How to Make Seedless Blackberry Jam (No Pectin)
Don’t be afraid of canning! A few simple steps will have you enjoying homemade fruit preserves, no pectin or special equipment needed.
I made jam!
This was a first for me. I always thought the idea of canning and preserving seemed so complicated and scary, and I was too intimidated to make any attempt. Daunted!
Well, sometimes the most wonderful things have a way of just falling into your lap, and before you know it, you’re knee-deep in a water bath, sterilizing jars…
We enjoyed our last summer shore weekend this past, and it was so nice to relax, enjoy a little sun and cool breeze, and catch up with family for a few days. (And my older son lost his first tooth! Please excuse my hollering like a lunatic…)
My brother- and sister-in-law showed up with a mahoosive bucket of blackberries they had picked at a local farm. (Remember just a couple of weeks ago, I was griping about how expensive blackberries are in PA? What a stroke of luck!) Many of them went straight into our hungry mouths, but by the end of the weekend, there were still over two pounds remaining. My husband and I bounced a few ideas around for what I could do with them, but I soon realized there were just way too many to simply bake into a recipe.
And what better way to repay my dear in-laws for their blackberry generosity, than to offer them a jar or two of homemade preserves at our next holiday gathering?
There’s a lot of info on home canning out there on the interwebs, so I spent a solid morning just familiarizing myself with the process. I decided to go the non-pectin route. Just seemed a little more rustic to me. Plus, I didn’t feel like making a trip to the store. Truth.
I learned that you can be super specific about it, or you can be more relaxed, and add sugar/flavor enhancers by taste and feel. Contrary to my uber-perfectionist, Virgo (read: anal) tendencies, I decided to just go with the flow. Worrying about sterilization and sanitation is enough of a fuss for me, being a first-timer and all.
Before I launch into the nitty-gritty, let me put your mind at ease. Jam, or preserves, are nothing more than reduced and thickened fruit. If you can make a sauce, you’ve got jam in the bag. And if you don’t mind keeping it in the fridge, you don’t even have to bother with the boiling and sterilizing. I wanted to go ahead and take a proper crack at it, so here’s how it all went down.
After giving them a cool-water rinse, I macerated the berries in sugar overnight, sweetening them and helping them to give up a lot of juice.
I didn’t really bother to pick over the berries, removing stems/leaves, etc., because I knew I’d be straining them anyway. I’m not a fan of seedy jam so I took the extra step. Any other kind of fruit, and I would have loved big chunks, but I just find those big blackberry seeds to be super-annoying. No thanks.
Speaking of de-seeding blackberries, I remember receiving a food-mill as a wedding gift, oh, about an eternity or so ago. This would have been the perfect time to crack it out, but here’s a glimpse into our mad basement organization skillz:
Um, ya. Maybe I’ll just use my seive, mmmmkay?
Back to jam. I let the berries soften up over medium heat, and then I strained them. It was a tedious process, but don’t let that deter you from jam-making. If not for this step, the whole business would have been a snap. And after a little while it became kinda meditative… Scoop in soft berries, push, push, swirl… push, push, swirl… the ladle worked great for this.
I submerged the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes while all this was going on. (Keep them warm so they don’t crack when the hot jam goes in!)
Once the blackberries were de-seeded, I just whacked the puree on the stove and (slowly) brought it up to a bubble, stirring. I also threw the lids into some simmering water to soften up that ring of gummy gunk that makes the seal airtight.
A squeeze of fresh lime, a quick taste for sweetness and maybe a little more sugar or citrus, and once it looked dark, shiny, and thickened, it was ladled into hot, sterilized jars.
Wipe around the rim, lids go on, and the jars are placed back in the big pot of water and boiled for 10 minutes.
Once they’ve cooled completely, you can check the seals. If the “button” pops up and down, then they didn’t seal properly. It’s ok though. Those’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. But if it’s a tight seal, they’ll keep in a cupboard for MONTHS! Perfect homemade gift!
This wasn’t so hard. I’d do it again. As a matter of fact, I’ve got an itch to make a big batch of tomato jam… so keep an eye out for another possible canning post, guys. 😉
And, I’ve got a scrumptious recipe up my sleeve to utilize these sweet and luscious preserves! So stay tuned! I’m totally psyched to get baking again!
A very handy chart, for your reference: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/348/348-594/348-594.html
PS- I didn’t buy any special equipment, other than the jars. A lot of websites/stores will make you think that you need a whole arsenal of task-specific canning equipment, but I just was not interested in making the investment (of time, storage space, or money). A well-stocked kitchen already includes a stockpot and a pair of tongs, and mine’s no exception. I’m sure a wide-mouth funnel, pair of canning tongs, magnetized lid-grabber, and jar-lifter-outer-basket would have been nice, but unless you think you’ll be doing a buttload of canning in the future, I think you’ll get by ok without.
Have you ever tried canning? Do you enjoy it? Are you a pectin-using, recipe following type, or do you just taste and adjust? Have you ever done any interesting flavor combos? (I toyed around with the idea of adding a little gin to my blackberry-lime concoction.) Or are you just completely intimidated by the whole idea? I have to say, that for me, once I gave it a go I realized it’s not so scary. Just keep everything warm and boil it well and you’re golden.
How do you like to use fruit preserves in your baking? Would love to hear your thoughts/ideas; as always, your comments are the bright spot in my day! 😉
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For the jam
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh blackberries
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, (juice of half a lime or lemon)
- 3 8-ounce canning jars with fresh lids
- Rinse the berries in cool water, and toss in sugar. Allow to macerate, refrigerated, overnight.
- In a large saute pan, warm the berries over medium heat, until softened.
- Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill, to remove the seeds.
- Submerge the jars in a large pot of boiling water, for 10 minutes. Keep warm.
- Place the puree back in the saute pan, and heat, over medium heat, until thickened.
- Place the lids into simmering water to soften the seal.
- Stir in the citrus juice, taste the jam, and adjust seasoning, if needed. When it has reached the desired consistency, spoon it into the hot jars.
- Wipe the edge of each jar with a clean cloth, and place the lid on. Screw on the rings and submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove with tongs, and allow to cool.
I made this recipe and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!
I had a bit of trouble really understanding exactly when my jam was perfectly ready to ladle up into jars and set up the way we like our jam, which is not runny, not stiff but just…spreadable without drips. I read a little tip someplace that helped me wonderfully and I just thought I would pass it along to other daring but unsure jam-makers out there. The tip says to put a few saucers in the freezer at the start of the process and to check your jam for readiness, smear a TBS-full onto the cold saucer, let cool in freezer and see if it “wrinkles” when nudged. This helped me make the perfect set jam. Oh Boy is it Award Winning or what! Good Luck to everyone who gives this recipe a go!!! What a delight it is.
That is an amazing tip Kelly! Thank you so much for sharing it! I’m so happy you liked the recipe!
I DID IT!!!!??
THANK YOUUU so much for your No Pectin recipe.
In a small batch it worked like a dream. It was well worth the stirring and waiting, waiting and stirring because aI really really did not want to add pectin in to the awesomeness of fresh Blackberries (or any beautiful berries). This is utterly and absolutely beyond describing how this homemade jam tastes. It is GORGEOUS!!!??
So glad to hear this! Thank you so much for the awesome feedback!
I’m inspired. My MIL just picked a big batch of Blackberries but she doesn’t feel up to making jam. It’s already 90deg here in SE Texas and because of my health, (chronic pain & cancer ) I’m stuck inside out of the high heat most of the time so, I will take on the task.
This sounds great and looks absolutely delicious!!
So happy you like the recipe Kelly! Wishing you good health!
Hi there! Ive been looking for a good seedless recipe and pectin has been confusing me. It turns out it naturally occurs in citrus fruit and apples pears gooseberries etc. Jam sugar has this already added (in the uk anyway) so now im confident in trying tbis out this evening 😀
Sounds great Kayleigh! You are right- many fruits have pectin in them naturally. Throw a wedge of apple (with the skin and core) into your berry puree if you want an extra hit of natural pectin. Good luck!
Because of this posting in the web and your gleeful williness to keep it real, easy and not make it”prrfect” i will now attempt this for the first time with wild muscadine grapes i just picked. Thank you!
Sounds delicious! Have fun and enjoy!
And here I am again. I am using my last jar of jam that I made in 2016. I dated all the jars so I knew when I should be getting to the end of the line. It’s now the end of August and I’m ready to go pick my berries and make this jam all over again.
This is the only recipe I’ll ever use and I had lost it (the written one) and so happy I could find it again. Thank you.
Wow! That’s amazing Kristi! I’m so happy you were able to find it. Thank you so much for looping back to give such positive feedback! And have fun berry picking!
Berry picking – at least Blackberry picking – is a dangerous yet rewarding task. Our PNW rogue blackberries can be downright lethal. I put it off so many times, knowing my arms and legs and fingers were going to be in peril. But once I got going, minus the stinging nettle on my legs (I’m not gonna lose the shorts for anything), it wasn’t so bad. 😀
When you say “submerge” the jars in the boiling water, are they completely submerged in the water? Do they need to be covered or just sitting in the water?
Hey Karen! Yes they need to be submerged, in other words, completely covered with water. Hope that’s helpful!
Cook ti it slides off the spoon in a sheet. That’s how my
mom and granny did it. Less water the better.
That’s a great tip Carol! Thank you so much for sharing!
have not made this yet, but were does the lime or lemon go?
“…I also threw the lids into some simmering water to soften up that ring of gummy gunk that makes the seal airtight…A squeeze of fresh lime, a quick taste for sweetness and maybe a little more sugar or citrus, and once it looked dark, shiny, and thickened, it was ladled into hot, sterilized jars.” Also, step 7 on the recipe card: “Taste the jam, and adjust seasoning, if needed.” Hopefully that’s helpful Marvina! Thanks for reading.
Forgive my ignorance, but I’ve never canned before. When you say to submerge the filled jars, do you mean to completely cover them with water? What is the purpose of this step?
Yes that’s correct, they should be completely submerged in the hot water. This will activate the seal on the jar and keep everything sterile so microbes aren’t able to grow at room temperature. Sorry if that wasn’t clear!
I made a single batch last year about this time and loved it. Like another commenter stated, up here in Washington blackberries grow like weeds. Because I love seedless blackberry jam, and your recipe worked so well, I made it a goal this year to harvest all I could from our property that’s brimming with them. I got what the deer left me. About 7-8 lbs. Now I’m on a mission to make a lot of jam.
Question for ya. Should I stick to the single batch recipe or can I double/triple it without changing the ratios? Trying to avoid cleaning up three times.
Hey John! I’m so glad you were happy with the recipe! And that it’s inspired you to make more. To answer your question, I don’t really think you’d need to change much in order to make a bigger batch. It’s really just about reducing (evaporating out the excess moisture), and you can taste as you go for sweetness. Just let it bubble away until you like the taste and the consistency. Good luck and have fun!
Made my seedless blackberry jam tonight . It was a bit messy but the strange thing is my grandchildren love eating blackberries as they pick them off the bushes, but do not like the seeds in the jam. What!! I can not understand that one. I put some cooking apples in ,they have pectin. Have made it seedless .so that should keep them happy. sylvia
Oh my goodness Sylvia I can’t help but laugh! I am a mom so I know the weirdness of kids all too well! My 8-year old loves pizza but won’t touch tomato sauce on pasta- if that makes any sense at all!!!
I made this, but in a much smaller batch because all the rest of my blackberries mysteriously disappeared. ;D And then I used the jam as a base for a bbq sauce…both turned out amazing!! I almost wish I hadn’t already eaten 85% of my blackberry haul this year…almost =D
Wow, that sounds amazing! What a great idea.
Hi!! I’m am almost done making your jam recipe, I have blackberries growing in my backyard, so I used them. My question is how long does it take before the jam gets thick enough to be put into the jars? Please help,it is greatly appreciated:)
The time can vary quite a bit Christine! It depends on how juicy your berries are, how hot your stove is, etc. If it helps at all, I think it took mine about 25 minutes to reduce down to a consistency I was happy with. Keep in mind the jam will become even thicker as it cools. Good luck and enjoy!
Looks awesome. I love blackberries and used to pick them when I was a kid growing up in PA. Obviously we ate a lot of them before we brought the remains back in our pails and my mom would turn them into an amazing cobbler. Such wonderful memories. I live in CA now and blackberries are expensive to buy so I don’t get to enjoy them quite as much.
What a nice memory! I’m so happy you shared it here Minnie. I would love some of your mom’s blackberry cobbler!
First of all thanks for the recipe, I did it! But I had a problem, it got solid on the jars 🙁
Any solution for that?
I’m not sure what you mean, could you explain? Solid on the jars? Meaning it was too thick? If it becomes too thick just thin it out with a little hot water. I hope that helps!
When do you add the lemon juice?
Hey Jessica! You’ll want to add it just before it goes into the jars, off the heat. Good luck and enjoy!
We had a bit of a misstep when trying this. I macerated the berries then pushed through a sieve (I long to have a food mill but just thought today to try the electric juicer!). It was getting late so I placed the juice in a container and placed in the fridge to can the next day. Life happened and the next day turned into 3 days later. When we took the lid of, it was a bit frothy with just the tiniest taste of alcohol! I guess we were starting to get blackberry wine (made have been the raw honey I used instead of sugar). I dumped it all into the crock pot and heated it up for a while. The frothiness went away so we continued on and processed the jars in a water bath for nearly 15 mins. Not sure how it will turn out…..may just be a sauce for ice cream as it seems pretty thin still.
That’s really interesting Angie! It sounds like you had the start of a shrub happening. I’m surprised it happened that fast in the fridge. I think it will probably still come out ok, just be sure to really boil it down quite a bit if you want a thicker jam. That’s really the key to it all! Good luck 🙂
Just finished 2 batches – the jars are cooling now. This is the 2nd year I’ve used your recipe and instructions. I just wanted to say thanks! I am so proud of those little jars, I can’t even tell you!
Aw, that makes me feel proud too! I’m so happy you like this recipe Cecily! Enjoy your jam 🙂
I am making your jam right now! It looks great! Can this recipe be tripled? And once we can the jam, how many months will it be good for? And, if you don’t take the seeds out, do you cook for the 25 + 45? Thank you so much!
I think it should triple no problem, Denise! It should keep for up to a year in the pantry (unopened), and for 6 weeks to 2 months in the fridge after opening. As for the cook time, it can vary by the water content in your berries, so I’d say just keep an eye on it and once it’s reduced/thickened you can take it off the heat. Just keep in mind it will become even thicker once it cools. I hope that helps! Enjoy 🙂
Thank you Allie very much. The jam tastes great but this morning is pretty thick, so i think next time i will do what you said and take it off the heat as soon as it thickens, maybe just the 45 minutes would be better. I appreciate all your help!
My pleasure, Denise! If it’s too thick you could always add a little hot water to loosen it up. Just a teaspoon or so at a time until you have the consistency you like. Thanks so much for reading!
Love this recipe! I left it on the stove a little too long, so I have very thick jam, but next time I’ll know better. This was my first attempt at homemade jam and at canning and I couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks so much!
I’m so glad you like it Kristen! If it’s too thick for you, you could always warm it up slightly and stir in a few tablespoons of water. Thanks so much for the awesome feedback!