A few weeks ago, I went to the Northside Farmers' Market and brought home some beautiful fresh blackberries. I love to cook, but most of the fresh fruit that I buy goes from hand to mouth far too quickly to be made into anything. No shame there--it's one of nature's best examples of how delicious simple can be! But visions of jewel-toned jars of homemade jam from the market were dancing in my head, and I decided that my blackberries were grown just to be turned into jam.
I had never tried to make jam, so I did a little Googling and found this recipe for blackberry jam at Savory Sweet Life. Like most of the other recipes I read, this one called for a 1:1 ratio of berries to sugar. Unlike most other recipes, this one didn't call for pectin, which I liked because I wanted to keep my jam as simple as possible.
I was also curious to see if I could reduce the amount of sugar in my jam while holding onto the yum factor. Since the berries were so sweet already, I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe by half, and I used just a touch of champagne vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
The jam was so simple to make, and really delicious! The vinegar added just the right amount of tang to counterbalance the sweetness. I enjoyed it so much that I also made a blueberry jam using the same recipe.
Here's the recipe with my changes:
Basic Jam without Pectin
(makes about 1 cup, or 16 servings)
1 cup fresh berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons champagne or apple cider vinegar
- Combine the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until bubbling, stirring often and mashing berries with a spoon. (If you're using blueberries, you may wish to add just a touch of water.)
- When sugar has dissolved, reduce heat and simmer until the jam is almost as thick as you like it. (It will thicken slightly as it cools.) Since we aren't using pectin, you may need to cook your jam for quite awhile if you like it thick!
- Stir in vinegar to taste.