Wild Blackberry Jam made the old-fashioned way without pectin, a delicious homemade jam made with freshly-picked wild blackberries, sugar and lemon juice. And nothing else! The jam is cooked slowly on a low heat until it's got the perfect consistency. It might not be quick, but it surely is simple!
I can't believe I had never been blackberry picking before this summer (or end of summer more like it). It's so much fun, apart from getting stung by nettles and dealing with thorns. But even so, it's well worth it!
Blackberries are pretty expensive, and to buy enough for a few jars of jam, you would end up wasting a little fortune. In which case, you might as well buy ready-made blackberry jam.
But, if you get these yummy wild blackberries, all you need to spend money on is sugar and lemons. It was the first time I made jam myself, unlike mum, who makes all sorts of jams and preserves, and all of them are failproof.
I don't really eat that much jam, apart from the occasionally toast with butter and jam, most of it ends up in desserts. And the homemade jam really tastes amazing, well worth the time spent on making it! If you like foraging, my damson jam is another great homemade recipe worth making.
Wild blackberries are a lot smaller than the ones grown commercially and sold in shops, but are sweet and juicy if they are proper ripe. You will know they are ready if it's easy to pick them up, and are slightly softer to touch.
How to make blackberry jam without pectin
Most shops sell jam sugar which has added pectin to help the gelling process. The jam sets quicker and you get a thicker consistency. The cooking time is also reduced, as the temperature is set on high.
But, if you'd rather make the jam the old-fashioned way, with regular granulated sugar, then the jam is best to be cooked slowly on a low heat. That helps the jam reach the desired consistency.
- rinse the blackberries, add them to a large bowl and add the sugar and lemon juice
NOTE! Most recipes call for a 1:1 fruit to sugar ration. I find that way too sweet, so I reduced the amount of sugar used to about ⅔ of the amount of fruit. In this way, the jam has more of a fruity flavour, than sugary.
- add everything to a pan set on a low to medium heat
- stir and leave to simmer until the liquid released is reduced, that would take up to 2 hours, depending on the blackberries and heat
Jam too thick?
The jam should not be too thick, it will thicker further when it cools down (see picture 8). If the jam has been cooked for too long and it's too thick when it cools down, you can add it to a pan together with 1 cups of boiling water, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
How to preserve the jam for longer
If you are planning to use the jam pretty quickly, you can transfer the jam to jars and refrigerate them. They jam should last well for a few weeks.
But, if you make lots of jars and would like to preserve them for long, follow a few simple steps - well preserved jams made by mum are still perfectly delicious 1 year later. The only reason they don't last longer is because they get used up.
First, make sure you sterilise the jars - wash them, then place the jars in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes.
When the jam is ready, transfer it hot to the hot jars, and make sure they are not full to the brim, best to leave about ¼ headspace. Make sure the lids are really tight.
Place the jars upside down and leave to cool down completely before storing them. Alternatively, you can place the jam jars into a pot filled with hot water, and boil for 10 minutes, that will ensure the jam stays in perfect condition for a long time.
And that's our yummy wild blackberry jam, amazing on toast, in desserts, or just on its own. If you have more blackberries around, why not make Apple and Blackberry Crumble Bars?
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Old-Fashioned Wild Blackberry Jam
- 1.2 kg wild blackberries
- 800 g granulated sugar
- juice from ½ lemon
- Rinse the blackberries, then add them to a large pan together with the sugar and the lemon juice.
- Leave to simmer on a low to medium heat until the liquid released is nearly absorbed, and the jam is thick enough to be poured into jars, depending on the heat that could take up to 2 hours.
- The jam will thicken further when it cools down.
- Rinse the jars, and place them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes to sterilise.
- Pour the hot jam into the hot jars, making sure you do not fill the jars to the brim, but there is about half an inch of headspace.
- Tighten the lids well, then place the jars upside down and leave to cool completely.
- If the fourth jar is not quite full, it can be stored in the fridge and consumed within 3-4 weeks.
- Otherwise, the jars can be stored in a cool place, and the jam should last for 1-2 years.