Raspberry Blackberry Vanilla Jam

Is there anything more satisfying than making jam you make from berries you grow yourself?  I don’t think so!  Even if you pick or buy your berries from a local farmer, you are helping that farmer prosper and grow, and I support that 100%, so if you can’t grow them that’s the next best thing.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe that can easily be adapted to just raspberry or blackberry, if you like.  I add vanilla because I love the smooth undertone of the flavor in my jam.

I promise you that making jam is not rocket science!  You do have to be scrupulous in your preparation and in ensuring that all your utensils are spotless and your jars and lids are clean and sterile.  Jars and rings I put in the sterile cycle of my dishwasher about an hour or so before I start making jam, which means they will still be hot when I’m ready to fill them.  Before I begin anything, I clean my sink and countertops thoroughly with dish detergent with a few teaspoons of bleach added to the soapy water.  Rinse everything completely.

Here’s the recipe:

1 box Pectin (this is the dry type, NOT the liquid)

6 cups of berries

7 cups of sugar

1/2 tsp. butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (not flavoring)

Once you measure the berries into a large, non-reactive pan (I used stainless steel), crush them with a potato masher.  Raspberry Blackberry Vanilla Jam edited

Place your mashed berries on the stovetop on high heat and add the powdered pectin and butter.  Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.  I love this part…the color is glorious.  Do use a long handled spoon to stir as this mixture will blister your skin if it pops out on you.Raspberry Blackberry Vanilla Jam edited 3

Cook an additional minute, then add the sugar all at once.  Continue to stir and bring the mixture back up to a full rolling boil.  Once there, set  your timer for exactly one minute and don’t stop stirring.  Meanwhile, place the jar lids into a pan of very hot, but not boiling, water.  Once the minute is up, immediately remove the pot from the heat source, preferably on a folded (old, but clean) towel on your countertop.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Line your hot jars up on the towel covered surface.  Ladle the jam into the jars leaving about a quarter inch of headspace.  Raspberry Blackberry Vanilla Jam edited 4Raspberry Blackberry Vanilla Jam edited 5

Clean the rims of the filled jars thoroughly with a damp paper towel, ensuring that no jam is left on the rims so you get a clean seal.  Cover with the warm lids and screw on the bands tightly.

Place in a canning rack and lower that into rapidly boiling water, making sure you have at least an inch of water over your jars.  Process ten minutes, then remove from the canner.  Remove jars with canning tongs and place on a thick towel on your countertop.  You’ll start hearing them pop and that’s the sweet sound of success!  Your jars have sealed properly!  Leave them alone for about 24 hours, then clean them and store then in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to enjoy.

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