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.
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