While wild blackberry season might not last long, this easy blackberry preserve recipe will let you enjoy it year-round
Summer in many parts of the country means three things: hot weather, bugs, and blackberries. Of the three, I enjoy the last one the most and endure the first two to get it.
While blackberry season doesn't last long, this easy, old-fashioned blackberry preserve recipe allows you to enjoy the flavor of fresh blackberries year-round. While blackberries are naturally high in pectin, the extra added pectin in the ingredient list helps to make sure your preserves set up with a nice, thick consistency. I like to strain half of my berry pulp to remove some of the seeds. I've found the smoother texture of fewer seeds to be more pleasing on a breakfast biscuit or slice of toast.
The high acidity of the jam means that it is safe to can with a water bath, making it shelf stable at room temperatures.
Wash your berries. Unlike cultivated fruits, wild stock doesn't get sprayed with insecticides. To remove unwanted critters, cover the fruit in cool water and add 1 cup of lemon juice. Swirl the fruit gently with your hand and let it soak for 15 minutes. Any critters in or on the berries should release and float to the surface. Drain the water and rinse the fruit a second time before spreading it in a single layer on a paper-towel-lined sheet pan and patting it dry.
Prep your ingredients before starting. Measure out fruit mixture, sugar, and lemon juice in separate containers before starting to cook the preserves. Once the fruit and pectin start to boil, there isn't a lot of downtime for measurements.
Follow the fruit-to-sugar ratio listed. Not following the ratio can result in preserves that don't set up. If you use another brand of pectin besides Sure Jell, follow the fruit-to-sugar ratio listed on the instructions.
Always make sure to clean and sterilize your jars and lids before filling them, and always use new lids when canning.
Work warm to warm on jars. Never put hot preserves in a cold jar, and don't add cold jars to hot water. Doing so can cause thermal shock and break the glass. I like to sterilize jars by placing them in a pot of cool water. Then I gently heat to a boil. Fill the sterilized and dried jars with hot preserves while the jars are still warm to the touch from the sterilization process. Likewise, add the warm jars to warm water for the water bath sealing process and gently bring the water to a boil.
Make sure the jar rims are clean and dry before adding the lids. Always wipe the jar rims after filling to make sure an errant drop of preserves doesn't prevent the lid from making a good seal.