I have an Italian father and he is a great cook. I have learned a lot from him over the years and I love cooking with him. He is usually busy making things like marinara sauce or chicken cutlets but lately he’s been whipping up things like peach pie and blackberry jam. During a recent visit to his house to make spaghetti sauce, he asked me if I wanted to make jam. His blackberry bush had some ripe berries on it. I had never made jam so I said yes. I figured it would take a while but I wanted to learn so I decided to stick around. What I learned was, my dad's version of blackberry jam had to be the quickest and easiest jam you could ever make. It took minutes, literally. I thought I would share this with you in case you thought making jam was involved and time consuming, like I did. It doesn't have to be. Just keep in mind, this is a simple recipe. My dad is a little unconventional, he wastes no time. This recipe does not involve canning or preserving. I just wanted to show you how quickly you can make a jar of jam when you have some fruit you need to use or you want something homemade. It's fun, it's easy and it tastes good!
A small plant that my dad planted a few years ago has grown into a large bush. It yields the most wonderful tasting blackberries. They start out red and turn purple or "black" when they are ripe. If you eat them before they are ripe they taste sour. I actually like the sour ones...
We collected the ripe berries and put them in a pot. The pot we used is an old pot that was my grandma's. It was one of those "little things" that made the experience mean more.
We used a potato masher, another item from my grandma's kitchen, to break up the berries and then put them on the stove on low heat.
Once the berries were broken down we added a packet of pectin mixed with a small amount of sugar and brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Once the mixture reached a full boil we added the rest of the sugar, stirring constantly.
We brought the mixture back to a full boil until it reached the desired consistency. It only took a couple minutes.
When the jam was finished it was glossy and thick. We poured it into jars that were sterilized in the dishwasher.
As you can see we had a beautiful, thick jam in no time at all.
We were able to pick about 6 cups of ripe berries from the bush which yielded about 18 ounces of jam.
This jam was made to be enjoyed right away. It was stored in the refrigerator and will last a few weeks. Remember this was a make it quick, eat it now kind of thing. We did not seed the fruit, worry about foam or boil the jars. I will save that process for a day when I have more time and plan to get more creative with flavors. In fact I have a friend who recently made some amazing preserves out of cantaloupe and I am inspired. I love the idea of canning and having summer foods in the middle of winter but this day was all about a blackberry bush and a day with dad.
My favorite way to eat this blackberry jam is on a piece of toasted Marathon Energy Loaf from Wegman's. Simply delicious!
|Dad's Blackberry Jam||
- 6 cups of fresh picked blackberries (remove any stems or leaves)
- 1 packet of pectin(I used Sure-Jell) mixed with 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups sugar
- Crush berries to desired consistency in a medium pot and place over low to medium heat.
- While stirring constantly add the pectin mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar and bring mixture to a full boil.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of sugar and continue to stir as the mixture comes back to a full boil and then boil for about another minute.
- Remove from heat and check the thickness of the jam. If it's too thin you can add more pectin and return to a boil, otherwise let the pot sit for a couple of minutes.
- Spoon or pour jam into jars.
- Refrigerate jam and use within a few weeks, if it lasts that long!
*this jam is not preserved and needs to be refrigerated *this jam can be made with other types of fruit ~ We like strawberries, peaches and blackberries
Photos by Leslie Reese