As a kid, we had every sort of berry bush but my favorite were black raspberries. You can’t buy them in the store and most are in the wild. I planted a black raspberry bush in my yard this year and had all of 2 berries from it. My sister Jill’s sister-in-law Sherry has about a zillion berries and she risked thorns and an equal number of mosquito bites to pick some and she was willing to share with me.
I researched lots of jam recipes and found it would be best to remove the seeds. I have an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer that is called a colander and sieve and effortlessly it mashes the pulp out and collects the seeds. Very simple. I am a hard core canner and felt it was best to sterilize the jars and lids and to process the jam in in a water bath to seal the jars for shelf storage up to a year as opposed to making freezer or refrigerator jam.
I started with about 2 ½ quarts of black raspberries which is equal to about 9-10 cups. They were freshly picked and immediately frozen.
I let them thaw and then removed the seeds from all but one cup of the berries. In the end I had 5 cups of pulp and I added 1 cup of mashed berries for a total of 6 cups. Pulp to pectin ratio is important. In all my reading, it seems that the best pectin is the low/no sugar variety. I was actually able to use about half the sugar thanks to this type of pectin. Some recipes call for a box of pectin and a box is equal to 3 Tablespoons.
5 cups of black raspberry pulp
1 cup of smashed whole black raspberries (with seeds)
3 T. low sugar/no sugar pectin
1/6th of a lemon squeezed for juice
4 cups of sugar (mix a half cup of these 4 cups with the pectin for ease of dissolving.)
Sterilize the jars and lids by boiling for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot.
Put the pulp in a large pot and heat on medium heat until it boils. Add a half cup of sugar to the pectin and add it to the pulp. Stir and heat back to a boil keeping the pot on medium heat. Then add the rest of the sugar all at once and stir until there is a rolling boil. Keep boiling for 1-5 minutes. There are a number of videos that show how to tell when the jam has achieved the right jelled consistency. It drips off the spoon in two separate drips. I probably heated it the final time for 3 minutes.
Take the pulp off the heat. Remove the jars from the boiling water. Fill the jars to within ¼ – ½ inch of the top. Make sure the jars are warm when you fill them with the hot pulp mixture. Use a wet paper towel to wipe off the top of the jar so that the lids will make a tight seal. Attache the lids and lid rings and hand tighten to just snug, not tight. Be sure to use a new lid each time you can. They are made for one time use in the sealing operation.
Bring the canner back to a boil and place the jam jars in the canner with an inch between jars. Make sure there is about 2-3 inches of water covering the jars. Let this boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and you will start to hear the lids pop. This is the vacuum pulling the lids closed. If after 24 hours, a lid does not pop and pull down to make a firm seal, no worries, just put this jar in the refrigerator and eat it first!
I made 6 jars that were 8 oz size and 3 jars that were 4 oz size. Plus there was enough I could scrape from the bowl and utensils to make a nice serving to take to work and spread on biscuits. Beyond delicious.
If you want to view a pretty good video of all the canning steps, take a look at The Sicilian Prince on YouTube and search for Organic Black Raspberry Jam.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan connecting people and the stories they tell.
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