Helena Ricketts is a freelance writer currently living in Indiana who loves writing about cooking.
When I was a child, I used to sit at the counter and watch my grandmother and mother fill oodles of canning jars with jams and preserves. Blackberry has always been one of my favorites and when I make it, in the back of my mind I once again become that little girl sitting at the counter patiently waiting for the end result.
Of all the preserves or jams that I now make, this one is the most time consuming, but it is also the one that I think is well worth the time. Blackberries are packed with sweetness, juice that will dye your fingers with a purple hue and a ton of tiny seeds that I do find unpleasant in the final result.
Since I don't have any type of food grinder or de-seeder, I had to come up with a way to take the seeds out of the berries. For this batch, I took the seeds out of the majority of the blackberries but left a couple of hands full to be smashed so the preserves would have a few hunks of berry throughout. I like a smooth preserves with the occasional lump of fruit.
You don't have to take the seeds out at all and a lot of people don't. It's personal preference and this recipe will work for you either way.
How to Remove Blackberry Seeds Step by Step in Photos
How to Remove Blackberry Seeds with a Common Kitchen Strainer
You'll want to wear a pair of disposable plastic gloves when working with blackberries. If you don't, you'll end up with purple dyed fingers for at least the next few days.
Things you'll need to remove the seeds:
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- A fine mesh metal strainer
- A spoon
- A large bowl to catch the liquid that comes out of the berries
- Plastic gloves
It's easier when you work with about 12 berries at a time.
Smash each berry between your fingers over the strainer. After all of the berries that you are working with at that time are smashed, take your fingers and lightly rub the berries against the mesh of the strainer until the juice stops coming out and the berries have started to look pulpy.
At this stage, use the back of the metal spoon to continue rubbing the berries against the metal mesh. You'll want to use a little pressure but don't press hard enough to break the strainer. Keep doing this until the berries have transformed into a paste. At that point, you have extracted all of the juice from the berries that you'll be able to get.
Keep repeating the process until you have went through the amount of berries that you want de-seeded for you batch of preserves.
How Long Does it Take to Make Blackberry Preserves?
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 20 min
Approximately 7, 1/2 pint jars full
- 5 cups smashed blackberries, with or without seeds
- 7 cups sugar
- 1 box powdered pectin
How to Make Blackberry Jam or Preserves, Step by Step in Photos
How to Make Blackberry Preserves
- It is extremely important to have everything ready to go before you start. Have the berries smashed and de-seeded, your water bath canner filled and on the stove with your jars already washed and in the canner for sterilization, the sugar measured out and the lids in their pan.
- Put the berries into the pot and turn the heat onto medium high. Add the pectin and stir it in until it is completely dissolved.
- Keep stirring until the blackberries and pectin mixture reaches a rolling boil. A rolling boil can not be stirred away. At this point, you want to add all of the sugar at once and stir it in completely.
- Keep stirring until the mixture reaches another rolling boil. Set your timer for ONE minute. You do not want it to boil for longer than a minute because you run the risk of turning your preserves into hard candy.
- Once the minute is up, turn off the heat and keep stirring until it cools down a bit and stops boiling. If you are cooking on an electric stove, completely remove the pan from the burner. If any foam has formed on the top, remove it with a metal spoon.
- Lift the empty jars out of the water bath canner and put them on a towel or cooling rack on your counter or table. NEVER put a hot jar on a cold surface because your jars can easily break if you do. You can pour the hot water from inside one or two of the jars over your lids to help soften the rubber seals.
- Ladle the blackberry preserves into the jars leaving about 1/4" of empty or "head" space at the top of each jar.
- Using a damp towel or damp paper towel, wipe the top of each jar to make sure they are clean. An unclean jar top is one of the most common reasons for jars failing to seal properly. Put a lid and ring on each jar, tighten them just finger tight.
- Put each jar into the water bath canner being sure that they aren't touching each other and process them for 10 minutes.
- Once the 10 minutes has passed, lift the jars out of the water and set them on a towel or cooling rack. You should start hearing the pings of the jars starting to seal.
- Leave the jars for 24 hours to cool and seal. Your homemade blackberry preserves will last for a year or more if stored properly out of direct sunlight. Once a jar is opened or if any failed to seal, you can keep them in the fridge for up to a month.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can I seal and boil jars of blackberry preserves after they've been filled and cooled?
Answer: I've heard of people doing that, but I'd seal them as soon as possible after putting the preserves into the jar.