making homemade jellies, jams, and preserves is a quick and easy way to dip your toes in the home preserving waters and have a healthier option on hand. This recipe for naturally sweetened blackberry jam only calls for 3 ingredients & includes water bath canning instructions too.
John’s grandma (GG) tells stories of canning dozens of jars of peaches, strawberries, and blackberries in a day, all from her backyard orchard and gardens.
Some day, I think to myself, some day – I will have an orchard and a berry patch too!
For now, I love taking advantage of finding berries & fruits on sale to make big batches of jam and preserves.
In this post, I’ll share my simple, 3 ingredient recipe for making naturally sweetened blackberry jam and canning it too.
But first, let’s review the difference between jelly, jam, and preserves.
- Jelly is made from fruit juice
- Jam is made from pulp or crushed/semi-crushed fruit
- Preserves contain whole/larger fruit pieces
I prefer jam & preserves, mostly!
So let’s get started with the fruit.
First, wash & rinse 16 cups of blackberries using a non-toxic produce wash. This amount will yield 3 pints or 6 half pints of jam, but can easily be halved or quartered for a smaller batch.
Next, add the blackberries to a big stock pot or dutch oven, making sure to leave a couple inches head space to allow the jam to foam up before it thickens.
Pour in 3 cups maple syrup & juice from 1 whole lemon
Use a potato masher or a pestle to crush up the berries a bit throughout the simmering process – you can’t go wrong here. The more you crush them, the more even your jam will be. The less, the more texture you’ll have. It’s just per your taste. And each batch you make may be a bit different in consistency.
Heat on medium low until you get a good foamy simmer like this, then turn down just a bit if necessary and continue to simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking consistency
After 45 minutes, or maybe longer, you’ll have a thicker consistency mixture that doesn’t run off of a spoon in drops, but sticks just a bit. The mixture will have reduced quite a bit by now
Turn the heat down to the lowest setting at this point and sterilize 3 pint jars or 6 half pints
How to sterilize jars and rings
There are two options here:
- Place jars and rings in a water bath canner and turn the heat on to bring to a boil, once boiling, set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the heat off and leave the jars in the hot water until ready to use. Leave the hot water in the canner becasue you’ll be returning the full jars to the canner to process in just a moment.
- Place jars and rings on a baking sheet and heat in the oven at 225F for 10 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave them in there until ready to use
The key to canning is to work quickly so that both the contents you’re canning and the jars are hot, this prevents glass from breaking.
So remove the hot jars from the water bath or cookie sheet with a jar lifter, and set them on a towel on the counter. Don’t set them directly on a cold counter or surface or they may shatter.
Now, you can turn the heat totally off on the jam since it’s time to transfer.
Use a ladle and funnel to quickly transfer the hot jam into the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace
Headspace is the space between the top of the contents and the top of the jar
These funnels are great and prevent me from having to clean messy jar rims before sealing. I’ll link them along with my other canning supplies at the bottom of this post after the recipe.
Once all three pints (or 6 half pints) are full, wipe the rims clean, and it’s time to seal with lids and rings
I don’t pre-heat my lids or sterilize them because I don’t want to overheat them and compromise the seal, I just wash them in hot, soapy water and dry them before use. Some people still sterilize them though, do as you please or reference a site like Ball home canning.
Center the lids on the jars and fasten the rings fingertip tight.
Remember, this whole process happens within a minute or two as you really do want to work quickly so the contents, jars, and all remain hot.
Then use a jar lifter to transfer the jars back into the hot water bath canner, making sure the water covers the jars by 1-2″.
Cover with a lid and turn the heat up to bring the jars to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, start your timer for the processing time. Which, for jam is 5 minutes.
After processing for 5 minutes,
turn the heat off and remove the lid.
Use the jar lifter to remove the jars and place them on a thick towel or drying pad. NOT directly on a cool surface or they may shatter.
Let the jars cool in place for several hours, optimally 24. Then, remove the rings to make sure the lids sealed properly. (lids should not move up and down when center is pressed) Store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 18 months.
Naturally Sweetened Blackberry Jam
- water bath canner
- Jar Lifter
- jars, lids, and rings
- 16 cups blackberries washed and rinsed
- 3 cups maple syrup
- juice from 1 whole lemon
- 6 drops lemon vitality oil optional
- Wash and rinse 16 cups of blackberries
- Add blackberries, maple syrup, and lemon juice to a large pot or dutch oven with at least a few inches headspace to allow mixture to foam during simmer
- Use a potato masher or pestle to crush the berries a bit
- Heat on medium low and bring the mixture to a simmer until you reach a foaming point
- Then, turn the heat down just a bit and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
- After 45 minutes the mixture should have reduced quite a bit and be thick enough to not drip off of a spoon in drops, but rather it should drip off in a sheet. If not, simmer a bit longer, checking every 5 minutes.
- Once the proper consistency is reached, remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add 4-6 drops of lemon vitality oil (optional). Serve, store in the fridge, or can in a water bath canner.
Water Bath Canning Instructions
- Sterilize jars using one of the two options listed in the post
- Working quickly, to ensure the jam and jars stay hot, ladle the hot jam into sterile jars using a funnel to keep the rim clean. Leave 1/4" head space
- Center clean lids on jars
- Adjust rings to fingertip tight
- Use a jar lifter to place jars in hot water bath canner, ensuring jars are covered by 1-2" of water
- Cover with a lid and turn heat on to bring to a boil
- Once the water boils, start the timer and process for 5 minutes
- After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and use a jar lifter to remove the jars from the canner
- Place the jars on a thick towel, NOT directly on a counter or cool surface, which may cause the jars to shatter
- Allow the jars to cool in place for 24 hours. Then remove the rings and test the lids for seal. The lids shouldn't flex up and down.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 18 months.
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