Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canning Blackberries

Before I left Powell River for a trip to the States, I picked a big batch of blackberries. Almost everywhere you look within a kilometre of the chuck (ocean) you'll find vines growing in logging slashes, along road cuts and even on empty lots in town.

I wanted to save a bit of the blackberry season to enjoy this winter, especially for some winter blackberry pancakes. I used the books Stocking Up by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming and the Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook as guides.

Raw Pack Canned Blackberries

Pick as many ripe berries as you want to preserve. Wash and drain the berries in a colander. Fill canning jars to ½ inch of the top, gently shaking the berries down to remove empty spaces. The berries will shrink during processing. Cover the berries with boiling syrup (medium recommended) to ½ inch of the top. Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic spoon or spatula. Wipe the rims and cover with snap lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath, 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts. I used half-pint jars (a better serving size for us) but went ahead and used the 10-minute process time.

Sugar Syrup for Canning

Thin: 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water yields 5 cups

Medium: 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water yields 5½ cups

Heavy: 4¾ cups sugar and 4 cups water yields 6½ cups

You need about 1 to 1½ cups of syrup for each quart of fruit. Medium syrup retains best colour and shape of fruits. You can replace up to half of the sugar with light corn syrup or mild flavoured honey, if desired. Heat sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves.

New to canning, I'm still a bit afraid of spoilage. I've stuck to fruits and pickles that can be processed in boiling water baths. These foods are more resident to bacterial growth and deadly botulism. Even so, I have been very careful to sterilize and follow processing guidelines.

How has your canning gone this year? I’d love to hear about your favourite items to can and preserve? Do you use a pressure cooker? Is it difficult? -- Margy

9 comments:

  1. This might be the motivation I need to actually go out to the forest and collect the blackberries we have...I'm not sure, though. The heron on her berm is calling me. I love to watch her!
    As a retired teacher I am wallowing between not feeling useful (creating a classroom community) and glorying in being retired!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I should go check on the blackberries on the backside of our little lake,maybe I could reach enough to male a pie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I'm not an expert but have done it off and on over time. Recently picked it up again because I got boxes of free apples. I enlisted my sister to help peel and cut into slices. We made over 60, yes sixty! Quarts It took a couple of days. I used an apple pie filling recipe so now just open a jar and pour in crust top and bake or it makes a great apple crisp. also did apple butter. Now I am looking for blackberry ideas got fresh blackberries from the market for 67 cents a pint.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Back in Ohio we are canning applesauce right now. Peaches much earlier.. The Peach Butter turned out the best so far

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mmm, all those wild blackberries growing everywhere! My niece (at the coast) was just talking about them today.
    I get homesick when anyone mentions "the chuck" or "the saltchuck" because it is SO much a BC kind of thing.
    -- K

    ReplyDelete
  6. PS -- I couldn't help but notice Joe Todd's comment just ahead of mine. Peach butter!! My goodness. So I e-mailed him. I have a friend in the Okanagan who grows peaches and is a fabulous cook.
    Sigh.
    K

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks heavenly! (I don't know if I'd manage to save any for canning though.) I've never tried canning anything but two of my friends have. One in Torrance cans everything and anything - her own peaches, nectarines, plums, and more. Her plum jams is excellent - just the right blend of tart and sweet. The other friend has canned plums from her own tree also. Hers came out not as flavorful, but I don't know what the difference was - the receipe or the fruit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Blackberries are my absolute favorite! I am always counting down the days until I can pick them again. I used my water bath canner this year and was able to make about 10 jars.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The tree farm is covered in blackberries, but the bears seem to be us to them! I love blackberry jam but I'm afraid I have to make it the seedless type! It all looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete