Case in point...late last week I officially began my 'canning season' with a brandied blackberry jam, followed by my pickles for the year (during which time one of my jars broke on me...more on that later). Having never tried brandied blackberry jam, I did a little research about when to actually add the brandy, and it seemed as though most recipes (even those from very reliable sources) called for adding 2-3 tablespoons at the very end. Doable enough, right? Well, what resulted was a slightly thinner jam. Still jelled, but less firm than most powdered pectin jams.
|Crushed berries and pectin coming to a boil|
|Three tablespoons of brandy (this is the cheap stuff)|
|Foam removed from jam- don't throw this away; have a piece of toast instead!|
I did choose to leave the seeds in the jam because I am not bothered by them, but if your berries are excessively seedy or you just don't like the seeds, you can press your crushed berries through a sieve before beginning the jam. You can also completely omit the brandy if you prefer a basic blackberry jam (the jam will be thicker this way).
Brandied Blackberry Jam- makes approximately 8 half-pint jars
8 cups fresh blackberries, crushed (will measure 5 cups crushed)
1 box (1.75 oz) powdered fruit pectin
7 cups sugar
3 Tbsp brandy
Prepare your water bath canner and at least 8 half-pint jars, lids, and rings. Place your cleaned, crushed berries into a large (6-8 quart) pot. Stir the pectin into the berries, and bring the mixture to a rapid boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Once at a full boil, quickly add the sugar and stir to combine. Stir constantly until the jam comes to a rolling boil. Once boiling, boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove jam from the heat and quickly stir in the brandy (it will foam up, just make sure it is off the heat). Using a clean spoon, skim the foam off the top of the jam. Ladle jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims to remove any residue. Top each jar with a sterilized lid and ring. Process jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes (alter time based on altitude as needed). Remove jars from canner and place on a clean towel to cool for 24 hours. Check seals, label, and store.