How To Make Blackberry Jam? I Did It My Way
On April 11th of this year, I became a home owner! It was a very rewarding goal that I have worked hard to achieve for years. After getting all settled in and looking around our property, we discovered a plethora of blackberries on and around our property. The back two sides of our home are wooded areas, and in these woods are an abundance of blackberry bushes! woohoo. Actually, I wasn’t even sure what type of berries they were. I assumed they were either blackberries or boysenberries, but after doing some internet research, I discovered they were indeed blackberries. So for days, hubby has been picking them and saving them for me to make blackberry jam. It is still early in the season, so not all of the berries were what I would consider ripe, and some of them have a little bitter taste to them. I have never made any type of jam before, so off to the internet I went to learn. I found out that all you need is the berries and sugar. (no pectin is needed).
Many of the sites I found recommend mashing, straining, and cooking for long periods of time, then boiling the jars, etc, etc, etc. What!? I don’t have time for all that and I figured the jam wouldn’t last that long to have to worry about making sure the canning lid was sealed or not. After all, this was my own experiment, and I rarely follow directions. I guess you could say I am non- conformist, so I’ll do it my way and see what happens.
I started with approximately 1 cup of wild blackberries, and 1/2 cup of organic sugar. Then I simply mashed the berries in a sauce pan and simmered on low heat for about a half hour. I added sugar to taste, and voila! Blackberry jam!
We ended up little over half a jar – Not bad for about an hour of wild blackberry pickin’. Well, I didn’t actually pick any of the berries, I had my hubby do the hard part. Blackberry bushes after all, are loaded with thorns!
Health benefits of blackberries
- As in other kinds of bush berries, blackberries too are packed with numerous plant nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and dietary fibers that are essential for optimum health.
- The berries are very low in calories. 100 g provide just 43 calories. Nonetheless, they are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber (100 g whole berries consist of 5.3 g or 14% RDA of fiber). Xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute in the fruit fiber, absorbs more slowly than glucose inside the gut, and thus does not cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- Blackberries compose significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals such asanthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannin), quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. Scientific studies show that these antioxidant compounds may have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
- Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g of berries contain 23 mg or 35% of RDA), which is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation, and scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body.
- They contain adequate levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K (16% of RDA/100 g) and in addition; they are rich in much other health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such aslutein, zea-xanthin, and ß-carotene in small amounts. Altogether, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
- Blackberries have an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measure of anti-oxidant strength) of about 5347µmol TE per 100 grams.
- Further, blackberries contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Copper is required in the bone metabolism as well as in production of white and red blood cells.
- They contain moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of pyridoxine, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.