced blackberry preserves. Changed your recipy a little bit. Did not crush the 8 cups of blackberries. Cut the spices by half and used 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. used a tad less than 3 cups of organic sugar. The thornless Blackberries are from my yard. Delicious. put some on a Ritz and added shredded cheddar on top. Great with a cup of tea.

  41. 141
    Jess says:

    I just tried your recipe and I must say it turned out fantastic!!! We absolutely loved it and so did our little ones, which is rare for them lol.. My family has lots of land which is covered with blackberries, raspberries, and many fruit trees that we harvest every year.. Any recipes you have for canning/making jams and jellies for peaches, apples, plums, wild cherries, pears, and raspberries would be greatly appreciated!

  42. 142
  43. 143

    I bought six pints of southern Md blackberries on the side of the road this weekend … woulda bought a whole flat but the hubby is a little perplexed by my jam obsession. So followed your recipe, reducing berry pulp to 4 cups and sugar proportionately to 2 2/3 cup. Just smooshed em up – I’m ok with seeds. I threw in a star anise and a cinnamon stick, fishing those out at the end. Processed and popped, just letting them cool. Jam spatters on counter look jelled – yeah!! Even with reductions, still got 5 half pints processed and a near-half-pint for the fridge.

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