Around here, wild blackberries abound. They are thorny, but they’re free! Pull over just about anywhere and you can help yourself to delicious, flavorful berries. To preserve your skin, you’ll to wear long sleeves, but not your favorite shirt because blackberries stain!
We’ve gone the free route many times, but now we we are lucky enough to have both raspberries and blackberries growing in here in my in-laws’ garden. My mother-in-law has given us an entire row of raspberries and half of the blackberries to pick.
In honor of my dad coming to visit this weekend, I wanted to make a razzleberry pie.
What is Razzleberry
I wasn’t quite sure myself until I researched razzleberry pies so that I could make one for my dad’s visit. It turns out that the most popular combination for razzleberry is raspberries and blackberries (wikipedia has my back on that one), though I have seen many berry combinations.
Since we have plenty of both raspberries and blackberries, why stop at pie? We eat a lot more jam around here than pie, so I decided to combine the raspberry and blackberry flavors in jam. And boy am I glad I did! I like razzleberry jam even more than I like either flavor separately.
You will need:
- Raspberries– You’ll need about a quart of raspberries (2.5 cups of crushed berries) per batch
- Blackberries– You’ll need about a quart of blackberries (2.5 cups of berry juice) per batch
- Sugar- You’ll need 7 cups per batch.
- Pectin— For this recipe, we’ll use the original yellow box (NOT the low sugar kind). If you happen to live near an Amish bulk foods store you can buy the powered pectin in bulk for cheaper than you can find anywhere else. The container I have from several years ago was $2.79/lb.
You will get 8-9 cups of jam per batch. We like to can jam in quart jars for our own use (because we use it so fast), but I also use pint jars to give away. Each batch will make 2 quarts or 4 pints with a little extra to put in the fridge to use now.
- Canning jars and rings– You can use quarts, pints, or smaller jam jars. Any decent grocery store should have them. You can always look on craigslist or ask your grandma!
- Flat lids— While canning jars and screw-on rings can be reused, flat lids must be new. You can get them anywhere you can get canning jars. The cheapest place I know of is at an Amish bulk foods store if you’re lucky enough to have one near.
- Canning Utensils–– You could probably make-do without them, but they are really handy.
- Water Bath Canner or Steam Canner— You can actually just use a heavy pot with a lid as long as you can have an inch of boiling water cover the jars. You will want something in the bottom for the jars to sit on so they aren’t in direct contact with the bottom of the pan. You could line the bottom of the pot with the metal rings for canning jars, for example.
Preparing your raspberries is pretty straight-forward. Remove all stem and leaves and wash your berries. Mash or puree berries, depending on how chunky you want your jam. You can mash them with a potato masher or use a blender. I gave them a few seconds in the Blendtec and they were ready to go.
You can use frozen berries. I always wash and freeze my berries after I pick them. I set them out to thaw the morning that I plan to make jam.
For each batch you’ll need 2.5 cups of raspberry puree. As you can see, I did much more since I always do multiple batches.
Blackberries take a little more work. While raspberry seeds are tiny and barely noticeable, blackberry seeds are larger and can be annoying. We use a hand-crank food mill/strainer like this that is perfect for this purpose. My mother-in-law has one that was her mother’s and I found a nearly new one at a yard sale several years ago (the seller had no idea what to do with it, so they gave it to me for $1). I would like to get a berry screen to go with my food strainer/sauce maker sometime.
TIP– Heat the berries either in a saucepan or in the microwave before straining. The juice will come out much more easily when they are hot. The blackberry juice will be much thinner than the raspberry puree. I always re-strain the seedy portion (and sometimes reheat it) to get the most juice possible.
For each batch you’ll need 2.5 cups of blackberry juice.
I make jam in bulk, meaning I do several batches in one canning episode. It’s important to do each batch separately though. I often have two batches going simultaneously in separate pans.
Measure out 7 cups of sugar into a bowl and set it aside. When it’s time to add the sugar, you will need to add it quickly and won’t have time to measure it out a cup at a time. Pus, you’ll need your other hand to stir in the sugar. Make sure to use the correct amount. Reducing the amount of sugar keeps the jam from setting properly.
Mix Berries with Pectin
Measure 2.5 cups of raspberry puree and 2.5 cups of blackberry juice/puree into a large sauce pan or pot. Stir in a box of pectin or (1/3 cup of bulk pectin) making sure to smash any powder lumps.
Bring to Boil
Stir regularly as you bring the berry and pectin mixture to a full rolling boil. If you can’t stir down the boil, then you’re there.
Add Sugar and Stir
Quickly add in sugar and stir well. Continue stirring.
Bring to Rolling Boil
Bring the jam back to a rolling boil that can’t be stirred down easily. When you reach a rolling boil, set a timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, turn off the heat and get ready to ladle the jam into hot jars!
You will want to start some of these steps before or during the jam-making process so that you have hot, sterile jars ready when your jam is done.
Prepare Jars and Flat Lids
Clean your jars in the dishwasher or hot, soapy water even if they already look clean. Turn warm (not cold) jars upside down in an inch or two of boiling water to sterilize the jar and make sure they’re as hot as boiling jam. Adding boiling jam to a cold jar is bad news– trust me!
I either use the bottom of my steam canner (first picture) or just use a regular pan (second picture) to heat my jars.
Put your flat lids in the boiling water as well. Heating them helps soften the rubber seal and sterilizes them. The flat lids should not be re-used. Glass canning jars and metal rings can be used for generations, but you should always use new flat lids.
Using the funnel from your canning tool kit and a regular ladle to pour the jam into your jars. Leave about 1/8 inch headspace (empty space at top of jar), which is nearly full.
Clean Rim, Put on Flat Lids and Rings
Make sure the rim of the jar is clean and free of chips or cracks. Use a wet cloth to wipe off any jam from the rim. Grab a flat lid from the boiling water with the handy magnetic lid lifter from your canning utensils (or try using a fork) and place it on a jar.
Screw a metal band on firmly, but not overly tight. The jar will be too hot to touch, but there’s a tool for that in every kit (see red thingamajig in picture below).
|0 – 1,000 ft
|1,001 – 3,000 ft
|3,001 – 6,000 ft
|Pints (or smaller)
Side note: Can you can quarts of jam?
Well I mentioned earlier that I do can jam in quart jars. Nowadays, they never give a processing time for quarts of jam, but you can find times in older books. My mother-in-law has always done jam in quart jars without a problem, so that’s what I’ve always done and I am perfectly fine with it. I process quarts for about 5 minutes longer than I would pints.
To put it into perspective, when our grandmas canned jam, they didn’t even process it. At all. Just having the hot jam in the jar will make the lid seal, so that was that. My grandma still just turns the jam jars upside down to make they seal. The USDA says that it is effective, there is just more room for error if the jam cools down too much before you get the lid screwed on, so to be safe you should process the jars. For jam, the only real risk is mold, which is easy to detect and not nearly as scary as the potential for botulism if tomatoes or green beans are not processed properly.
If processing quarts makes you nervous, just do pints. [end of side note]
I prefer using a steam canner since it takes less water and is not so big and bulky. In a steam canner, you start timing once the steam coming out the hole is at least the length of a quart jar. You can turn the heat down (so it doesn’t steam like crazy) as long as you still have a steady stream of steam. When the time is up, turn the stove off. Remove the lid by lifting it away from you so you don’t get a face full of steam.
In a water bath canner, water should cover jars by at least an inch. Start timing when the water reaches a vigorous boil. You can turn heat down slightly as long as at least a steady, gentle boil continues throughout the processing time. Keep the canner covered the entire time.
Cool Jars, Remove Rings, Wash Jars
Using the jar lifter from your canning tools (or just a hot pad if you’re using a steam canner), move your jars to the counter. I usually set them on a towel and let them cool overnight in a non-drafty area.
About 24 hours later, remove the rings, wash the jars and check the seal. Pull up lightly on the flat lid with your finger to test the seal. If it pulls off easily, the jar did not seal right. Don’t fret because you can put the jar in the fridge to use now.
All the jars that sealed well can be stored for years in your pantry or any other relatively cool and dark location. Label them with the year and contents so that you can keep your food storage rotated.
Is it worth it?
You’re probably thinking that all sounds like a lot of work, especially if you’ve never canned anything or made homemade jam. It is work and does have a larger clean-up time than your average kitchen project. To make my jam-making (or canning in general) a more efficient process, I always do things in bulk. You will have the same number of dirty dishes if you do 8 batches as you would doing a single batch.
Making your own jam can save money, especially if you grow your own berries or pick them for free. Berries can be expensive to buy, so making your own jam isn’t always cheaper. That being said, homemade jam is much more delicious than store-bought jam and making it yourself is pretty satisfying. With all that sugar, it’s probably not on anyone’s list as nutritious, but compared with all the preservatives that are in store-bought jam you might say that homemade is more nutritious.
- Did you know what was in razzleberry?
- Do you make homemade jam? Is it worth it to you?
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