A couple of weeks ago, I taught a private canning class for a lovely group of women in Sarasota. They wanted to learn about boiling water bath canning and asked to make a jam and something pickled. Now the easiest jam to teach at this time of year is obviously strawberry, but this group wanted something a little different so I headed to the market to see what looked good. Wow – have you seen all of the beautiful fresh berries at the farm stands lately?! I found gorgeous organic blueberries at a decent price and then came across some fresh blackberries as well. After a little experimenting in the kitchen, I had an easy mixed berry jam ready for the class. While it’s a little more work than making jam from a single fruit, the results were well worth it. And really, homemade jam is just about the most lovely thing you can put in a jar! Whether you spread it on toast, give it as gifts, or just admire a shelf of it in your kitchen (I know I can’t be the only one who does this!), knowing how to transform fruit into bright little jars of happiness is a great skill to have!
6 cups prepared, crushed fruit (about 3 pints strawberries, 1 ½ pints blueberries, 1 pint blackberries)
4 ½ cups sugar
1 box of low or no sugar pectin
Yield ~ 8 half pints
1) Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
2) Sort and wash fully ripe berries; remove stems and caps. Crush strawberries until you have exactly 3 cups. Crush blueberries and blackberries until you have 1 ½ cups EACH.
3) Put fruit into a large pot. In a separate bowl, mix ¼ cup of the sugar with the pectin, add to fruit on stovetop.
4) Place pot on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full boil with bubbles over the entire surface. Add remaining sugar, return to full boil, and boil hard for 1 minute.
5) Remove from heat, skim foam, and ladle into sterilized jars.
6) Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for 5 minutes.
Yield: About 8 half-pint jars
Photos courtesy of Emily Eppinger.