Monday, October 23, 2017

Blackberry apple jam


Hello! Thank you for your kind comments and well-wishes on my most recent post. Life is slowly getting back to normal, as everyone recovers from the worst cold we've had in a while. It's amazing how life gets all out of sync when there is illness in the house; nothing goes as normal, does it? I missed a grocery-shopping trip and we were eating such weird things by the end of that week. Then there's all the extra work of getting back on track - laundry, bedding changes, cleaning and yard work. It's good to get caught up. This week, I'll be changing over the children's dresser drawers, I think; it should be quite cool by the weekend. Their warmer fleece jackets are ready and everyone has a hat handy just in case, but I doubt it will get quite that cold for another few weeks.

I'm backtracking a little bit today, to a jam recipe I made recently. I had spotted a really good sale on blackberries in my weekly grocery circulars and jumped at the chance to buy them, especially so late in the season. I had been hoping to make another batch of some-sort-of-berry jam before winter - when I plan to make a new batch of marmalade - and since I'd never tried jamming with blackberries before, this seemed like a great chance. Even with the sale, though, the berries were a bit pricey to use them alone, so I improvised a recipe using apples to stretch the berries. I had also been wanting to try using apples to reduce the sugar by a bit, for a slightly healthier and more interesting-tasting jam. I've done this before, with my own tiny homegrown plums a few years ago, and it worked well. I came across a few recipes for jam made with berries and apples, took what sounded good from each, and gave it a shot. Here's how it went...


Blackberry Apple Jam
makes about 6 half-pints 

8 cups fresh blackberries (about 4 cups mashed)
2 cups unpeeled, chopped apple (2-3 medium)
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin

Prepare jars, lids and bands as desired. (I like to heat my jars in the oven, and my lids and bands in a simmering pot of water on the stove).

Mash the berries in a large bowl. Place the apples and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to a boil, simmering about five minutes until the apples start to soften.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the berries, bring to a boil. Stir in sugar and pectin, return to boil. Cook at full rolling boil for five minutes.

Quickly ladle jam into prepared jars, add lids and screw on bands. Process jars as desired* (I follow USDA Guidelines for safe home canning).



I used Golden Delicious apples. It was the greenest apple I could find when I bought them, and they say green apples have more pectin. I left the apples unpeeled because there is a lot of pectin in the peel. This can help you use less sugar in the jam, which was one of my goals. I love sweet jam, of course, but I was looking for something different this time, more of a natural fruit spread where you could really taste the fruit. Chopping apples is easy enough, and the extra step of cooking them is not difficult either. I'm glad I cooked them before adding the berries because the apples might not have been tender enough.



My recipe made six half-pint jars of jam. We tried one jar soon after I made it. It's delicious, not too sweet, and the berry and apple flavors both come through very nicely. I like that the apples, and their peels, stayed somewhat intact, giving the jam a little bit of texture. The jam is not as firmly set as some of my jams have been, less gelatinous, which is actually nice - it's more of a chunky spread. I wasn't sure what I would get, but I would call this a success, not to mention an enjoyable experiment. The only thing I might change is the lemon juice - I think there was a little too much. I might replace half with water next time.

I had a lot of fun making this recipe because it tested my jam skills, which I'd say are still at the moderate-hobbyist level, but I'm learning more all the time. I really love to make jam. It's starting to feel like just another home-making task nowadays, actually, which I like (I'm quite an enthusiastic homemaker, for the most part). Every couple of months, it's time to make a new batch of jam again, a pleasant little routine I've added to my life.

*I'm aware that opinions vary on processing jams and other canned foods. I prefer to follow processing guidelines, but I hope that you will do whatever you're comfortable with if you happen to try any of my jam recipes.

22 comments:

  1. It sounds delicious Jennifer. I like jam with less sugar in as well, more fruit taste. Haven't made any in ages though, I really should have a go, homemade is nicer by far. Glad everyone is getting back to normal. CJ xx

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  2. It looks delicious, especially spread on the bread, it's making my mouth water. Glad you're all feeling better.

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  3. Your jam look and sounds delicious. It is nice to have a fruitier less sweet jam, although sometimes these jams last less long due to the lower sugar content.Blackberries and apples go well together, a match made in heaven actually. We often make blackberry and apple crumble in late summer. We are lucky to have blackberries on our doorstep, everywhere we go really. I suppose your climate is too dry for soft fruit? I didn't have time this year to pick any blackberries, such a shame. Enjoy your beautiful jam xx

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  4. So good to read that all of you are slowly getting over this cold :/ it sure does linger, and then the work of cleaning out takes time. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe...it looks just delicious :D

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  5. Looks good. I like jam that is not too stiff too. Jo x

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  6. I'm not a big jam fan.. but my mom is a lover of jam. When you post about making jam it always takes me back to memories of me in my mom's kitchen helping her make jam.

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  7. I'm glad you're all feeling better, Jennifer. Your jam looks delish! :o)

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  8. I'm so glad you're all feeling better. I'm also so impressed with your jam making skills Jennifer. I've never made jellies or jams and it always seems like magic to me when I see other people's jams. :-). I wish I could pop over to your house and have a piece of toast with your name on it while we crocheted together. Wouldn't that be fun? Hav a lovely week my friend and stay healthy. (I'm glad to hear of someone else who enjoys home keeping tasks too.)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  9. Oh that looks delicious! I made some plum jam but bodied it for too long and it is rather thick and hard to spread! I must trust my gut feeling next time and take it off sooner! Xx

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  10. Stop, you're making my mouth water. Your jam looks delicious. I've made bread today and had some jam (not home made) this evening. Glad to hear you are feeling much better. Have a good week, Cathy x

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  11. Yum...takes me back in time to when my Grandma made her own bread and jam.

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  12. OH yum! Someone please keep me from drooling. I have never heard of adding apples to blackberries for jam, but seeing the end result on a piece of bread, and the beautiful jars makes me believe you are definitely on to something delicious. I love canning and one of the last things I did was apple jelly. It came out a beautiful rosy color because when cooking down the apples the skins bled into the juice. Love it!
    Susanne :)

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  13. Your jam looks delicious, I love blackberries so I am sure it would be a delight. Glad to hear you are all on the mend.

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  14. Blackberry and apple is such a great combination, they're so seasonally matched. Your soft set sounds just perfect - if blackberry jam is too firmly set the berries can become really hard. You've made me want to make jam now. X

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  15. I'm glad t hear things are returning to normal over there.
    I'm impressed with your jam making. It's not something I would try to change up, but you did great. It looks so pretty and yummy too!

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  16. Looks like a very yummy Jam Jennifer ♥♥ So good to hear things are a lot better in your life ☺☺ Here we are heading into warmer weather, I much prefer the cool.

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  17. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Jennifer. It sounds just right to me :) I'm ready to come over for a cup of tea and toast with jam and a good visit! I am glad you and yours are feeling better. On the way home from church I saw the most gorgeous fall foliage and tried to get some photos I hope to share soon. I love this time of year! Happy Week to you and your family. xx

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  19. Sounds delicious. I'm always wary of the canning process because of the sterilization, but have wanted to try some quick jams that can be stored in the fridge and eaten in just a few days.

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  20. This does sound very yummy Jennifer. I never make jam and always admire your efforts. In fact last year when we went to Ireland and found blackberries growing at the back of our rental house, I picked a few handfuls and, inspired by the remnants of knowledge from reading your recipes, invented my own little jam recipe. And very nice it was too :)

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  21. I love what I would call 'black caps'! I keep thinking I'll make some jam one year, but we honestly rarely eat it. I buy a jar of jam from our apple store and it sits in the fridge for months :( Your jam looks delicious, and it must be very satisfying to see those jars lined up in the sunshine. Good idea with the addition of apples for sweetening. Enjoy the rest of your week!
    Wendy

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  22. I love blackberry jam and I will definitely use your recipe next time. X

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