Jamming with Honey
It's August and blackberries are in season! Here in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California we have wild (and invasive) blackberries galore! Between these and the thornless blackberries we grow on the farm, our cups and bowls and freezer are overflowing with blackberries. Two things I love to use blackberries for are cobbler and jam!! My younger brother was coming for a visit and he loves blackberries so I wanted to make some jam to send him home with. We like doing a low sugar jam and I love being able to use honey instead of sugar so I make our blackberry jam with honey.
Using Honey Rather Than Sugar
A lot of people are surprised when I tell them they can use sugar in certain canning recipes. I am by no means a canning expert, let's be clear on that, however, I do have experience with certain recipes I've done over the years that our family loves. Im always looking to grow my knowledge for preserving foods. This recipe for blackberry jam is very simple and I have also used it for making peach jam, which is the other fruit we get in abundance here on the farm.
Infused Honey in your Jam
We love to use our infused honeys in all sorts of recipes, it adds that "something special" that brings a recipe together. We used our Rose Infused Honey in this jam but I was also thinking of using our Ginger Infused Honey and Cardamom Infused Honey. In the end we thought rose would be nice as blackberries and roses are in the same family, which was fun for us. The taste of rose came through really nicely in the jam, it wasn't overpowering and the combination was lovely! The combination is up to you, have fun with it. In the peach jam I like the Ginger Infused Honey!
You don't have to use an infused honey, our Raw Unfiltered Clover Honey is perfect for any recipe. I recommend using it rather than the Virgin Clover, since you will be bringing it to a boil there is no need to use the unheated honey, but you can.
Making Jam with Honey
I use Pomona's Universal Pectin which is a pure citrus pectin that thickens and preserves jams without the need for extra sugar. It has no dextrose or preservatives. I like their pectin because the citrus pectin is the preservative so you can add sweetener to taste, using very little if you like, whereas most jams and jellies are packed with cane sugar because it acts as the preservative. The packet of Pomona's Universal Pectin comes great instructions to guide you through for pretty much any fruit you want to turn into jam or jelly. I have gotten more complicated with my preserves and created my own pectin with quince or apple peals but it's a lot more work and we like to was less sugar, sometimes its nice to go the simple straight-forward route and this is simple and straightforward. There are instructions in the box for making almost any kind of jam or jelly you can think of.
Black Berry Jam & Rose Infused Honey Recipe
- 4 cups blackberries
- 1 cup Blue Sage Honey Co.'s Rose Infused Raw Honey
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice (checkout our mason jar attached citrus juicer)
- 2 tsp Pomona's Universal Pectin
- 2 tsp Calcium Water (comes with Pomona's Universal Pectin)
Begin making the Jam
- Make sure you have clean canning jars and lids of your preferred size (this recipe filled four pint jars and one half pint jar). Sterilize your jars while you prepare your Jam.
- Start by heating the blackberries in a thick bottomed pot (so it doesn't burn) stirring occasionally. Once they are warm, mash the berries, breaking them up and releasing the juices -Optional, if you prefer not to have blackberry seeds in your jam, now you remove them. I find it is easiest to do when the berries are warmed and after they have been mashed. I like to use a food mill for this. It's always a little time consuming and perhaps messy but it can be worth it to remove those seeds that are so good at getting stuck in your teeth.
- If you have removed the seeds, return the sieved berry pulp to your thick bottomed pot. If you left the seeds, continue to heat the berry pulp. Be sure they have been well mashed to then point where there are no berries still in tact.
- Add 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice (remove all seeds).
- Add 2tsp calcium water (content and instructions are included with the pectin)
- Slowly bring berries, citrus juice and calcium water to boil stirring often to prevent burning or sticking on the bottom of the pot.
- While the mix is coming to a boil, prepare your honey and pectin. Mix your chosen honey with 2tsp pectin. -I used 1 cup of honey but you can use less if you like your jam to be less sweet, up to you. I used our Rose Infused Honey and really liked how it turned out but I also think the Cardamom Infused Honey or the Ginger Infused Honey would have been very nice. The honey you use is up to you.
- Once your fruit mix has come to a boil, add the honey pectin mix and stir thoroughly dissolving the honey and pectin completely. Continue to stir while the fruit returns to a boil then remove it from heat.
- Fill your sanitized jars to 1/4" from the top. Clean rims and screw on your sanitized lids (not too tight). Can using your preferred method. I use either a water bath or steam canning method. Be sure to find the correct amount of canning time for your elevation and method. Once canning is complete, set your jars on a surface covered with a tea towel or the like (be careful, they are hot!!). Let them sit for a full 24 hours while they cool and seal. Check that they have sealed correctly before labeling them and putting them in the pantry for later!!