Until recently, my knowledge of canning and preserving food was limited to the necessity of a big pot, cooking jars, and a lot of work. So I never really gave it much thought beyond "damn, I'd like to make that".
However, that hasn't stopped me from purchasing canning jars whenever I see them cheap or in unique shapes. So now I have a nice collection of big and small, regular and wide mouth, canning jars.
Anyhoo, recently I came across an article about fruits that have their own natural pectin (an ingredient that is added to canned jams to gel) and so the powdered pectin and the jar cooking isn't needed. With a little more research I've found that all you really need is naturally pectin-loaded fruits, such as berries, apples, plums, cherries, citrus, apricots, and peaches and a refrigerator. Now, some of the sources I've read differ on which fruits are need or don't need powered pectin added so I guess it's just trial and error. Quick jams, because they don't call for added pectin, are generally a little more liquidy so if you don't like that, then you should probably add a little pectin.
This recipe is for a small batch of blackberry jam. 3 pints of blackberries makes about 14oz of jam.
Not only is this recipe easy, but it's fun. Jam makes an excellent gift, tastes great added to breakfast bread, or as a drizzle on cheese and crackers at a party.
Step 1: Ingredients
-3 pints of blackberries
-1/2 to 1 tbs lemon juice
-1/3 cup sugar (add more to taste)
Step 2: Prep
Wash the berries and then mash up, I used a potato masher, but a food processor will also work (I just didn't want to clean it). I mashed the berries in the pot I planned to cook them in, adding the lemon juice and sugar before turning the heat to medium-high.
Step 3: Cook
Bring the berries to a boil, stirring every few minutes and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and allow berries to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir often and taste test to decide if you need more sugar.
Step 4: "Can"
Remove the berries from heat and immediately pour into canning jars. It makes cleaning easier later as the jam starts to gel up as it cools.
Let the jars cool on the counter before putting in the fridge. The jam should keep for 2-3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.