Making wild blackberry jelly may be easier than you think! Follow this step by step guide and you’ll be able to enjoy that fresh wild blackberry flavor all year long.
Our yard is covered with blackberry bushes! Which we love!
Blackberry season around here is in mid to late July. And it’s a relatively quick season. We patiently wait for the bright red berries to turn dark, signaling that they are ripe and ready to pick.
Once they turn a dark purple, we gather up some buckets and head out to pick. Many hands make light work so we also try to involve the kids in this. Gardening with kids isn’t always picture perfect, but it is a great way to build memories!
Fresh wild blackberries do not last long once picked. They will only last about 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. So Mark and the kids are always excited to pick blackberries because they know that means I’ll be making fresh blackberry pie and blackberry jelly.
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Learning To Make Jelly
Prior to marrying Mark and moving to east Tennessee, I always let Smuckers make the jelly. Actually making jelly was never really something that I’d thought about.
Moving here has taught me many things. And one of those things is that produce is seasonal, and you should really take advantage when it’s in season! Using fruit to make jelly is one way to preserve seasonal fruit all year long.
There is a difference in store bought jelly and homemade jelly. Home jelly is sweet, but it tastes like fruit, not just sugar. After having both, my family definitely prefers homemade. Goose loves homemade grape jelly, while Buddy loves homemade blackberry jelly the best.
In my experience making jelly is a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to food preservation. It’s a fairly quick process and relatively simple. After you make jelly the first time, each subsequent time will be easier. Successfully making jelly gave me the confidence to try preserving other foods. I think you might feel the same after giving jelly making a try!
What’s The Difference Between Jam and Jelly?
There are a lot of similarities between jam and jelly. Both are delicious on a biscuit for one! For both jam and jelly you need sugar or some sort of sweetener. You also need pectin or some sort of thickening agent.
But there are some differences too. Jelly has a smoother consistency than jam. This is due to the fact that jam is made using the entire fruit, while jelly is made using the juice from the fruit.
Some fruits lend themselves more towards jam like strawberries and peaches.
Fruits like blackberries, grapes, and raspberries are better for making jelly.
It is hard (possibly impossible) to remove the seeds from blackberries and grapes, so it’s better to just use the juice. Using just the juice ensures that you won’t crunch down on a distasteful seed while enjoying your biscuits and jelly.
Things To Remember Before You Start
There are a lot of moving parts when making jelly and some of them are time sensitive.
- Gather all of your supplies before you get started. You definitely don’t want to be looking for something you need in the middle of jelly making! Keeping all of your basic canning supplies together can help you stay organized. I need all the organizational tips I can get!
- Turn the oven on 200 degrees and start heating up the clean empty jars. This recipe makes about 7 half pints. I usually put 8 half pint mason jars in the oven just in case there is a little extra jelly to preserve.
- Don’t forget to heat up the lids before you start making jelly. I am always forgetting this one! Put the lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and let them heat up. The water does not need to boil.
Ingredients For Making Wild Blackberry Jelly
Here’s what you’ll need
- fresh wild blackberries – about 2 1/2 quarts
- 4 1/2 cups of sugar
- Box of Sure-Jell
- 1 tsp butter
Process For Making Wild Blackberry Jelly
First, you’ll need to carefully wash the blackberries. Then put them in a large pot. Add enough water so that the berries don’t burn on the bottom. Cook the berries on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. The berries will begin to break down.
After cooking down the wild blackberries, it’s time to strain out the juice. It’s best to do this in smaller batches. I use a tight knit strainer for this part.
To make our wild blackberry jelly, we need 3 3/4 blackberry juice. If necessary, you can add up to 1/2 cup of water to get enough juice. The more water you have to add the less flavor you’ll have. So really try to mash as much juice as possible out of the berries.
Pour the wild blackberry juice into a large pot and add 1 box of Sure-Jell and 1 tsp of butter. The butter will help reduce the foam as the liquid heats up.
Bring to a full rolling boil.
Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly. (Here’s where having all your supplies together and ready really comes in handy! That minute will go by fast and it’s hard to search for supplies while you’re stirring!)
Remove from heat and fill to the neck of the jars. I use a ladle and a funnel to help prevent spills.
Wipe off the tops of the jars.
Put on the lids and rings.
Set aside to seal. The jars need to be undisturbed for 24 hours. So wherever you set them to seal make sure it’s a place they can be out of the way for a day.
You will know that the jelly jar has sealed when you hear a “pop”! You’ll also be able to see that the lid is concave and doesn’t poke out anymore. If 24 hours goes by and for some reason some of your jelly didn’t seal, put it in the fridge and eat it first.
Do I Have To Water Bath Jelly?
When I learned to make jelly, I was taught that putting the hot liquid in a hot jar would be enough to seal it properly. I have used this method for a decade now with no issues.
If you are concerned about not processing the jelly, you can water bath the half pints for ten minutes. I’ll talk more about water bathing and canning in another post.