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:
- 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.
Kathryn Starkey on May 13, 2019:
How many oz is the pectin. I use 6 oz of pectin for same amount of blueberries.
Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on October 10, 2018:
Excellent input Renee! Thank you for sharing this.
Renee from Brockton on September 23, 2018:
I agree with everyone before me! This is a great article! Simple and to the point, easy to follow, and you included the approximate yield after all is said and done! Thank you!
I have to add my 2 cents regarding the question someone asked about sealing and boiling jars of blackberry preserves after they've been filled and cooled...
Don't! Here's why:
Whenever you are preserving food using the water processing method, nothing should be aloud to cool down until everything is processed and sealed. Period. If you try and re-heat the whole jar of food to seal it because you didn't seal it right away, you could ruin all your hard work because the unsealed jars of preserves will be a magnet for germs and such in the air. More likely than not, yeast will be the culprit. Which will result in exploding jars and fermented fruit (not the yummy fermented fruit either, it will turn rancid).
This has happened to me! I'm not being a snob!
The best way to save your yield of preserves if they're unsealed is to pour the food back into the pot to re-heat, re-sanitize your jars and lids, and follow through with the entire process to finish sealing. This is going to be extra work, so, like Helena suggested, when you're ready to pour the preserves into your jars, do it all at the same time. I've ended up having to refrigerate my food overnight because I ran out of time, so I just re-heated the food and ran the clean jars through a brief cycle using only hot water, that way I could seal it all up the next day without fear of contamination.
Just my 2 cents... I'm sure some people have been successful reheating everything later in the jar, but why risk loosing your entire crop? I did, and, let me tell you, I wasn't happy with the sound of my preserves exploding in my basement a week later!
Paula from The Midwest, USA on February 12, 2015:
I love blackberries and like to make blackberry pie on occasion. I haven't ever tried making blackberry preserves and hope to in the future. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! It sounds so good.
Susan Trump from San Diego, California on February 12, 2015:
Daphne D. Lewis from Saint Albans, West Virginia on February 12, 2015:
Deseeding the blackberries was a great tip. Congratulations on being awarded HOTD!! We always picked blackberries in the woods above us but usually made cobbler. I've never made preserves with them, but am hoping to try this recipe when summer comes and they ripen.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 12, 2015:
We have loads of wild blackberries. Thanks so much for helping us make this good stuff. Love it
Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 11, 2015:
These are excellent instructions. Thank you for the additional instructions for removing the seeds, especially the tip about only working with 12 berries at a time. And, by the way, congratulations on receiving the Hub of the Day award. You truly deserve it for this recipe.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on February 11, 2015:
This is a very thorough and instructive article on how to de-pip blackberries and can preserves. I am like you and really find the pips unpleasant. I have also been using the strainer method and certainly like the results, since, as you point out, blackberries are so very tasty (also healthy and abundant).
Congratulations for the HOTD for this well-illustrated and understandable hub!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on February 11, 2015:
Congrats on HOTD!!
I guess I'll have to try this come summer! I love blackberry preserves, but hubby can't stand the seeds, so I never buy it.
Home made is healthier, anyway, since you won't be adding any of that bad-for-you 'high fructose corn syrup' that the commercial food producers insist on adding into nearly everything!
Voted up, useful, interesting and pinned.
poetryman6969 on February 11, 2015:
I thought giving details on how to de-seed the berries was the most interesting point. Upvoted mostly for making sure that you discussed that.
Jaswinderhubs on February 11, 2015:
Congratulations for Hub of the Day. Nice pictures with detailed explanation.
prettydarkhorse from US on February 11, 2015:
Cool, I picked some last fall and we ate it. thanks for a detailed hub.
RTalloni on February 11, 2015:
Congrats on your Hub of the Day award and thanks for sharing your blackberry jam method with us. I have some blackberry bushes started and I hope to increase the number of plants and be able to establish a good patch of them. Fresh berries for jam is the goal. :)
mySuccess8 on February 11, 2015:
Thank you for sharing this recipe for a home-made blackberry preserves, which I have been buying from supermarkets before this. The instructions are clear, allowing one to make adjustments to suit one’s taste, and I would love to try this. Congrats on Hub of the Day!
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 11, 2015:
Congratulations on your HOTD, I love blackberries but like you, don't always enjoy the pips. I have a thornless variety growing up against an outside wall and this might very well be the way I will use the fruit up this year, apart from the odd blackberry and apple pie of course.
Thelma Alberts from Germany on February 11, 2015:
Congratulations on the HOTD award. I love blackberries preserved and this is an easy step by step instruction how to make it. Thanks for sharing. Well done!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 11, 2015:
I would love to try this. You made it look easy with your step by step instruction.
Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on June 06, 2013:
Thanks! It's SO much better than what you can buy at the store, if you can find blackberry.
Charlie Cheesman from England on June 06, 2013:
I love blackberry jam, there are loads around me later in the year but i never pick and make anything. This has hub is going to make me do it this year thanks.
Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on November 14, 2012:
Ha! I have to fight that as well. They are so yummy!
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 13, 2012:
The trick with this is me to try not to eat all the blackberries.
Deborah from Las Vegas on November 13, 2012:
Beautiful photos and very intereting. I always wondered how this process was performed. Great hub voted up! Thanks!