Ladies & gents, making jam is much easier than it appears. And lets be honest, those store-bough jars can’t hold a candle to pure, fresh, and designer jams you make yourself. This is one of my first attempts, and it was a raging success!
Fragrant, tangy, and with just enough sweetness, this jam recipe can’t be beat. Since we picked them wild near our place in the bay area, we didn’t need to add as much sugar as they were pretty sweet enough!
The addition of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur brings out the natural floral quality of this jam, and the lemon zest balances out the sweetness by kicking up the tangy notes leaving a bright and fragrant mixture. You can find St. Germaine at most grocery/beverage stores. (It’s a very pretty bottle, too! hehe)
Onto the recipe. ^_^
Recipe 57: Wild Blackberry & St. Germaine Jam
Total time: 1-2 hrs
Serves: 11, 8-oz jam jars
- 4 lbs Blackberries, cleaned, picked over, and mashed (about 8 cups mash)
- 4 cups Pure Cane Sugar
- zest and juice from 1 small Lemon
- 8 tbsp St. Germaine elderflower liqueur
- 6 tbsp Ball Classic Pectin
- 11-12 8-oz jam jars with lids and rings (I found mine at Smart & Final)
- 1 clean tea towel
- 1-2 large cooking pots
- Jar tongs (a standard jam-making item…Target/WalMart etc has ’em.)
You’re going to need either 2 large pots (think large soup kettle) or an extra set of hands to help wash the pot between cooking the jam and canning it.
Right off the bat, add your blackberry mash to a large pot on medium heat. Stir in your lemon zest, juice (try to avoid lemon seeds getting into the pot), and sugar. Stir until the sugar is properly dissolved (about 3-4 minutes), and bring to a vigorous boil. I snap a candy thermometer on the pot at this point. You want it to hover between 200F and 220F. In the mean time, get another pot and fill it with water. You’ll be sterilizing your jars, lids, and rings. Set a clean towel on the counter, and sterilize your jars by placing them in a boiling water bath for a couple of minutes. This step isn’t imperative since we’ll be processing the filled jars later for 20 minutes, but it’s good to start with clean, hot jars and lids.
Place the jars upside down on your clean towel to drain and cool slightly.
In the meantime, add your pectin to the jam mixture and stir. Bring back to a boil on high until it hits 220F for at least a minute. Stir to ensure even heat distribution. Turn off the heat and move to another burner.
Using a funnel or a very steady hand, add the hot jam to each jar, leaving an inch to the top. Place lids and rings on the jars and clean your jam pot (if you don’t have another equally large pot to work with.).
Prepare a hot water bath. Normally, jamming kits come with a metal rack that fits in the bottom of a large kettle to prevent the jars from coming in contact with direct heat from sitting on the bottom of the pot. In my internet searches, I’ve seen another method that’s quite simple. Fill your pot with water, giving yourself 5-6 inches of room at the top. Then place a clean tea-towel into the bottom of the pot, folding it over once or twice. This will allow your jars to avoid direct heat and have a damper when it comes to knocking against one another during hot processing.
Now, add your jars carefully, in batches of however many will fit in a single, upright layer. Boil them under 2-3 inches of water for 20 minutes. You’ll see bubbles come out from under the lids here and there.
After the 20 minutes is up, remove your jars from the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature. You’ll hear the lids *POP!* as they cool, that’s the vacuum being formed, which means that your jam will keep well.
****Additionally: This jam makes an EXCELLENT mixer. Add a tablespoon to a glass of champagne for an amazing concoction!****