We just ran out of homemade jam. It is quite a terrible thing and I'm wondering if I should bust out the frozen berries to make more jam.
Last summer we didn't do as much canning as we normally do because we were out of town for almost a month during prime canning season. This year, I'm sure I'll more than make up for it, but I wanted to let you all know about my favorite jam that I've come up with so far. It's a fantastic mix of blackberries, spices and complex flavors.
When I made this last year, I was trying to figure out what additional flavors would go well with blackberry and decided to give fresh ground black pepper and barrel aged rum a try. I was not at all disappointed.
Blackberry, Aged Rum and Black Pepper Jam
5 cups packed (not crushed) blackberries, preferably organic
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 package Ball (or SureJell) natural fruit pectin
7 cups sugar
1/3 cup aged rum*
Makes 9 half-pints.
Rinse and measure blackberries and add them to a large, non-reactive pot. In the meantime, sterilize 9 half-pint canning jars and lids in a water bath canner.
Heat the berries over high, adding in the grated lemon peel and blending. As the berries start to reduce, freshly grind in about 2 teaspoons black pepper on a medium or coarse grind. As the berries further reduce, gradually stir in the fruit pectin.
Bring mixture to a full boil until it cannot be stirred down. Add the entire amount of sugar and stir. Return to full boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Immediately take mixture off the heat and add in the rum. Stir until the rum is well incorporated and the alcohol is cooked off from the residual heat (it will reboil when you add in the rum).
Fill your canning jars with jam, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Apply lids and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude as per the instructions that come with your pectin).
Remove jars and allow to cool for 12 - 24 hours and store. Assuming you don't eat it all as soon as it's cool.
*For the rum, I used Barbancourt Rhum Reserve Speciale, aged 8 years in oak.
Photo courtesy of Outdoor Blogging