Many jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to thicken the fruit mixture. This recipe relies on the natural pectin released by the berries as they cook. Once the jam is cooked, it can be eaten right away, warm on a slice of buttered toast. Rather than processed in a water bath for cupboard storage, this jam is stored in the refrigerator. The hardest part of making this jam is keeping the kids from eating the berries before you get them home from the market. They can each have fun taking a turn at stirring the fruit and sugar before cooking. They can also pick over and rinse the berries, measure the fruit and sugar, and squeeze and measure the lemon juice. With so many berry varieties to choose from, your kids will have fun mixing and matching their favorites.–Leslie Jonath and Ethel Brennan
LC Instant Gratification Note
We’re all for the sense of accomplishment that comes with patiently tending a process and awaiting the eventual outcome. That said, we’re also all for instant gratification if it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the recipe. Enter this lovely little number….
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 2 H
- Makes 2 pint jars or 4 half-pint jars
Special Equipment: candy thermometer and 2 pint or 4 half-pint jars
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Recipe Testers Reviews
This recipe scores high on simplicity and flavor. The directions are straightforward. I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries from our previous year’s summer harvest with great results. The end consistency, after cooking the jam to 220°F, is comparable to that of honey. A pan that is wider vs. deeper always works better when cooking jam, as it allows an even cooking surface. Although the berries break down during the cooking process, some larger pieces do remain. Let the jam cool for 20 to 30 minutes before filling the jars so the remaining fruit does not all float to the top.The jam will also continue to thicken over the weeks and months ahead. Due to a lack of space in my fridge, I processed this jam in a water bath for 15 minutes to seal the jars for shelf storage. I sterilized the jars, lids, and rings in boiling water while the jam was cooking and cooling.
We are still in winter mode in the cold north, despite the recent spring equinox. Hence I resorted to using up some of my frozen berries from the previous season. I used a mixture of blueberries, blackberries. and a handful of strawberries. I boiled the jam mixture on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes to reduce the water, then I reduced the heat to a simmer and cooked it for an additional 40 minutes. It made a delicious berry jam. It was a tad sweet for my taste, so I added a splash of lemon juice to balance the sweetness and voila, I had a delicious confiture in my possession. It made about 3 cups.
This was an easy jam to make and I liked that it doesn’t require pectin and that you can store it in the fridge. My family loved this jam. I chose strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, since those looked best in my local market. I can’t wait to try this recipe using freshly picked berries, as I’m sure it’ll be even better, if that’s possible. Since I didn’t have a candy thermometer, I used the frozen plate option to test the jam for readiness. The jam was perfectly cooked at the suggested time of 1 1/2 hours. Even though this takes a while to cook, it’s well worth the wait, and you can busy yourself in the kitchen preparing other things while it cooks, just giving it an occasional stir and checking how it’s progressing. I only made a half recipe, which worked great, as I ended up with two not-quite-full pint jars. I had a jar to keep and one to send home with my daughter. Next time I’m sure I’ll make a whole recipe since it was such a hit at our house. I’ll be using this recipe often this summer, I’m sure.
This jam came together beautifully and produced a luscious berry flavor that is great on toast or a PBJ. I used 2 pints blueberries, 2 pints blackberries, 1 pint raspberries, and 5 large strawberries to make up the 2 1/2 pounds fruit. Note that this jam only produced 1 pint and a little more than 1 half-pint jam. I would double the recipe next time so I have a larger batch.
I have never tried making jam before, and this recipe seemed like a good place to start. I was right. It came out wonderful on my first try. My only real complaint is that it is a little too sweet for my taste. I would really like to try this again when cranberries are in season and add them to the berry mixture for some extra tartness.
When I made this, my 2 1/2 pounds mixed berries consisted of blueberries, Blackberries, and strawberries, as those were what was available in my market. My batch of jam had to simmer for about an hour and 45 minutes before it reached 220°F (104°C) and set up properly. I used only 5 half-pint jars in the end, and ended up with 4 and 1/2 cups of jam.
I believe this may be the easiest jam I have ever made. This was simple as can be and the final result was absolutely adored by my family, especially by my toddler, who has been enjoying it every morning. I was able only to fill two 1-pint jars. I think next time I make it I will add a tad less sugar, as we are not crazy sweet tooths. But the addition of the lemon did help give a tad bit of tartness to it.