Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our Favorite Berry of Them All


 

 



(courtesy of Mannchen)
 

(courtesy of Mannchen)

 

 
This family LOVES blackberries.  Blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry yogurt, and I could go on, and on, and on.  We had blackberry picking in the top spot on our "Must Do Before We Leave" list.  We woke the kids up a little early, jumped in the van, and headed to Pungo Blueberries (they have a large blackberry patch also) the first chance we had! 
 
They were also selling cut-your-own flowers.  Hubby surprised me with a bouquet - the most beautiful sunflower and some bright zinnias.  I love fresh summer flowers.
 
 
We picked excitedly until (in the blink of an eye), we hit the wall.  It was perfect timing because we were back in the car before the heat of the day really took hold and home well before lunchtime.  Once the kids woke up we cooked up two batches of jam with our favorite berries.  I wish I had pictures to share of us working together in the kitchen, but we were so involved in what we were doing that it completely slipped my mind.  I assure you, it was a good time!
 
I decided to experiment around with my usual blackberry jam recipe and I'm so glad I did!  I wanted to use less pectin, with the hope of eventually getting to the point where I feel confident cutting it out, and I wanted to try sweetening with honey.  The results were so delicious, I had to share.
 
 
Blackberry Jam
8 cups of mashed blackberries (or 16 cups fresh berries)
1 1/2 - 2 cups raw honey
3 tbsp. low sugar pectin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Wash fresh berries and pour into a large stock pot (I prefer using my enameled cast iron pot).  Mash as desired.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly.
 
While berries are coming to a boil, combine pectin and spices. 
 
When berries are at a rolling boil, add honey and pectin/spice blend.  Return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for about five minutes.  Dip a spoon into the jam and set it aside to cool.  If it gels well after cooling slightly, jam is done cooking.  If it stays runny, cook while stirring for several more minutes and try spoon test again.
 
Once jam is done cooking, pour into clean, sterilized canning jars.  Process jars immediately by your own preferred canning methods.  Makes approximately five pint jars.
 
Enjoy on your favorite bread or mix with plain yogurt for blackberry yogurt!
 



Linking up this week with Frontier Dreams, The Magic OnionsCrafty Moms Share and Natural Suburbia.