My first home preserving project!
I have been itching to try my hand at canning and preserving. I promised myself that once the blackberries in our yard started coming in that I would make a batch of blackberry jam. Well, that time has come! During the last week of June, the berries started ripening. Cee and I went out to test them – there were exactly two semi-ripe blackberries so we each tested one. Ick! They were both pretty tart!
We went on vacation to visit my parents over Independence Day weekend, but when we came back on Tuesday, we discovered that many of the berries had fully ripened. I thought it was kind of early for the berries to be ready, but was happy about it regardless. We set out to picking that day and ended up with 3 full containers!
It wasn’t quite enough to make a full batch of blackberry jam, so we waited one more day for additional berries to ripen and we picked enough for a couple more containers.
To make the blackberry jam, I used the method and recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. This is a great book full of different home canning recipes. It also does a really great job of explaining the process of water bath canning and pressure canning – so it is a perfect resource for a beginner like me.
First I set up the home canner (which is basically just a giant pot with a rack inside of it that I filled with water) and began disinfecting the Ball canning jars and lids. To do this, you just put the jars in the canner filled with water, put it on the stove and bring the water to an almost boil. Here is a picture of my counter full of supplies:
Meanwhile, I washed the berries under some cool water.
Then I mashed the berries and put them in a sauce pan, mixed in some pectin, then the sugar and let it get to a boil.
When the cooking part was done, I filled all the jars with the jam, put on the lids, screwed on the rings and put them in the water bath canner.
Boiled for 10 minutes and voila! Canning was complete. It was really so easy – it makes me wonder why I haven’t done more of this before. My favorite part was when all the can lids started popping during cooling 🙂
A couple days later I was feeling creative and decided to decorate the jars a little bit. We don’t use a whole lot of jam, honestly, so I wanted to make the jars look pretty for gifting purposes. Cee helped me pick out the colors – we chose a shimmery purple material to use as “skirting” around the jar, and simple purple yard to tie a cute little bow around the jar ring. I also cut out circles of black construction paper and used a silver Sharpie to write “Blackberry Jam” and the date of creation.
Overall it was a fun project and a great learning experience! Now I’m trying to come up with the next thing I should practice home canning on! (Come onnnnnnn, tomatoes!)