Easy Blackberry Jam (with no pectin!)

This easy blackberry jam recipe is super simple to make and only requires two ingredients! (No pectin needed!) It can be frozen or water bath canned, to enjoy all throughout the year.

I’ve also included a printable checklist below to help you stay organized and on track while you make this jam.

jar of blackberry jam with spoon in it

Get Ready

Before you start to make your jam, you’re going to want to get all of your equipment assembled and ready to go- you don’t want to leave your jam unsupervised once you start, especially as it gets hotter, because it will scorch.

Equipment you will need:

  • Water bath canner with rack
  • Canning jar lifter
  • Towel
  • Small stockpot (12 quart)
  • Silicone spatula or long-handled spoon
  • Ladle
  • 8 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids
  • Chopstick or bamboo skewer
  • Infrared or candy thermometer

Make sure all of your equipment is clean and set out within easy reach, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Next, you’ll want to get all of your ingredients ready. This list is a little shorter!

Ingredients you will need:

  • 9 cups of blackberries
  • 6 cups of sugar

Since this is a old-fashioned, no-pectin recipe, these two ingredients are all we need!

thumbnail for blackberry jam checklist

Printable Checklist

Here’s a checklist to keep you organized!

Click HERE or on the image above to grab your checklist. Then you can save it to your computer and print for your own personal use. (It directly opens as a PDF file, no need to sign up for it.)

Making Blackberry Jam

Start off by filling up your water bath canner, and start it heating. You want enough water so it will completely cover your jars by 1 to 2 inches when they’re lowered inside, and the water should be simmering by the time the jam is ready to can.

Prepare your jars, by running through your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle. If you don’t have a dishwasher, boil the jars for ten minutes, then keep warm in a pot of hot water until ready to use. (You could even put your jars in the water bath canner to boil and stay hot until you’re ready for them.)

The reason to keep the jars hot until you’re ready to fill them is to minimize risk of cold jars breaking when filled with boiling hot jam.

To make the jam, combine blackberries and sugar in your 12 quart stockpot. Stir together over medium heat, crushing the berries with your spatula or spoon as you stir. This is harder work than it sounds like- your arms will get a workout!

Keep on stirring and crushing. Eventually, the sugar and berries in the pot will go from a pile of sugary berries, to a sugar-y sludge, to more of a liquid. Keep crushing any berries that manage to escape your spoon/spatula.

Your goal is to try and bring the mixture within your pot to a boil. Once you’ve reached that point, keep boiling the jam, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. This can take a while!

Once you feel the mixture begin to thicken under your stirring implement, test to see if gel stage has been reached: you want your jam to be 8°F (4°C) over the boiling temperature of water for your elevation. For our area, that temperature is 220°F. Test the temperature with your infrared or candy thermometer- if it is the proper temperature, then the jam is done.

Another method to test if gel stage has been reached is to dip a cold metal spoon into the boiling jam and see if it “sheets” off of the spoon. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has good information about this.

As soon as you verify that your jam has reached gel stage, remove completely from heat, and move immediately into putting it up.

jars being filled with hot jam

Putting it up

These are your three options for putting up your jam:

1. You can water-bath can it, which will give you jars of shelf-stable jam for your storeroom.

2. You can simply pop it in in the refrigerator, in which case the jam will be good for about 2 to 3 weeks (this method not recommended unless your family eats a lot of jam- can you eat 4 pints of jam in 3 weeks?)

3. Or, you can turn it into a freezer jam (which does not involve canning!). Freezer jam will be good for anywhere between 6 months to 1 year in the freezer. When thawed, it is good for 2-3 weeks when kept in the refrigerator.

jars sitting in water bath canner

Water Bath Canning

To can with a water bath canner, start with retrieving your hot jars, placing them on your towel. Be careful not to burn yourself!

Ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving about 1/4 an inch of headspace (meaning that you shouldn’t fill the jars all the way to the top- stop within 1/4″ of the rim). Don’t worry if you splash some on the sides or rims- just focus on getting the jars filled before the jam sets up on you!

Once all your jars have been filled, use a chopstick or a bamboo skewer to get rid of any air bubbles in the jam.

After that, use a damp paper towel to wipe off your rims- you want them to be clean so the lids will seal properly! You might need to make two passes over the jars to get all the sticky goop off. Then place the lids on top, and screw on the rings just so they’re fingertip-tight.

Place these jars in your rack, and lower them into your water bath canner. Make sure the jars are completely covered with 1 to 2 inches of water over the jar tops.

Bring the water in the canner to a hard boil, and boil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the canner’s lid and turn off the heat. Let the jars stay in the canner for 5 minutes before removing jars, placing them back on your towel (or a clean new one), to cool.

Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours, then label with the contents and date before storing. For best shelf life, store somewhere cool, dark, and out of direct sunlight. Use canned jam within two years.

Once jar of jam has been opened, store in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks. Discard immediately if you notice any mold or odd smells.

Refrigerator Jam

Simply ladle your jam into its containers, secure lids atop the jam, and leave to cool. Once completely cooled, place in the refrigerator.

Use refrigerator jam within 2 weeks of making.

Freezer Jam

For freezer jam, ladle your jam into freezer-safe containers with tight-sealing lids and let cool completely. Store containers in the freezer. Freezer jam can keep up for up to a year, but should be discarded if it begins to taste strange or becomes freezer burned.

When you want to use your freezer jam, pull a container out the day before you plan to use it and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. Thawed blackberry freezer jam will be good for about 2 weeks.

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2 Comments

  1. This looks delicious!
    Could you use an immersion blender to help break down the berries and combine with the sugar?
    Also, can the sugar content be reduced, or replaced with honey or sugar alternative, if making a refrigerator/freezer version?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Megan! I’m not sure about the immersion blender, but if you give it a try, let us know how it goes!
      I’ve used honey plenty of times with low-sugar pectin, but in this particular jam, it relies on a long cook time and high temperature (220 degrees F) to gel.
      I suspect the honey would scorch with all that cooking and high heat needed and throw the flavor off. I’m not positive though – so it might be worth a small test batch to see! 🙂

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