Zesty Wild BB Jam

In my baking classes I usually have on hand some of my home made jam to put on some of the freshly baked gluten free bread I've made. Jam is normally gluten free but I'm putting my recipes on the website as someone in my last class asked whether they could have the recipe.

Most of the time the blackberry bushes on our place are dug up, pulled out & burnt. We try to get them all, well, all except for that one area that is the blackberry jam patch.  


Blackberries (mine were wild)

Caster sugar = to the weight of the blackberries

and water (approx. 1/4 - 1/3 of the weight of the blackberries)

Zest from 1 lemon for every 1 kg of blackberries


juice from ~1/8 lemon for every 1 kg of blackberries - it's essentially a squeeze


Water - Blackberries have high concentrations of pectin (it's needed for setting jam) and contain less water than strawberries. How much water do I add? It really depends on how thick you want the jam & the season. This year was really dry so for every 750 g of blackberries I put in 250 g of water. When there is plenty of water available I might put 250 g of water for every 1 kg of blackberries. 


You will also need jars

1 jar per ~250 g of blackberries

I use empty 370 g Bonne Maman jam jars


empty 320 g Meredith Dairy marinated goat cheese jars


If you are looking at the amount of sugar & are;

  • freaking out
  • contemplating not putting in that much
  • are going to change it for a different sweetener 

All I can say is that's up to you BUT it won't cook the same way or taste the same.

Sugar acts as a natural preservative when it is at a concentration greater or equal to 50%. Have you ever seen sweet snack balls for sale that are preservative free & contain no added sugar - the ones that I've had a look at in the supermarket have so many dried dates/cranberries in them that the sugar content is above 50%. One of those little 50 g balls would give you a 25 g (~5 tsp) sugar hit (& maybe 7 g of fibre :) ). 


Turn oven on to 100 C. Find some clean jars with a metal lid. Take off the lid & put both jar & lid in the oven. If you have a jam funnel put it in the oven as well. Jam funnels make it so much easier getting the boiling hot sticky jam into the jars. The jars need to be at 100 C for at least 20 mins. 

I usually wash the blackberries as there can be other seeds, grubs & other insects. 

Transfer to a large, high sided, heavy based saucepan. The blackberry/sugar mixture will expand approx. 3 x when boiling. 

Add in the caster sugar, water, lemon zest & squeeze of lemon. Stir the sugar in & let the mixture sit for a while. A lot of the blackberry juices will come out & start to dissolve the sugar. 

Stir the blackberry/sugar mixture - there should be a lot of liquid. If there isn't you can either let it sit for a little longer or put the saucepan over a very gentle heat. 

Transfer saucepan to a low heat. We want the sugar to be completely dissolved before the mixture starts boiling. When the sugar is completely dissolved turn up the heat. As it begins to boil stir the mixture. I time my jam when the mixture is still boiling even though I'm stirring it & the mixture has started rising in the saucepan. 

Times for boiling are guidelines only - my family loves runny blackberry jam (it is so much easier to spread). I stir the jam quite often to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. 

  • 250 g - 5 mins
  • 500 g - 10 mins
  • 700 g - 12 mins
  • 1 kg - 14 mins
  • 1.25 kg - 16 mins

Turn off the heat, let the bubbles subside. 

Place a cooling rack on the bench next to the saucepan. Using oven mitts transfer the jars & lids to the cooling rack. 

Carefully pour the hot jam into the jars. Carefully put the lid on & close it. 

Wait for the filled jars to cool before moving them. Label them with the name of the jam & the date.