Black raspberry jam is an easy way to preserve the summer blackcap harvest. I like to make this black raspberry jam recipe without pectin, so all you’ll need is fresh fruit and a bit of sugar.
They ripen in stages, and the kids just love hunting through the orchard every day for their bounty. With all their predation, it actually takes me a while to collect up enough for a homemade batch of black raspberry jam.
Without the kids harvesting them, I could likely pick enough in a day for a batch of jam, but I’d never discourage their fun. So I’ll sneak around with a mason jar, picking the black raspberries that are deep in the bushes or two high for their hands to reach.
On average, I can pick about a cup per day.
My black raspberry jam recipe needs about 4 cups, or two pints. So I work for a few days, collecting a bit more in my jar.
I use a special trick to keep them fresh in the meantime. I’ll add 1 cup berries to the jar, then top it with 1/2 cup sugar. That helps to preserve the flavor of the berries, and draws out their juices in anticipation of my homemade blackberry jam.
I store the jar in the fridge, and when I’m ready, all I have to do is pour the contents into the jam pot and get cooking.
I make black raspberry jam without pectin and I’ve never had an issue with it setting properly. All it really needs is the fruit and sugar, but I like to add a tablespoon of lemon juice to bring out the flavor of the berries.
Black raspberries are acidic enough for canning, but adding a bit of lemon just makes their flavor pop in the finished black raspberry jam. In truth, the lemon also adds a bit of pectin to help it set without store-bought powdered pectin.
If you’re having any trouble getting your jam to set, try adding a bit more lemon juice. Or try using my citrus seed pectin technique, which basically extracts natural pectin from lemon seeds. I’ve never needed to with our wild black raspberries, but if you have extra soft cultivated ones they might need a bit of help to come together into a fully set black raspberry jam.
Personally, I don’t mind seeds in my jam. I make a natural blackberry jam (rather than seedless jelly), and I treat my black raspberries the same way.
If you’d like to remove the seeds for a seedless black raspberry jelly, just cook the fruit for a few minutes, mashing occasionally. Then pour them into a jelly bag to strain overnight.
After the fruit has strained, measure the juice. For every cup of black raspberry juice, add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar. I prefer less because I love tasting more of the fresh fruit and less sugar, but many people do use a full cup.
Even with a seedless jelly, you’ll still be able to make this black raspberry preserve come together without added pectin.
- 4 cups black raspberries (2 pints, 1 1/2 lbs, or 3 cups mashed)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Place black raspberries, sugar and lemon juice into a deep saucepan, ensuring you have plenty of headspaces so that it doesn't bubble over.
Turn the heat to medium, and cook the black raspberries, mashing occasionally and stirring frequently.
Once the berries have released their juices, turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly.
The jam should thicken quickly, and you can begin testing for gel stage after 8-10 minutes of cooking.
Test for gel stage using an instant-read thermometer (220 degrees F) or by spooning a small amount onto a plate that's been chilled in the freezer.
Once the jam reaches gel stage, remove from heat immediately and fill jam jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Store in the refrigerator for immediate use, or if canning, process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for an additional 5 minutes before removing to help prevent siphoning.
Allow the jars to cool completely before checking seals and storing.
This is a recipe for black raspberry jam that includes the seeds in the finished jam.
For seedless black raspberry jam, cook the fruit for a few minutes, mashing occasionally. Then pour them into a jelly bag to strain overnight.
After the fruit has strained, measure the juice. For every cup of black raspberry juice, add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 to 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Cook the extracted juice with sugar and lemon juice as directed in the recipe, pouring into jars when it reaches gel stage.
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