When it comes to making jam, the days of torturing my feet with a 12 hour day processing the fruit and making 20 jars of the same jam are over. Now I make jam one jar at a time and as needed or whenever I have a little excess fruit that needs to use before it becomes compost material. Because we eat a lot of berries, we almost always have a jar of Mixed Berry Jam in the refrigerator.
This recipe for the perfect jar of Mixed Berry Jam is one I’ve been working on since last spring. I’ve been looking for the ratio of fruits that yielded the flavor of “mixed berries”. What I mean by that is one of my earlier batches tasted like blueberry jam with a hint of other berries. Another batch, with matching amounts of blueberries and raspberries, tasted like raspberry jam. The recipe I’m sharing with today isn’t dominated by any individual flavor. You’ll be able to taste “hints” of each berry used – a little blueberry, a little raspberry and a little blackberry. If you don’t have blackberries, you can substitute strawberries with the same mixed berry jam result. Both versions are delicious!
Mixed Berry Jam
Yields about 1 pint
Prep and cook time: 30 minutes
Note: This is a refrigerator jam and not intended to be sealed and stored in the pantry. All you need is a very clean jar. Once the jam has cooked to consistency, pour into jar, let cool and refrigerate.
8 ounces blueberries
4 ounces raspberries
8 ounces coarsely chopped strawberries or 8 ounces blackberries
10 ounces (1 ¼ cup) sugar
Juice from half a lemon
- Place a small saucer in the freezer.
- Rinse and weigh the berries. Add to a sauce pan with the lemon and sugar.
- Heat on low, stirring frequently until the sugar has melted.
- Increase the heat to medium and bring the jam to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Bring the jam to a full boil, stirring constantly. A full boil is a boil that cannot be stirred down. You may need to increase your heat level a bit to get there and to sustain the boil while you are stirring.
- Stir constantly at a full boil for 14 to 16 minutes. Test* @ 12 minutes, then cook another minute or two if needed. Skim off any foam remaining on the surface of the jam.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a clean pint jar. Screw on the lid. Let cool, then refrigerate. This jam will keep in the refrigerator until you finish it off, which won’t take long.
* Test – When the jam sheets from the side of a metal spoon (droplets flow together), it’s very close to being ready. Pull the saucer from the freezer and place a drop or two of jam onto the saucer. If the jam spreads out, it’s not done. If it stays where it lands and retains its shape, then it’s done. If it’s not done, return the saucer to the freezer, continue to stir the boiling jam, and try again in 2 minutes.
For this recipe, the ripeness of the fruit doesn’t affect the outcome. (As fruit ripens, its natural pectin content drops.) I’ve used underripe and overripe berries in this recipe with the same results. This is probably due to the fact that berries are not naturally high in pectin to begin with so the level of ripeness has a negligible effect on the pectin level. However, with a little help from a tablespoon of lemon juice and enough sugar, you can still make a jar of jam without adding pectin. I have found that in most fruit jams, a 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar (by weight) is perfect.
Strawberry or blackberry – It doesn’t matter. Bobby and I did a taste test with a batch made with strawberries and one made with blackberries and both batches were delicious. In one batch there was a “hint” of strawberries and in the other, a hint of “blackberries”. The one with the blackberries did have whole blackberries in them which made it a little more difficult to spread the jam on a piece of toast. However, since I love biting into a piece of fruit in a jam it didn’t bother me that the blackberries stayed whole. All of the other fruits cooked down so it was not as easy to distinguish between blueberries and raspberries.
I’ve never made this jam with all four berries, probably because I’ve never had all four at the same time. But no one should limit themselves to just these berries. I would love to have access to boysenberries, Marionberries or dewberries so I could be jamming with them as well. Just pick a blend using the berries available in your area and have fun!
In addition to this Mixed Berry Jam, I also have a couple of other jams you might like as well as a watermelon rind preserve: