Sunday, August 7, 2011

Canning: Seedless Marionberry Jam

I went to a u-pick berry farm this weekend (see separate post) and picked 6.3 pounds of Marionberries (a type of Oregon blackberry). After I de-seeded my berries, I ended up with 9 cups of seedless puree. I used 6 cups for a batch of Marionberry Jam and froze the other 3 cups to make a mixed berry jam later.

Of course I couldn't wait to taste the jam. The recipe made 7 half-pints and an extra 3/4 jar of jam (which I conducted my taste test on). I'm happy to report that this is one very tasty jam! I used no sugar or low sugar pectin and added enough sugar to make a low sugar jam. However, I thought this recipe was plenty sweet. I can't imagine using the 7 cups of sugar for a "regular" jam.

Marionberry Jam
Adapted from
Makes: 7-8 half pints

6 cups mashed berries (I like mine seedless so that's about 8 cups raw berries)
1 box pectin plus a little extra (you'll need more if your jam is runny) or 3 Tbsp plus about 1/2 Tbsp. extra (if using the bulk powder) **Note: use no sugar or low sugar formula pectin**
4 and 1/2 cups sugar
8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

Other canning supplies:
1 large pot (for cooking jam)
1 large canning pot (for processing your jars)
large mixing bowls
large spoons and ladles
jar funnel
jar grabber/tongs
magnetic lid lifter
Foley food mill (optional)
metal sieve (optional)

1) Place your clean half pint glass jars in the dishwasher. If you have a "sanitize" cycle, use this. If not, just run the washer and clean your jars again. Keep them in the dishwasher until you are ready to use them (it's best to keep them hot until you're just ready to fill them). If you don't have a dishwasher, you can always wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse and sanitize them by boiling them in a pot of water over the stove for 10 minutes (same rules apply, keep them in hot water until just before you're ready to use them).
**I like to use the dishwasher just so that I don't have to use an extra burner on the stove. You'll need at least 3 burners (4 if you boil your jars on the stove).**

At this point, fill your large canning pot with water and place it on the stove. Heat the water on high until it is boiling (this will take a while).

2) Rinse your berries and drain in a colander. Pick over the berries and remove any stems or leaves.

3) Deseed your berries with either a Food mill (such as Villaware or Roma Mill manual or motorized) or a Foley Food Mill (manual hand crank). I used a Foley manual hand crank mill over a large bowl. Just drop 2 cups of berries in the food mill at a time. Turn the crank about 3 times to the right to strain the berries, then turn the left once to clean the screen. The berries will be pushed through the screen and collect in the bowl. Repeat the process until your berries are relatively mushed.

I double processed my berries to get the most of it. After processing the berries, in the Foley Food Mill, I scooped out the spent berry seeds into a metal sieve over a bowl. I allowed them to sit for a while then pressed the mushed berry seeds around to strain out more pulp and juice. Continue until the mixture is relatively dry.
You may have to rinse your Foley food mill and metal sieve frequently to prevent clogging. Discard the seeds. Proceed in this double straining process until you process all your berries.

This process is time consuming but I like my jam seedless. If you don't mind the seeds, just mash you berries with a potato masher until it is well mushed. You'll need a total of 6 cups of mashed berry pulp/juice for the recipe. Place your 6 cups of mashed berry pulp into a large pot over the stove (but don't turn on the stove yet).

4) Measure out your 4 and 1/2 cups of sugar and place it in a large bowl. It will make for quicker jam making if you have it pre-measured.

5) Measure out your pectin powder into a small bowl. I had a jar of bulk pectin so I used 3 Tbsp. (the equivalent of 1 box) plus about an extra 1/2 Tbsp. of the pectin. Add about 1/4 c. of sugar (from your pre-measured sugar) to the pectin and stir. Reserve the remaining sugar for later.
**Mixing the dry pectin with sugar will prevent the pectin from clumping and will allow it to mix into the berries better.**

6) Stir your pectin/sugar mixture into your berries (that have been sitting on the stove in a large pot). Heat the pot over medium to high heat to a full boil. Stir often to prevent burning. It will take about 5-10 minutes to get your jam to a full boil.

7) Put the jar lids into a small pan of water on the stove (use a small back burner). Heat the water on medium heat until it is hot but not boiling. Process them for at least 5 minutes. When ready to use, use the magnetic lid lifter to lift them out of the hot water.

8) Once the berry-pectin mixture has reached a full boil, add the rest of the pre-measured sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the jam back to a boil slowly. Stir frequently. Once it is back to a full boil, boil hard for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
**Bringing the jam back to a full boil slowly will help reduce foaming.**

9) Skim any excessive foam from the top of the jam. The foam is just excess air from boiling.

10) Use a metal spoon and scoop about 1/2 a spoonful of jam from the pot and allow it to cool to room temperature. This will test the "jell" or thickness of your jam. If it thickens up to the desired consistency, then your jam is ready. If it is too runny, mix in more pectin and bring it back to a boil for another 1 minute.

11) Let your pot of jam stand for 5 minutes and then stir well. This will redistribute the fruit (as it will often float to the top).

12) Remove your glass jars from the dishwasher. Place the jar funnel in the jar and ladle the hot jam into the hot jars. Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top (this is called leaving a 1/4 inch "headspace"). Using a clean and damp cloth, wipe any spilled jam of the top and sides of the rim. Using the magnetic lid lifter, lift your lids out of the hot water and place them on the top of the jars and twist the ring closed. Be careful not to over tighten the rings.

13) Once all your jars are sealed, use your jar tongs to place your finished jam into the large canning pot. Be sure the water covers your jars by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a rolling boil and process them for 10 minutes (at a rolling boil).
**If you live at an elevation higher than 6,000 feet, you will need to process your jars for a longer period of time.**

Any jars that aren't full with jam can be left to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes. After that, place them in the refrigerator for immediate use.

14) Once the processing time is done, carefully lift the jars out of the water with your jar tongs. Let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free spot overnight. Once the jars are cool, check that they have sealed properly by pressing down on the lids. They should have vacuumed sealed down. If you press the center of the lid and it pops up and down, it is not sealed. These will need to be refrigerated and used right away. You can remove the rings from the properly sealed jars and store them in the pantry for up to 1 year.


Robin said...

Blackberry jam is just wonderful! This is the first year that I have made it and it is heavenly!!

the red headed traveler said...

I love the vividness of the color in the picture of the jam when still in the pot.

Wes, Dawn, Kaytin and Caleb said...

sounds & looks YUMMY! wish there were more opportunities for fresh berries here! :/

~Holly~ said...

robin: This is my first time making blackberry jam too. I usually do the freezer jams but I thought I'd can them to save space in the freezer.

the red headed traveler: I know it's so pretty huh? Too bad my wooden spoon will be this color permanently. Hahaha

Dawners: Maybe you should grow your own blackberry patch in Kalaheo. Or you can always come visit!! =0P