"Quickberry! Quackberry! Pick me a blackberry!"
Can you name that book? It's Jamberry, by Bruce Degen. I only read it hundreds of times when my boys were small. It sure came back to me yesterday when I saw the rows and rows of loaded blackberry canes stretched out in front of me, loaded with plump ripe berries.
Twelve pounds I picked. One dozen pounds of shiny purple berries. And I had a hard time stopping at that! On my way back to my car I kept seeing berries I had missed, berries that I just couldn't leave on the canes. But I did. Just so there would be some left for you. So you could make this.
I picked my berries with the idea of making jam with no added pectin, but when I got home with my gorgeous haul, I read that slightly under-ripe berries were the ones I needed. Not enough pectin in the fully ripe ones. (I guess I should have researched a little bit before hand, but that would have been too logical.)
Looking further, I found a lovely recipe that uses fully ripe berries but adds a little bit of tart apple to supply enough natural pectin. It set perfectly! Not only scrumptious for your morning toast or scones, it would also be a lovely filling for your favorite layer cake or thumbprint cookie.
Seedless Blackberry Jam (no added pectin) printable recipe here
Recipe from Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty, and found on astray recipes
yield: about 6 half pint jars
6 cups ripe blackberries, washed
2 1/2 cup tart apples, coarsely chopped- include skins and cores (I used small "not quite ripe" apples from our tree) The pectin is found mainly in the skin and the core of the apples.
1 cup water
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I doubled this)
5 cups sugar (approximately)
- Prepare jars and lids (per manufacturer's instructions) for canning- 6 half pints
- Put half of the blackberries in a large pot and crush with a potato masher. Add the rest of the berries and crush. Add apple pieces and water to the crushed berries.
- Cook mixture over medium heat until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking. You may add another 1/2 cup of water if the mixture gets too thick.
- Once fruit is very soft, run through a food mill or press through a fine sieve, using a large spoon or spatula. Discard the skins and seeds that are left.
- Rinse out your pot. Measure the fruit pulp and put it back into the pot. You should have about 5 cups.
- Add enough lemon juice to make the mixture pleasantly tart. Heat over medium high heat, dissolving sugar.
- Increase heat and cook rapidly, stirring often. Cook until mixture reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the mixture falls in a sheet off of your spoon. You can also try putting some of the mixture onto a cold dish to see if it is jelling.
- Once mixture is ready, remove from heat and ladle into hot prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headroom at the top of each jar. Position lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water bath and set aside to cool and seal.