Thursday, January 5, 2012

Black Raspberry Jelly, One of Life's Sweetest Pleasures!

All of my life there has been black raspberry jelly in the cupboards of any home I have lived.  When I was small my grandmother and mother would make many many jars of the beautiful purple spread.  It and apple butter where constants for biscuits, cornbread, toast, or peanut butter sandwiches.  We never bought jams or jelly, that is what city folk did because they were not as blessed with the bounty of fruit we country folks were blessed with.  Occasionally my grandmother and mother might mix it up and make some strawberry jam or peach jam if we had more than the freezer could hold.  There was always black raspberry jelly.  It is as much a part of me as going to church on Sunday morning.  If you have never had that sweet goodness in your mouth, you have truly missed out on one of the best of God's creations.  Just ask my middle youngan, he loves it.  He would eat it three times a day if I would let him.  He has been known to put in on ham sandwiches and if a little escapes from his biscuit he will take his sausage and sop it up, no joke.  After Little Nanny (that is what I called my grandmother) went home to be with the Lord, and my mom became too sick to make jelly any longer, I had to become the family jelly maker.  This tradition could not die.  God blessed me with a property that had wild black raspberry briers all along the edges and an aunt who used to run a berry farm.  So with my Aunt Betty's recipe and my God given berries I embarked on making jelly. 

This year my crop was very small.  So with a tip my aunt gave me, "freeze them until you have enough to make a run of jelly."  I squirrelled away all my berries in the freezer and left them until this week.  They freeze beautifully.  I didn't even wash them.  They are about as organic as you can get, no pesticides, no fertilizers.  I simply picked them and placed them in a gallon freezer bag.
Black Raspberries frozen in summer of 2011.

So after removing the berries from the freezer

I placed the berries in a large pot and poured 1 cup of water on them and let them thaw and warm so that I would be able to rob them of their delicious juice.

 After the berries were thawed and even a little on the warm side I put mashed them through a colander.

Other ingredients you will need:  6 cups of sugar and one box of fruit pectin.  You will also need about 6-8 small jelly jars.

I placed a measuring bowl under the berries to catch the juice.  This helps because you need 4 cups of juice to make the jelly.

If you are a little short of 4 cups of juice, you can make up the difference by adding water.  Does not effect the taste or out come of the jelly at all.  Next I strained the juice through another colander that was lined with paper toweling (I couldn't find my cheesecloth) to take out any stray seeds.
Next you will let the juice come to a full rolling boil and let it boil for 2 minutes.

While you are waiting for the juice to boil, you need to sterilize you jars and lids.  I always wash my jars in the dishwasher so they are really clean and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees to get them warm so they won't crack when you put the hot jelly in them and to kill any germs that could possibly still be on them. 
Clean Jars

Jars Warming in a 200 degree oven

You will need to place seals for you jars in a warm water bath.  DO NOT BOIL THEM!

You can also take this time to start your hot water bath that you will process your jelly in once it is in the jars.
You need to make sure you have something between the bottom of your jelly jars and the bottom of the pot, I have heard of them breaking from getting too hot.  I have just used a dish rag in the bottom before I bought this rack, works just as good.
You can also be getting your sugar measure out and ready to go in.
When the juice has come to a full rolling boil and boiled for 2 minutes, it is time to add the fruit pectin (Sure-Jel).
After add pectin, the juice needs to come back to a full rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes.

Then it is time to add  6 cups of sugar.

Stir the sugar in to the juice until it is completely dissolved.  Then you let it return to a full rolling boil for you guessed it, 2 minutes.

Now it is finally time to put this beautiful molten sugary goodness into jars.  I have pictured a couple of tools that really help in this process.  The one is a special funnel than helps you fill the jars without getting jelly all over the outside of the jar.  The blue one is a magnet on a stick pretty much.  This allows you to retrieve the jar seals out of the hot water without burning your fingers.

    Time to fill the jars.

Ad the seals.

Now the rings and tighten them down as tight as you can.

Into the hot water bath.

Cover and process for 5-10 minutes.
Let the jars cool in a draft free area.  You will hear this crazy ping, ping.  That is your jars sealing.  After 24 hours and they have completely cooled, press on each lid.  If it moves in and out, the jar did not seal.  This jar will need to go in the fridge to be used over the next couple of weeks.  Those that did seal are shelf stable for a year to eighteen months.
Now for the best part!!!! Bake you up a big old pan of biscuits (by the way, I already shown you how to do that), and ENJOY!!!


  1. Oooh-wee! That sure does look yummy! I was fortunate to grow up in the kitchen with my mama and my mammaw learning to can. Last summer I tried canning some grape jelly because when I was a little girl my daddy started a grapevine and now that I'm 40, it's grown to be quite large. I messed it up and let it boil way too long--ended up have fruit roll-ups in jars instead of jelly!

  2. Your crop of berries looks beautiful! I'd give anything to be able to grow that in my yard. It's next to impossible with out Florida heat :( Great job on the canning. My mom's family all live in KY and they all know how to can veggies...just got a handmade jar of salsa for Christmas.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Sorry about that broken wrist...I can relate. I hate the ice!

    Take care!

  3. This looks so delicious! I planted some raspberry bushes but so far the crop is very small :-). have bookmarked your post for when have more.
    thanks for posting at my blog

  4. <3 from your newest follower! SO excited for this post, my oldest son (age 4) is allergic to strawberries and I've been wanting to try my hand at canning! Now I can follow yours! Thanks for sharing! Please follow my {brand-new} blog!

  5. I would like to try some canning this year! Returning the follow from Happy Hour, thanks for dropping by!

  6. OH YUM! this looks so tasty! I wish we had those yum, yum berries here in Alberta! :)

    I love your blog, lady, I absolutely love the way you write. I can imagine your voice in my mind, sittin' across the kitchen table...:)

  7. Tasty! I have never canned before but may try it this summer. We have a strawberry, blackberry and raspberry farm 5 minutes down the road. Thanks for linking to Fabulous Friday.

  8. What a great tutorial. Made me get a craving for some black raspberry jam too. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing this fantastic tutorial on The Country Homemaker Hop and I look forward to reading more posts.

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  10. I've really enjoyed looking through some of your posts! This looks yummy! I wish I canned. I always say I'm going to give it a whirl. Maybe now I'll finally do it! :)

    I'm your newest follower! Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a sweet comment!

    Emily @