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  • Dana Tutela

Blackberry Jam from the Garden

Updated: Jun 3

Time to harvest blackberries from the garden and make Blackberry Jam!

jars of homemade blackberry jam
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A year ago I ordered three Prime Ark Freedom blackberry plants online with the intention of making a berry patch on the hillside of our garden. They arrived faster than I could prepare the area for them so I planted them in a raised bed temporarily.

Unfortunately, they LOVED it in this raised bed and quickly took over the entire thing. I had no idea what a monster I had created! Hopefully, I can get it restarted in the berry patch and reclaim my raised bed. But for now, I am tying branches to the garden fence and trellises, pulling up runners and transplanting the babies-trying to gain some control over this beast! Meanwhile, I am harvesting lots of beautiful blackberries and making jam!

blackberry vine

blackberry ready to harvest

The Prime Ark Freedom variety is unique because it is thornless and ever-bearing. Berries showed up super early this year (May 2023) due to a mild winter and an early spring. I am already getting a second round of fruit that looks like it will be ready in July. Last year I even had berries in the fall. So far, I am a fan of this variety and hope that it does just as well in the ground as it does in the raised bed.

vego raised beds with bamboo trellis

I love to collect blackberries in this colander basket my sister gave me for my birthday. It’s so easy to toss them in the basket and rinse them off quickly with the hose.

blackberries in turquoise colander basket

Once they are all collected and rinsed, I pop them in the fridge in a berry container. If you’ve never used one, try it. They are a game changer for the longevity of berries. They look like a plastic storage container with a small basket inside. My produce lasts much longer with these!

If I can’t get to them right away, I will freeze them in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and then in a storage bag until I’m ready to use them. They can be frozen up to a year.

*Ginger Tip: Write the "Use By Date" on freezer bag, not the date frozen to keep frozen goods organized.

When making my blackberry jam for the first time, I did not use pectin. I mashed the blackberries to break them up and release some juices. Then I cooked down the blackberries with sugar and lemon juice for about 20 minutes in a large pot.

At this point I should have added some pectin, but I thought it looked thick enough. I used a canning bath with sterilized jars and lids and processed for ten minutes.

canning jars process

They sealed properly, but the jam was thin and a little runny. No problem! I labeled this batch “Blackberry Preserves” and tried again! I must mention that my husband loves to make a cocktail with the blackberry preserves. Check it out in my recipes.

blackberries in stainless steel pot

sugared blackberries

hand mashing blackberries

My second attempt at blackberry jam turned out much better! I added pectin this time and the jam set perfectly.

cast iron pot with blackberry mash

blackberry jam making

blackberry jam in jars

 I have included my recipe for blackberry jam in my recipe section.

jars of blackberry jam

Enjoy a bountiful blackberry harvest and plenty of jars filled with delicious blackberry jam!

How about a refreshing summer cocktail?

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