Making homemade preserves is like preserving summer in a jar. And really, its not difficult. It’s a summer ritual that I love. We had a robust crop of blackberries this year! I hope you try this, there’s nothing better on a hot biscuit!
Makes four – 1/2 pint jars
- 8 cups of blackberries, rinsed and dried
- 4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- dash of salt
Start by washing your jars and lids with very hot water or run them through the dishwasher to sterilize. Then add the berries into a very large stockpot, mash the berries with a potato masher, not completely though, leave some big pieces. Then add in the sugar, lemon juice and zest and a dash of salt.Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then turn the heat on high and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often. (time varies, so to be sure, use a candy thermometer, it should reach 220°) Skim off the foam as it cooks, you will feel the mixture thickening. When it reaches 220°, remove from the heat.Next, use a funnel and ladle it into your clean jars, wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth, put the lids on and tighten down. That’s it! You’ll hear a little “snap” when the lids seal, then just tighten them again. With a small batch like this, just keep them refrigerated, they will last for 3-4 months, but I bet they won’t! If you want to make larger batches and store them longer, you will have to use a pressure canner. Note to cooks: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, before you start, put 2 small plates in the freezer, after the berries boil for 30 minutes, place a teaspoonfull on one of the frozen plates, let it sit for a couple of minutes, tilt the plate, if it doesn’t run, it’s ready. Also press it with your finger, it will sort of wrinkle when it’s ready. If its still not thick enough, boil for 5 more minutes and test again. If it’s over boiled it will become hard, so I really think a thermometer is the way to go.