Tucked away into a low shelf in many grocery stores are cans of berries. Many people never notice them, and even if they did, would they buy them? They are usually very expensive for a small can, that only has a few berries in it. And are packed in a heavy syrup, which simply means a heavier amount of sugar. The berries become too sweet. Blackberries, once ripe, don’t need a lot of sugar. If underripe, well, let them ripen 😉
Have a bumper crop of berries given to you by Mother Nature? Maybe behind your house?
Train your small ones to keep the brambles under control…..
Ever thought of preserving them for winter? By canning them in a simple syrup, you can drain them later and make pies, cobblers and even mixed into yogurt. And you can control the amount of sugar used. PS: Once you get confident in canning, you can pack these berries in hot apple juice even!
And you might make your own special ones happy in winter – with a treat of late summer brought out. Alistaire has been very sad realizing that berry season is nearly done for the year –
Canning need not be time consuming, nor scary. A few simple tools and you can be making small batches of goodies in your kitchen – that you can enjoy ALL year long. Canning is renewable, resourceful and after a few visits to the water bath, more than pays for itself. A simple kit, such as the Ball Discovery Kit, will get you going:
Add in a Ball Canning Utensil Kit:
And a few kitchen towels and canning jars, and you are all set. You don’t even need a dedicated water bath canning pot – and large pot will work. If you do decided you love canning, you needn’t spend a lot. A simple 11½ quart mini-canner from Granite-Ware is all you will need. (Made in the USA as well!)
Just buy quality upfront. Don’t try to save money with off brand jar – buy Ball or Kerr, they are made in the USA. Same with the lids – only buy them. They are BPA free, made in the USA. Off brands are made in China, so you get what you pay for. I see mason jars as an investment. I often give jars away, but mention this “What is the first rule of the Mason Jar Club? You return the jar and band, and you might get refills” 😉 Funny is, I said that to a guy recently and he was “Oh…that is why people quit giving me stuff”. Hahaha!
Cold Pack Sweet Canned Blackberries
- Blackberries, washed and drained (see below for how many)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 5¼ cups water
Wash canning jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and bands, and keep covered.
Fill canning pot or large stockpot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.
Make syrup by combining sugars and water, bring to a boil, either use immediately or keep warm.
Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle ¼ cup hot syrup into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Pack in 1 cup blackberries, gently tap on counter. Add more berries. Pour hot syrup over the top, then run a sterilized chopstick (or a plastic air bubble remover) around the inside of the jar. Top off with more syrup if needed. Leave a ¼” headspace.
Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.
Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process pint jars for 15 minutes, quart jars for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.
Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.
As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard the contents immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) As long as you sterilize the jar, it is fine to reuse later.
The syrup makes about 6½ cups, and is considered a “light syrup”. When canning fruit and berries, you will need 1 to 1½ cups of syrup per quart jar, or ½ to ¾ cup per pint jar. Always hedge on the higher amount being needed, and keep an extra jar or two ready to be used “just in case”. That said, you can expect 4 to 6 quart jars or 8 to 10 pint jars total. Now for the berries, I can fit 1 to 2 cups blackberries per pint, so aim to have 15 cups of berries at minimum. If you have extra berries, no loss, just toss them on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. You can use frozen blackberries later on for eating, baking and even making jams & jellies.
While I can on a glass top stove, I cannot tell you that is a good choice. Many glass top stoves forbid canning in their warranties. This video from Fresh Preserving is helpful, and if you are out of warranty, well…you can be like me 😉