A few weeks ago, I got an email from Deborah saying that her blackberry hedge was ready. Did I want to come pick any? Hah! Silly question, of course I did! So after work on a 100+ degree day, I went to go pick. In about 45 minutes I had 9 pint baskets filled with blackberries and a girlfriend headed to my house to help can. After eating a pint between the two of us and a glass of red wine or two, we decided we were going to go wild and leave all the sugar out of this jam, and oh my goodness, I’m so glad we did. This doesn’t taste like most jams; instead it’s super tart and tastes intensely of berries. I wouldn’t do this with anything but the freshest berries you can get your hands on. I don’t think even stone fruits would hold up well to this version.
As for the technical details, as always with canning, follow the directions for sterilizing and setting up a water bath that I put in my first canning post. To make this a truly sugar free jam, without subbing in artificial sweetners, the only pectin I’ll use is Ball RealFruit Pectin, low or no-sugar needed variety, in the flex batch size. In general, I really love Ball products, since they’re reliable, high quality and very affordable.
No Sugar Blackberry Jam
- 8 cups blackberries
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 6 tbsp pectin
- 8 half pint glass jars with seals and lids
In a large non-reactive pot over medium heat, combine blackberries and water. Stir frequently, mashing the berries with the back of a large spoon, as the mixture comes to a boil. Add pectin and allow to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, while continuing to stir. Pour into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 in head space, and water bath process for 5 minutes.
No, that is not a made up word in my title. It’s one of my projects for the summer and should make excellent Christmas presents. One of my favorite parts of summer is all the amazing produce. Working on a farm, and being a huge fan of the farmers market, I sometimes end up with more than I can eat before it goes bad. That’s when I turn to food preservation, which can mean making jams and pickles, but can encompass a lot of other methods.
One of my favorite methods, and the simplest, is to use alcohol, which brings me back to the title of my post. Rumptopf is a German dish, which involves layers of fresh fruit, topped with sugar and dark rum. As the summer progresses and different fruits come into season, add another layer of fruit, with more sugar and rum. Or, you can buy all the fruit and make it in one go.
I divide this recipe into 4 1-pint jars to give out as presents, but you could be selfish or generous, and put it all in one giant jar, that would hold a half gallon of water. Just use glass, which won’t transfer any flavor or chemicals to the fruit.
- 2 cups (1 pint basket) strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 cups peaches, sliced 1/2 thick, pit removed
- 2 cups blackberries
- 2 cups plums, sliced 1/2 thick, pit removed
- 2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 liter dark rum
- 4 pint glass jars
- Divide strawberries evenly between jars. Sprinkle 2 1/2 tbsp sugar over each layer of strawberries, then cover with rum, about ¼ cup.
- Repeat with each type of fruit, creating layers. At the end, make sure the fruit is completely covered with rum.
- Store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator!), and periodically swirl to help the sugar dissolve. If the fruit floats to the top, occasionally flip to make sure everything is equally saturated with rum. Allow to soak for at least 3 weeks, though the longer the better.
Serve over pound cake, use the fruity rum in cocktails or just have a ridiculously tipsy fruit salad.