This week as I walked down to the ravine to gather blackberries, the cool of the valley hit me about the same time as the sweet smell in the air. I knew the blackberries were starting to swing into full gear!
I have saved my last two pickings of blackberries in the fridge so yesterday afternoon I thought I would give jam making a try. I am usually quite nervous when I try something new like this, as I was when I started experimenting with canning last year.
I would prefer to learn along side someone who is up to date on the safety standards with canning. It is hard to find people who still do canning though and who are familiar with how things have changed since Grandma did it. It is even harder to coordinate time to work together too, especially with two little ones and our random building schedule this summer. Thankfully, I live in the information age and have the help of the internet at my fingertips! (Although, you have to remember to check sources and cross examine information since anyone can post anything they want, accurate or not - including myself!)
So, after digging up recipes for blackberry jam, I finally gave it a try. It was surprisingly easier than I thought, and the Sure-Jell box of pectin even had step by step instructions - which I found after looking for them on the internet. The internet was still useful, however, since I was able to see pictures, get the steps in more details, and learn a few tips not included in the pectin packet.
My jam turned out great, and although I found out mid process that the blackberries I had weren't quite enough, I had some frozen strawberries on hand that I added to make my blackberry jam a double berry jam. I think it was a good addition to the jam, although I'm curious to what plain blackberry jam tastes like. I'm hoping to pick enough next round to do find out the answer!
Here is a site that I found that was very helpful.
Also, although I know to put vinegar in the water bath when canning, I didn't think of it while doing jam. The jars came out quite cloudy on the outside from the minerals, but a good wipe down with vinegar made them sparkle again to show off the beautifully colored jam inside.
And one more thing . . . someone once told me not to buy off brand sugar when making jam, as it usually contains beet sugar - which doesn't allow for a good set. So I bought the pure cane sugar, and my jam set nicely.