A few weeks ago we went to the Cherry Creek Farmers Market in Denver. Just looking at the freshness of the fruit made me want to buy some of that but didn’t know what. One of the vendors was running a “berry” good special, $1 berries. That included blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. All the raspberries were gone but I was able to get my hands in a couple cases of organic blackberries and strawberries. Now the question was what to do with so much fruit!?
I thought about making a blackberry compote but we were not going to be able to finish it all. I was not in the mood to make a fresh fruit pie plus I need to make a big batch of something so I decided to make blackberry preserves.
Preserves are a little different than jams. Preserves are spreads that have chunks of fruit surrounded by jelly whereas jams are thick mixtures of fruit, pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently but quickly until the fruit is soft.
In order to make the preserves I needed to do some canning, which is so easy and, despite what other people say, you don’t need any special equipment to do so, all you need is a big pot, water and some mason-type glass jars and lids.
The overall process is so easy and yields very good results. Step one is washing your berries. Mix a gallon of water about a quarter cup of white vinegar, soak the berries in that solution and rinse them under cold water. That will kill the bacteria in all those nooks and crannies in the fruit. Even if you are not canning, this method will help your fruit stay fresh longer just remember to pat dry the fruit before storing it.
In my recipe I used a 50/50 mix of white and turbinado sugars. You can use one or the other but if you use 100% turbinado sugar reduce the amount to 1 3/4 cups instead of using the full 2 cups of sugar.
The use of lemon in the recipe will help release the natural pectin in the blackberries, that plus the lemon zest will add some fresh citrus notes to the preserves.
- 6 cups Organic Blackberries
- 1 cups White Sugar
- 1 cup Turbinado Sugar
- Zest of 1 Meyer Lemon
- Juice of ½ Meyer Lemon
- Rinse berries, drain and toss in sugar
- Add lemon zest and juice to the berries and cook them over medium heat in a large sauté pan until berries soften
- Submerge jars in a pot of boiling water for at least 10 minutes, keep warm
- Smash the berries with a fork to the desired coarseness. Keep cooking down until thickened
- Place the seals in simmering water to soften the seals
- Taste the preserves and adjust sugar
- Fill up the hot jars when preserves have reached the desired consistency
- Wipe the edge of each jar with a clean cloth and place the lid on
- Screw on the rings and submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes
- Remove from water and allow to cool
Jars that have been properly processed (lid security button should not pop up and down) can keep for several months