This Easy Blackberry Jelly recipe yields delicious, shimmering clear jelly that's perfect for toast, scones, biscuits, bagels, crumpets, etc. with a super simple technique!
As I was deciding earlier this week which recipe to post today, I came across the pictures for this Easy Blackberry Jelly. We actually did the photoshoot for this jelly a few weeks ago and I'd forgotten how cheerful the jam looked. Just gazing at the pictures made me smile. I thought you could, perhaps, use a smile today too, so here we go!
In addition to being bright and cheery, this Easy Blackberry Jelly is so... delicious. It makes a piece of warm bread, toast or a pb&j sandwich seem like a gourmet treat. (Of course, that can be a problem because it's really difficult to stop at one!)
I got the idea for this Easy Blackberry Jelly a few weeks ago when one of our local grocery stores had really nice looking cartons of fresh blackberries on sale for $1.19. I couldn't pass that up and proceeded to fill up my basket with little boxes of the beautiful glistening fruit. I wasn't sure how off-season fruit would do for jam/jelly, but I thought it would be worth a try.
Will this recipe work with frozen blackberries?
It turned out so good, I thought I'd try another batch with frozen blackberries and again, the results were wonderful. How fun it's been to be able to pass on pretty little jars of this Easy Blackberry Jelly to family, friends and neighbors. I designed a colorful little label that can be attached to the lid or side of the jars to add an extra little pizzazz. (You can leave a comment in the area below the recipe if you'd like a printable PDF for these labels.)
I had to laugh when I was making this jam as it made me think about something my mom always said. She was a tried and true homemade cook and was, in particular, very proud of her homemade jelly. She would always say, "... and there's not a drop of water in this jelly!". Her technique would involve cooking the berries, then meticulously wrapping them up in a cheesecloth sack. The sack of cooked berries would be hung on a nail or cupboard door and the juice would drip into the bowl, drop-by-drop-by-drop, often taking all day or overnight before enough of the precious juice would be extracted.
I think the method used for this Easy Blackberry Jelly yields just as delicious results without all the fuss. This is how it works: combine blackberries and water (sorry, mom!). Bring the mixture to a boil and smash the berries a bit with a potato masher or large spoon then let it cook away for about 20 minutes. By this time, most of the extra water has been evaporated and you're left with mostly juice and cooked-down fruit.
Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl until most of the juice is extracted (this takes 5-10 minutes, tops!). Combine the juice with a box of powdered pectin (I use SureJell) and bring it to a boil. Add the sugar and cook until it's boiling. Once the mixture's boiling, stir, stir, stir, for one minute and, voila! You're pretty much done except to pour the clear, shimmering juice into clean, waiting jars - and, of course, stand back to admire.
I think this technique is quite genius but I can't take the credit myself. I found the recipe on the Food.com website. I'm pretty sure my mom would have flipped had she known how easy making jelly could be!
What's the difference between jam and jelly?
Some people use these terms interchangeably, but that's not really correct. I think Fine Cooking sums up the differences very concisely: "Jelly is a clear fruit spread made from cooked fruit juice and sugar, and possibly pectin, which helps it gel and thicken. ... Jam is a thick spread made from fruit juice, chopped, crushed, or puréed fruit, and sugar. Pectin may also be added to help it gel, but jams are usually looser than jellies."
How do you store this blackberry jelly?
There are a few options for storing this jelly. It's good in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. For longer storage, I like to freeze it, as I have a refrigerator and freezer in my garage. Freezing is the easiest way to keep the jelly for an extended period of time. The other option is to use the hot water bath method. This takes a little extra time but ensures that the jelly is shelf-stable before it's opened. Both the freezer or the hot water methods work well for this blackberry jelly.
A never-fail jelly
Because blackberries are super high in pectin, this Easy Blackberry Jelly always sets up nicely. What is pectin? Pick Your Own describes it as "a naturally occurring substance (a polysaccharide) found in berries, apples and other fruit. When heated together with sugar, it causes a thickening that is characteristic of jams and jellies." Jams and jellies made from fruits that are low in pectin can be a little unpredictable when it comes to setting. Not this Easy Blackberry Jelly, it comes out perfect every time!
I hope you've bookmarked some recipes from our recent Learn to Make Homemade Bread post. This Easy Blackberry Jelly will pair so nicely with any of these recipes. Just be warned though, once you start making homemade bread and jam or jelly, you will never want to go back to store-bought (even if you did, you're family/friends aren't going to let you)!
Café Tips for making this Easy Blackberry Jelly
- This recipe calls for one box of SureJell. SureJell is powdered pectin and can be found in most grocery stores with the jam/jelly making supplies (jars, bands, lids, etc.). It seems that every grocery stocks the jam/jelly making supplies in a different section of the store so you might need to ask.
- Don't try to adjust the amounts of ingredients in this recipe. Making jams and jellies with pectin is an exact science and each recipe is designed around the amount of natural pectin that is in a given fruit. If you increase or decrease any of the ingredients you may end up with jam that either is too loose or too stiff.
- Most jam/jelly recipes call for measuring the sugar in a separate bowl and then adding it to the berries. The only reason for this is that if you get interrupted while measuring and forget where you were, you haven't ruined the whole batch.
- The recipe instructs "bring the mixture to a rolling boil". What does that mean? A rolling boil is one that can't be stirred down, even when you stir, it continues to boil.
- It might seem a little odd, to include a half teaspoon of butter in this easy blackberry jelly recipe. The small amount of butter helps to prevent a lot of foam from developing when the juice/sugar mixture boils. If you finish boiling the jam and you still see foam, you can always pour it through a fine-mesh strainer one more time.
- If you're using frozen blackberries, don't worry about smashing the berries in step 1 of the recipe. When frozen berries thaw, they're already broken down enough.
- You'll need a fine-mesh strainer for this recipe to strain the blackberry pulp from the juice. A regular strainer's holes are too large and you'll end up with fruit in the jelly and it won't be nice and clear. A fine-mesh strainer is a great kitchen tool to have and you'll find you use it for lots of things. If you're in a pinch and don't have a fine-mesh strainer, another option is to line a regular strainer with several layers of cheesecloth
- When straining the juice, make sure the bowl underneath is large enough so that the strainer won't be sitting in the juice.
- As I mentioned above, if you'd like our labels for your jelly, just leave a comment below and I'll send you the printable PDF.
Thought for the day
We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
P.S. Did you notice the pretty butter decked out with edible flowers? I call it Beautiful Butter. We've got a post coming up that will share exactly how it's done, easy tricks and tips and a section on common edible flowers. It's a really fun way to add a little pizzazz to a family meal or a dinner party!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review in the comment section below! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 5 cups fresh blackberries 6-7 of the small cartons of blackberries or 2 pounds of frozen berries
- 4 cups water
- 3¾ cups blackberry juice
- 4½ cups sugar
- 1 ¾ ounces SureJell dry pectin
- ½ teaspoon butter
Combine the berries and water in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lightly smash the berries with a potato masher or large spoon.
Maintaining a steady boil, cook berries for 20 minutes.
Place a large bowl beneath a fine-mesh strainer (or a regular strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth). Save the juice and discard the berry remnants and seeds.
Measure sugar In a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
Measure the blackberry juice. You should have close to 3 ¾ cup. If you are a bit short add water to measure 3 ¾ cups. If you have more than 3 ¾ cup, save the extra juice for another use.
Combine juice and pectin in a 6 to 8 quart sauce pot Stir well to combine.
Add the butter and bring the mixture to FULL ROLLING BOIL (a boil that does not stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring frequently.
Add the sugar and stir well.
Return to a rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
Quickly ladle into the prepared jars to within ⅛ inch of top. Wipe jar rims and threads with damp cloth. Cover with lids lids. Allow the jelly to sit at room temperature for 24 hours then refrigerate (for 3-4 weeks) or freeze (for 4-5 months).
If using the hot water bath method, begin processing right after filling the jars, using these directions.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
Recipe yields 7-8 cups.
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