I discovered raspberries when I was nine years old. That was the first spring my family lived in Portland, and tucked back behind our garage were some well-established red raspberry canes. For the weeks that they were in season, I would squeeze myself into the space between the garage and the fence and eat every ripe berry I could reach.
It’s been years since I’ve had access like that to raspberries. My parents have a few canes, but I’m rarely able to get out to Portland when they’re ripe. In the last few years, I’ve made a point of indulging in a bit of raspberry u-pick, but until this week I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the last time I felt well and truly sated when it comes to raspberries.
Raspberry season arrived earlier this week to my neck of the country and I determined to splurge on a truly indulgent volume of berries. I opted for black raspberries, after hearing their many virtues praised by a friend who’s berry-judgment I greatly trust. On Tuesday, I took myself on a little field trip out to Lancaster County to buy jars at Good’s Store and pick up a flat of black raspberries from Shenk Berry Farm.
Though I was mostly innocent to black raspberries before this week, I am now well and truly converted to their many charms. They are smaller than their red siblings and quite seedy, but not in an unpleasant way. There’s a slight hint of wine in each bite. And they make dark, gorgeous, spreadable jam.
The following recipe is a very basic one. There’s nothing here but fruit, sugar, lemon and a just a bit of pectin (though if you’re okay with a slightly runnier jam, you could easily do without. Just make sure to track your temperature with a thermometer to insure you get to the set point).
Feel free to add cinnamon, nutmeg, sage leaves, star anise or some other flavor enhancer, should you wish. This recipe would also work equally well with red raspberries if black ones are not to be had in your area.
Black Raspberry Jam
- 6 cups mashed black raspberries 4 pints, about 3 pounds of berries
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons powdered pectin I used Ball’s flex pectin
- Prep 3 pint or 6 half pint jars.
- Combine mashed berries, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a large pot (a wide, non-reactive pot is best). Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Skim the foam that develops.
- When the jam has thickened a bit* and the boil can’t be stirred down, sprinkle in the pectin and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, until the jam seems quite thick (the saucer test is helpful here).
- When the jam has thickened to your liking, remove it from the heat. Ladle into jars, wipe rims, apply lids and process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool on a folded kitchen towel.
- When jars are cool enough to touch, remove rings and test seals. Jam is ready to eat as soon as it is cooled but can also be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
So delightful to see all those black raspberries laid out on your table. (They look a bit like old fashioned black licorice candies.) I was nibbling some at the farmer’s market last week, thinking I might do a blend of black and red sometime this summer. But oh, all this summer fruit, how do we choose? I want all of it!
You’re exactly right. There is just a whisper of wine in a black raspberry. And now I must simply must find myself some to play with. Your jam looks luscious.
Black raspberries are SO good!! One of my favorite memories as a child was heading out into the woods in long sleeves and cords (in JULY) with a bucket and not coming home until the bucket (and I) was full. I was purple from head to toe and stuffed to the gills with berries! But I still had plenty of room to eat that delicious jam on toast that my mom made. We only have a small patch near my house and unfortunately, I can’t find a grower, but I sneak a handful or so everyday and savor every purple bite.
I lived in the Portland area in the 80’s and I miss, miss, miss the berries. Only there can you really get to know the fine difference between logan, Marion, boysens and every kind of raspberry known. I would haul the kids to very u-pick I could find. One 4th of July we were with my parents at a Puget Sound beach and my sis and I picked wild salmon berries and came home and made jam that was the best vacation souvenir ever.
Here in good old Arkansas we are a bit hot for raspberries and I miss them! Enjoy your black raspberries. We’ve had some golden raspberries at our Sam’s Club but I find them a bit harry and bland.
I have 2 questions: would this recipe be good for blackberries? Also, what are your experiences making a jelly or jam that is diabetic-friendly? I miss my jams!
Jason, this would definitely work for blackberries too, although I tend to seed my blackberries. Here’s the recipe I tend to use for blackberry jam: https://foodinjars.com.s164546.gridserver.com/arugulapesto/2009/08/blackberry-jam/. If you want to make a diabetic friendly jam, I’d recommend looking into Pomona’s Pectin. It will give you a good set without a lot of sugar. It also works with Splenda or Truvia.
I just brought back 28# of frozen black raspberries from Portland (Hillsboro/Forest Grove)yesterday. I have thawed them and put 4 cup of them into freezer bags. I plan on making jam/preserves in the not to distant future. I have Ball Classic pectin. Do I drain the liquid before mashing the berries or is some OK? I like the idea of 3 cups of sugar, others call for as much as 7 cups. Any other tricks? Let me know.
Marisa, you continue to inspire me. Your post reminded me of my own raspberry story. Instead of discovering raspberries in my backyard, I have very fond memories of raspberries growing up that simply came from the grocery store. Every once in awhile, my Dad would come home from the store with a little container of raspberries. As they continue to be, they were expensive, so it was only every once in awhile. When he did bring them home, my mom and I would immediately eat every single one of the berries, straight out of the container. Those raspberry eatings are some of my best memories of childhood. Thanks for bringing that back for me. Hope you’re well!
i so want to make raspberry jam this summer. it is my absolute favorite jam! i’ve only made red and golden before. but black sounds divine!
Wow, I’ve never even seen black raspberries. I wonder if I can get them on Long Island? Your jam looks delicious and inspiring as always.
Thank you for this recipe! I’m headed home to visit family in Michigan in a few weeks, and the black raspberries will be ripe. We’ve always just made a freezer jam, but I’ve been wanting to try a jam that could be stored out of the freezer (I don’t have much freezer space). I can’t wait to try this.
When I was a little girl we would stay with my grandfather in the summer in Mena, Arkansas. On the 4th of July we would picnic on top of Rich Mountain. There, on the path to Lover’s Leap, were berries that we called wineberries. I think they must have been some kind of raspberry relative. They were delicious! It is impossible to get enough raspberries down here in Florida – they are soooo expensive to buy
Sigh. I have about that many blueberries right now, but I can’t wait to find raspberries. I’ve never had enough to make jam, but I really hope this will be the year!
I live in Portland, and because of our Really Long rainy spring this year, the berries are just now starting to come into the markets. The local Hood strawberries are finally here. Since they are too delicate to be trucked out of state, many of you won’t ever get to try them unless you come here for a visit. After moving to Oregon ten years ago from CA, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I discovered how wonderful and plentiful the berries are in the northwest. I’ll definitely try your blackcap recipe!
I guess I’d better check on the raspberry situation here in Portland. We’re still picking strawberries, and I thought we wouldn’t be on to cane berries for a while, but now I’m thinking I’d better make sure so I don’t miss them!
Is the flavor similar to red raspberries? Sadly, that is the one fruit or vegetable I just really don’t like… something about the flavor is gross to me. Do these taste more like blackberries?
I don’t think they taste much like a red raspberry; reds are sweet/tart and a bit musky. Blacks are so grape-y/wine-y, with a richer flavor. You may find some at your local farmers market or scout around for a bush.
I’ve been making black raspberry jam for a couple years now. Black raspberries grow wild all over the place, so I can usually find more than enough for free! They are a little seedier than red-raspberries, but if you can strain out some of the seeds they make really tasty jam.
This jam looks so tasty!! We have a great local U-pick where I am so I will have to try this. YUM YUM YUM!
I love black raspberries. I honestly can’t imagine adding any “enhancers” to the mix. It feels somehow sacrilegious.
The best enhancer is one third red raspberries with two thirds black. Consistently the best tasting jam I make.
Black raspberries are by far the best. I used to go to a camp in Wisconsin with a huge black raspberry cane right next to the dining hall, so I’d stand there and stuff myself until it was time to eat every day. I have to say they were far superior to the dining hall food.
Here in CA there seem to be zero black raspberries, though! So sad. Maybe I will buy actual plants and let them take over a corner of our backyard.
Hi! I found your blog several months ago and love reading about your new recipes and canning adventures! (I have been canning for 3 or 4 years now.) I live in Lanc Co and grew up picking strawberries at Shenk’s Berry Farm. 🙂 I am planning to go there tomorrow to pick blueberries and red raspberries.
I now live a few minutes away from Good’s Store and always get my canning jars and lids there, it’s the most reasonable place to purchase them, and very convenient for me. Thanks for sharing your trip to Lancaster!
I noticed in a previous post the many methods that you have used to make jam. One method you did not list was using the oven. I have had very good success with this method. And it is much less labor intensive than watching the boiling pot on the stove. It uses no additional pectin and can be used for many different fruits. For example:
8 C smashed strawberries
4 C sugar
1/4 C lemon juice
Put strawberries in sugar in non-reactive pot and let sit at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Bring to a full rolling boil on the stovetop. Reduce heat and Boil 10 minutes over medium heat. Preheat oven to 175F. Transfer berries to 2 9×13 glass pans. Place in center of oven. “Bake” up to 8 hours stirring every 2 hours. Check after 6 hours every 30 minutes to see if it reached gel state (mine was done at about 7 hours). Place in sterilized jars and process as usual.
I hope you give it a try.
PS – if you do stove top jam and it doesn’t set properly. You can put use the same method to fix it! Just bring up to 8 Cups to a boil, boil for 1 minute, transfer to 9×13 pans and bake. It takes just a few hours to fix the runny jam.
Yikes ! Having the oven on for up to eight hours in the middle of the summer?
Using a pint sized hot water bath I can go from fresh fruit to a batch of half-pints in about an hour. Bob K.
I was just walking along an abandoned road behind my sisters house yesterday and we were noticing the that wild black raspberries there are nearly ripe. We both commeneted about the delicious homemade jam that we would soon be enjoying from them.
We all have a story, don’t we, of sneaking raspberries over the summer? Here’s mine: My neighbors when I was growing up, about 6 or 7, had a small farm, probably just 1/4 acre, but it seemed big to me. They grew raspberries along one side of their house, and I would always sneak down with their daughter (seemed funny to me that the girl who lived there had to sneak there, lol!) and sit and eat raspberries until we couldn’t eat anymore. What I wouldn’t give to have a little piece of land like theirs, but at least I have the memory of it, and my local farmer’s market!!
I have been picking black raspberries this week. I have at least six cups already and will get more tomorrow night. My mother in laws back yard is loaded with black raspberries and wild red raspberries. The red aren’t ready yet…..Hoping to make jam this weekend!
Having grown up in York county (and now live just north in Cumberland County), I’ve been living with black raspberry jam every year since I was a kid. I had no idea there were people out there who didn’t know it even existed! We currently have a single black raspberry bush at our house (planted on purpose), and next year, we hope to expand it to three.
If you have any raspberries left, I highly recommend trying black raspberry pie. My mom just made some yesterday and it was yum-mazing!
It is a pretty, winey color, too! My parents have red raspberries growing, and I may do some up for my Mom this year. It’s still up in the air as to if I am actually allergic to them or not… but they are a gorgeous flavor that I’m sure I can give away if I can enjoy myself.
One of our favorite things is to “sacrafice” a pint of raspberries for snacking on the way home. And I saw the Ball flex pectin in the store and was wondering what you thought of it (clearly you are using it).
Hi! Thanks for all the great tips 🙂
I’m a “beginner” canner… Do you think I could use xanthum gum, rather than pectin?
Nope, xantham gum is very different from pectin. I wouldn’t recommend it. It would be better to skip the pectin altogether and just cook the raspberry jam until it thickens.
I just wanted to thank you for this recipie. I tried it today and was so nervous as this was the first time I had ever canned so was convinced I’d mess it up. It worked like a charm and is delicous! Can’t wait for more of the berries in my yard to ripen so I can try it again. Thanks!
Does any have a good recipe for jam without sugar
I’d like to make black raspberry jelly (no seeds!) with the black raspberries on our property. Using your recipe as a base how much black raspberry juice would I need to use? I’ve made black raspberry jelly using a pectin that required tons of sugar but I’d like to use a low sugar pectin.
Have you tried Weaver’s Store in Terre Hill? They are way cheaper than Good’s, since it’s on 23, in my experience.
I haven’t! But we’ll be out in Lancaster for vacation in August and I’ll make a point of heading out there. Thanks for the recommendation!
I recently found a patch of black raspberries set a bit back in the woods. I had thought they were small blackberries. Then I picked them and was surprised to find that they were not blackberries. Today I picked about a pound and a half and tried the jam. It was seems to be wonderful (its not cool yet). This was my first of many canning attempts, but I have one CAUTIONARY note. Do NOT squeeze the lemon by hand after picking these berries. It hurts…a lot. lol
Oof. That does sound painful!
I am just going to try your recipe this morning. My berries are coming on strong this week, and I’ve been freezing them on a cookie sheet, then putting into zip bags. Will try your recipe as it calls for quite a lot less sugar than some recipes. Thanks for all the pictures, my berries look exactly like them. Had often wondered if they were black raspberries or blackberries. Now I know for sure.
Made my first batch last night, went without a hitch. I followed the directions on the pectin box…way too much sugar! But I was worried about cutting back and having too low a yield.
I cant help but think of this though: I also brew beer at home. I generally use corn sugar as opposed to cane sugar as corn sugar tends to not have that metallic taste when cooked. I can definitely taste that “harsh” sugar taste in the jam. Its not objectionable, just a very sharp taste. Has anyone ever tried this recipe, or any jam recipe, using corn sugar?
Wild Black Raspberries are in full swing right now in my area(Southern Ontario). Don’t hit your farmers market, go hit the woods. They are very easy to identify, as they grow on a tall spikey pale cane. If you find one, unless it’s a new patch you will likely find dozens if not more. In a recent hike, I found 35 or so small patches made up of 20-30 canes a pop in a 10 minutes span.
Interesting side note, the wine like taste comment? I often find wild grape vines growing near these bushes as well. Hill sides seem to be favorite.
Great Recipe, about to use it for the first time with the fruits of my forage.
Would it be safe to halve this recipe?
Yep, you can safely halve it.
Hi from Illinois! Thanks for the recipe! My original 2 black raspberry plants from 4 yrs ago have turned themselves into a patch, and I used 3 lbs to make my first batch of jam ever with your recipe. I skipped the pectin and just boiled for an extra 5 minutes and it’s great!
My girls and I just made our very first ever batch of jam using the black raspberries that grow wild on our property. Your recipe seemed so easy and delicious so we gave it a try….and the results were WONDERFUL! Thank you so much. We can barely stop eating it 😀
i used this recipe to make my very first batch of jam ever yesterday. it was really easy and the jam tastes amazing! i used red raspberries, but will keep my eyes open for the black ones…
My backyard is full of black raspberries. In the past hated them because they are so invasive, but now welcome them. Is the freezer or canned route more delicious?
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen black raspberries sold commercially; I’ve only picked them in the wild. My community garden grows a stand for anyone who likes to pick from, and I cherish it.
To me these look like blackberries. I realize blackberries and a type of rasberry but are “black rasberries” different than “blackberries”. They do look smaller than our wild ones…
Wondering if it’s just a US name vs. Canadian?
Black raspberries are most decidedly different from blackberries. They are much smaller and seedier and a very different flavor. They are also known as blackcaps, if that helps. They’re also not available everywhere, so that might be why you’re unfamiliar with them.
I’ve been making a black raspberry jam for several years that consistently gets rave reviews – I add a couple of tablespoons of creme de cacao liquer during the cooking stage and another spoonful after I take it off the stove. Black raspberries and chocolate are an amazing combination! More dessert-like than regular jam, great on ice cream, greek yogurt or used as a filling in layer cakes or jam squares.
I’ve just bought a house with *loads* of black raspberries and was hoping to try making jam. I like that your recipe uses less sugar, but you say you’re using Ball Flex Pectin – is that the original or the low-sugar stuff?
The original kind. It’s enough sugar to get a set out of the fruit and pectin.
20 years ago give or take I found one black raspberry bush across the street. I transplanted it into my back yard, since then it has spread over the entire neighborhood, We now have them growing up and down the alley. I put one in my parents garden across the alley from me and in 5 years it took over half their garden. We must have ideal conditions for them here. I have 10 pounds in my fridge right now I pretty much make Jam with them when one batch runs out, but I do mix them with 1/2 strawberries and some splenda to make a divine Berry Short cake that even my raspberry hating sister likes.
I made this jam for the first time, I did use eight cups of berries and increased the other ingredients! I turned out great, I have been blessed to have picked 29 quarts this year, can if make this jam with frozen berries? I have bags in the freezer which I froze on trays
I would like to make black raspberry jam without seeds, could I use this recipe and just put the berries through a mill? Or would I need to adjust the recipe in some way?
I’ve never seen Black Caps (is what we call them) sold anywhere..they grow all over here in my area so we just find a patch and pick as many as we want..I started making jam last year and its the best in my opinion!
I add orange zest and its juice. Splenda is also used. I have people asking for more ll the time. Great xmas gifts.
Hello! I came across your recipe and see that the comments are older. Have you made any tweaks over the years, or is this still your go-to/as is? I, too have berry picking memories, but they were blackberries. Two years ago, we finally found our forever country home, and the black raspberries are more than abundant! So exciting, and year 2 has brought even more since TLC. So last year was my first year of canning them, and I used the Ball recipe, which made them way, way to sweet (that was a soul crusher). But your recipe sounds lovely, a nice balance where the berry flavor will still be front and center. I have them all prepped and ready to go; however wanted to check with you first to make sure the recipe is still good to go. Thanks so much!
This is still my go-to recipe for black raspberries.
great! I added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt before pectin. Used 1 packet of liquid pectin. Thank you (saucer test?)