Blackberry Jam

August 27, 2009(updated on August 30, 2021)

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.

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Seedless Blackberry Jam

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

  • Prepare your jars, start your lids to simmering and bring your canning pot to a boil.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fill your jars with the hot jam, wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes.
  • Remove from canner and allow the jars to completely cool on a dishtowel-lined counter top.
  • Once the jars are cool, check the seals, label them and eat jam on toast in January.

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190 responses to “Blackberry Jam”

  1. 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…..

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

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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!

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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..)

    • 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.

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    • 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…

  8. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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.

    • 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

    • Oh my goodness! I cracked open a jar last night to mix in with some cottage cheese. What a beautiful jam! Tastes of fruit not sugar! A loose set — but far from runny. I’m so happy I documented it here — I couldn’t remember what spices I used. Thanks again for the inspirations!!

  24. Why can’t you make Jam out of Splenda. I am a diabetic and can’t have all that sugar. I was watching you make Blackberry Jam but you used 1 lb of sugar.

    • You can’t make jam in the traditional way with Splenda, because it doesn’t have the same ability to change physical consistency in the say way that sugar does. If you want to make a Splenda sweetened jam, you will need to use a low or no sugar pectin. Either Pomona’s Pectin or Ball’s no sugar pectin.

  25. I made a double batch yesterday and woke up this morning to find that it did not set. I have a dozen jars of syrup. Could cry, honestly. Is there a way I can save it? Re-cook it? Is there a tutorial or advice on how to get a firm jam? I would love some advice….

  26. I made this recipe last night and it turned out perfect!! I love the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg (I’ve made your blueberry butter many times for the same reason!). Marisa, I’ve been following your blog since 2012 and I honestly don’t use any canning recipes other than yours 🙂 Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes and culinary inspiration!

  27. i’ve tried this recipe twice. Both times it turned out runny. Tastes great on ice cream or pancakes. Looking at the liquid pectin directions I should have used 2 packets. I used the recipe on the liquid pectin box and it worked great. Guess I’ll give it a try again using either dry pectin or more liquid. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  28. Marissa, I have blackberries coming in like crazy and only dry pectin. What would the conversion be?

  29. I just finished making three batches of this delicious blackberry jam. It turned out perfect. So yummy with the added lemon juice and zest. Perfect. My husband and I had to immediately have a piece of toast and jam. Thanks for this excellent recipe.

  30. Is the lemon for flavor or for acidity. Because if it’s for acidity, I thought bottled juice is required because you can’t standardize the acidity. Lemons are all different sizes.

    • The lemon is for flavor. Any time you see a recipe call for fresh lemon juice, it is for flavor rather than safety. Just use an average size lemon.

  31. Do wild blackberries set better than tame blackberries? My husband planted blackberries a couple of years ago so we wouldn’t have to go through so many thorns. I canned jelly last year and the blackberry was really thin. I want to try the preserves this year but someone told me I may do better with wild berries. Is this true?

    • I’ve not had the experience of wild berries setting up better than cultivated berries. It could be that cultivated berries are watered more often and so contain more water and so need more time to cook down.

  32. Oh how I miss picking wild blackberries in Washington! I’m going on a fruit buying road trip this weekend for berries and peaches. I would love to taste your jam with the added spices!

  33. Is there a way to make this without added white sugar? Would I be able to use honey instead? Thank you!!

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