Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blackberry Jam - vegan, gluten free & free of just about everything else

Blackberry Jam - vegan, gluten free & free of just about everything else

I'd been putting off going to the farmers' market (strange, I know) because I was afraid of going to early, getting seduced by gorgeous peaches, and then having my heart broken by those same peaches because it was too early. I am so glad I waited, because the stand where I get my peaches had about ten varieties of peaches and nectarines, with samples of all of them, and I swooned. Hard.

Oh, there were other things there, too, though, sadly, no apricots (major bummer. I had plans) Fresh peas, basil, tomatoes, and blackberries. Guys, it's summer.

Blackberry Jam, up close & personal

oh, I could go into raptures about each and every one of these purchases, but today I'll focus (or try at least. see above) on the beautiful, luscious, and juicy blackberries. They were bursting with goodness, and it was very difficult to save them for a few days until I had a chance to make jam. I actually hid them in the fridge so we wouldn't snack on them. I'm glad I did, because the jam is worth it.

Blackberry Jam etc

If you're new to canning, jam is a great place to start. It's relatively quick, it's easy, and it's hard to mess up. The stuff I made last year was very well-received last Christmas, so I'm eyeing Summer's bounty with that in mind. This jam? Definitely a winner.

Also, Happy Birthday, Mom!

Blackberry Jam - vegan, gluten free & free of just about everything else
adapted from moi

This recipe yields 6-7 half-pint (8oz) jars. You could definitely halve this recipe, but you shouldn't double itHere is a great article specifically about jam setting. Besides putting it on toast, jam makes a great cake filling.

9 C blackberries (I used a 1/2 flat from the farmers' market, which is probably 6ish of the 6-oz clamshells from the grocery store)
6 C sugar
4 Tbsp (1/4 C) lemon juice

In a large pot, gently mash blackberries and sugar together. Let stand for 1 hour or so; I like to use this time to prepare my jars, lids & tools, get my giant pot of water heating up, clean up and clear off my (very limited) counter space, etc.

Bring the blackberries+sugar to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in lemon juice. You have a choice here; you can either skim off the foam while the jam is boiling or you can wait until it's ready, remove it from the heat, and skim then. I like doing it towards the end because it seems as though there is less, but I don't know that one way is better than the other.

Boil rapidly, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. You can test for set if you'd like, or aim for a temperature of 220F.

Once foam is removed, pour jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4-inch (6mm) head space. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to manufacturer's directions. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove lid from canner and process another 5 minutes. Remove jars, and allow to cool. Listen for the "ping!" of success.


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  2. Don't know if I did something wrong, but mine never set. It is delicious, but runny. shouldn't it have pectin in it?

    1. Hi there. So I probably should have talked about it more in the post, but I've actually never canned *with* pectin. The recipes I started learning with didn't use it, so I didn't pick up the habit. The good thing is a) I never run out of it and then have to dash to the store and b) I can play around with the sugar levels more since they are not dictated by the pectin.

      But I digress. Yes, you can definitely make jam without pectin. Without it, you're relying on the sugar and on the evaporation to get a good, jammy consistency. Depending on fruit amount and juiciness, how hard of a boil you've got going on, and probably the weather, cooking fruit down to a good consistency can take anywhere from 20 - 60 minutes. My preferred method of testing for set is with a thermometer, and the temperature goal is 220 degrees F.

      Here is an excellent read about testing for set:


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