Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

How many of you grumble when you buy pectin and cringe at the ridicules amount of sugar called for in most jam recipes?
Me too! That’s why I make jam without pectin and with much less sugar. It actually is very simple.

The trick is to cook the fruit long enough that you remove enough water that the natural pectin in the fruit makes it gel together, pretty awesome if you ask me!
Also, since this jam has less sugar it’s a whole lot healthier for you.

 
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
 

 

So, what’s in a batch?

3 gallons of berries we picked, you can read about our blackberry picking adventure here
7 cups of sugar, 3 brown 4 white is what I use but you can mix it up however you like
Sometimes I add cinnamon and vanilla, sometimes I don’t, whatever you like.

They were previously frozen berries, they had been flash froze using this great method I learned. Since they were flash frozen, the berries were loose and thawed much faster than if they had been all squashed into a solid block while freezing. 

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
I’m all about freezing berries and dealing with them later. Since they are so perishable if you don’t freeze them you have to stop picking during berry season to preserve them, and then repeat the cycle. I don’t know about you but for me, that gets old fast!  By freezing them right away they are at still at top quality when we make them into jam or use them in milkshakes, pancakes, muffins, fruit leather, ice cream, fruit snacks, whatever you can think up! Freezing the berries also allows me to save canning work for the winter when it will help heat the house and I (hopefully) don’t have as many projects going.
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
Anyhow, the berries, sugar and a half cup of warm or hot water just to get things moving, all go into your biggest pot. You should stir it pretty regularly; at first to mix in the thawed berries with the frozen so everything thaws faster, later to keep a skin from forming and causing the fruit to super heat and then explosively bubble when you do stir it.  You will know what I’m talking about if you have had it happen to you!

 

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

With shorter cooked recipes it’s a good idea to remove the foam that forms since it can trap air bubbles that you really don’t want. For long cook methods like this the bubbles break up before it’s finished cooking so you don’t need to worry about skimming the foam off.

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry PreservesLow Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

You can tell when it’s cooked enough because the fruit starts to look thick and with blackberries you can more clearly see the little fruit lumps, it sort of reminds me of tapioca.  This cooks until it’s reduced by between a 1/3 or a 1/2, depending on how watery the berries are. 

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves
The juice won’t cook all the way out. When you plate a spoonful you can see that the majority of the fruit holds together pretty firmly, that’s what you are looking for. When it’s all canned you will be able to see some juice but once a jars open the juice isn’t very noticeable or very copious, so try not to worry about it too much.
 
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

   The ball blue book refers to this as “preserves” and the canning time is 15 minutes in a boiling water bath for all cane berry and blueberry jam done this way. Other fruits may need lemon juice added for safety and have different processing times.  We actually love blueberry jam made this way even better than blackberry. It’s  amazing, if you like blueberries.

 

 

 
If you are like me, and have limited burner space there are two ways I have found to keep things hot while I wait for the water bath to heat.
Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves-I either fill a crock pot with hot water, then when the food is done I dump the hot water and add the food to the preheated crock pot where it can hang out until it’s time to jar it.
-Or, I jar the food and set them in a crock pot of warm water to keep them toasty. I rotate the jars in and out of the crock pot as they warm so I only need one crock pot going.
 

So there you have it, now you can make your very own delicious jam without adding any pectin or very much sugar, enjoy!

Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Jam: Blackberry Preserves

This post is participating in the Mostly Homemade Mondays and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Fridays and Real Food Wednesday blog hops, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!

I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!
Kindest regards,
Emily

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