Perfect. Easy. Blackberry jelly.
There are 3 Steps to making perfect Jelly.
- Get some Blackberries. Yea! Picking!
- Make Juice
- Make Jelly
STEP 1: Blackberries
Before we can make perfect jelly, we must get some blackberries! You can buy them. You can put in blackberry “canes” or bushes and raise your own. Or, you can forage.
The chickens aren’t the only ones scratching around this place looking for tasty bites.
STEP 2: Juice
Once you’ve collected enough berries (about 2 quarts) it’s time to make juice. Don’t worry, you won’t need a juicer to make this juice.
First, wash them. Then transfer them into a saucepan.
Add 1 Cup of filtered water (to learn why and how we filter our water go here).
Now squeeze the juice from one lime and one lemon into the saucepan with the berries and water. You can use 2 lemons if you don’t have a lime.
Bring the mixture to a boil. In just a few minutes it will look like this. Keep mashing!
Now, to strain the juice from the berries. There are several great ways to do this. You can use cheesecloth. You can use a jelly bag. You can use a strainer.
Pour the berry mixture into the strainer and let the juice drain into the container below.
To encourage your berries to release all the juice, you can use a spoon to apply pressure.
NOTE: Be gentle, if you squeeze to much it can result in a cloudy jelly.
STEP 3: Make Jelly
Pour the juice (4 cups) into a saucepan (I washed and reused the pan I used to make the juice).
NOTE: If your berries weren’t very juicy & you are a little short you can cheat and add a little apple juice.
At this point go ahead and cut open 2 packages of LIQUID fruit pectin. It must be Liquid Pectin. Powdered pectin will not work. If you use powdered pectin you will end up with blackberry, sticky syrup instead of blackberry jelly. No Powder. Must use liquid pectin. If you don’t have any liquid pectin, but have 15 boxes of the powdered stuff – drop everything and go to the store. Powdered won’t work. Trust me on this one. Go get some liquid pectin.
Now that we are all clear on that, let’s get the liquid (not powdered) pectin ready to dump into the jelly.
Use scissors to cut open the (liquid) pectin packages and put them in jars to hold them upright. Set aside.
Pour the cane sugar into the saucepan with the juice.
Bring to a full rolling boil (keep stirring). Boil 1 minute. Use a timer. Don’t overcook it. Remove from heat.
TROUBLESHOOTING: If you overcook the jelly it will be a sticky, gooey mess. It is important to bring this to a full rolling boil for 1 minute and not longer. Overcooked jelly can taste scorched and is thick and sticky. There is not a good way to salvage overcooked jelly (that I know of). You can reheat it and thin it with some water to make a syrup (as long as it doesn’t taste scorched) – but it will never be jelly.
Skim off foam.
Ladle into sterilized, hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Sorry about my ugly, red, plastic funnel. I am planning to get a nicer one.
Process in boiling water-bath canner 10 minutes.
If you are new to this process here are some tips:
- Be sure you are filling hot jars with hot jelly liquid. Filling cold jars with hot liquid can cause jars to spontaneously explode in your kitchen. I’ve done it. It’s startling.
- Put the canning jars and lids in a clean dishwasher and set it to sanitize (don’t use soap) before you begin making the jelly. When you are ready to fill jars they will be screaming hot freshly sterilized from the dishwasher.
- When adjusting rings – you want them to be fingertip tight. Tight enough that water won’t get in, but not so tight that Hulk couldn’t open them.
- Use an elevated rack to hold jars. These are great and allow you to dunk all your jars into the bath at once (most canners come with a rack).
- Be sure your water is just beginning to simmer when you lower your jars in. If you put semi-warm jars into crazy-hot, boiling water this can also cause jars to spontaneously explode in your canner. I’ve also done this. It’s not as loud or shocking, but just as messy.
- Be sure the water level is 1-2 inches over the jars. Add additional boiling water if necessary.
- Bring back to boil – then start a timer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes remove jars and set to cool.
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