Fresh Blackberry Jam – A Ralph’s Day Score!

See, once a week the boys get to spend the entire afternoon over at my Uncle’s. Why is this so great? Uncle Ralph’s is a place where there are no limits to canned soup, packaged noodles, candy, juice, soda, shopping, ice cream store visits and whatever else comes along. Uncle Ralph also happens to be living in our family stronghold, they moved in to this area in 1946. I grew up in that yard picking plums, oranges, pears, apples, cherries and whatever else we could find. Then we’d march off to the kitchen and Gramma would bake a few pies, preserve some fruit and make pickles rolled up in ham slices.
Time has come and gone, the garden has changed over the years and Gramm is doing such things in a loftier place these days. Even after all this time, with a lot of hard work from Ralph, the yard is producing some amazing goodies this year. One of which would be these fancy blackberries. I showed up to pick up the kidlets and he handed me 8 cups worth. Each one as sweet as the next. Time to make jam.
I’ve never made jam. And since Mama can’t have sugar, this task was even tougher. I don’t know the chemistry of such things, so I had to resort to reading a book, Joy of Cooking.
I washed the berries and put them in a non-reactive pot. Added 2 finely diced apples, cored and peeled. Apparently these berries don’t have much pectin, the stuff that will hold the jam together. Get warm and mooshy. All we had left was about a 1/2 cup of Splenda and off I went. Sorry about the Splenda, sugar isn’t an option. Diabetes ain’t nothing to screw with, not even once.
Here’s the killer, sugar will thicken the jam. Splenda will not. So, I had to just cook it until I thought it was ‘together’, whatever that meant. It probably took me most of an hour and I called it done.

I did not preserve the jam, it’s fresh and we’ll consume it quickly. Since the berries were perfectly sweet, the missed refined sugar really isn’t. I don’t know if the apples did anything, but who cares. The results are absolutely wonderful and I’m very happy with myself. Yipppeeee!

21 thoughts on “Fresh Blackberry Jam – A Ralph’s Day Score!

  1. Biggles, Baby, this recipe was designed for ME! I am forbidden sugar also and you went ahead and experimented with perfect results. Doesn’t the apple add pectin? I don’t know the chemistry foo of such things.
    But, you definitely have Foo Jam! Tell Uncle Ralph I said “Hello” and I am glad his garden is still “Still Growing!”

  2. Based on the photos alone, I’d say a fine first effort. I often forget how blessed I am to live in Oregon; a state which produces some wonderful berries of all varieties. YUMMY!
    BTW–Do you like people posting recipes? I made some yummy smoked tri-tip sandwiches with homemade spicy tomato chutney last night for dinner. Fresh mozzarella, basil, sweet onion, all piled high on some bread from COSTCO with whole cloves of garlic baked into it. Drizzled the cut side of the bread with a little olive oil and toasted it on the grill.

  3. Hey Kevin,
    I haven’t, but my wife has done such things. She can whip up the appropriate dough in no time. I really need to get my jumpy butt simmered down long enough to get a pie dough together.

  4. Hey Babs,
    Yeah, the apples are supposed to add pectin. In some apples I can actually SEE the pectin, but not with these granny smiths. I’m sure it added something nice.
    Ralph says Hi right back at ya.

  5. Hey Chandler,
    Oh man, Oregonian berries are fricken amazing. I also had some amazing peaches while I was touring about many moons ago. Not sure where they came from though. I remember sitting in the back of the rambler wagon chomping on the juiciest darned thing EVER.
    I say, bring on the recipes. I’m ready.

  6. Fine lookin’ jam, Dr B. I’m thinking that I might try doing the same thing the next time my (diabetic) grandmother visits for breakfast. Or for myself – though I might have to skip out on the Splenda in that case!

  7. Hey Nic,
    The splenda taste didn’t come through while it was fresh and warm. But a few days later and right out of the fridge, there it was. Dull metal kinda tasting. That was disapointing considering I only used a half cup to 8 cups of berries. AND considering the fricken quality of the berries. Sigh.

  8. Diabetic here. Sounds yummy. Only one REALLY important thing missing….what do you put it on that won’t mess up bloodsugar as bad as if you’d used regular ol’, full of sugar, store bought jam?

  9. Hey Cyndie,
    2 things come to mind immediately. First is a spoon (I’m not being funny, although it does look as though I am, huh?) and the second would be Rye-Krisp cracker. My wife uses both of those methods with great success. Sure it’s not like a toasted, buttered slab of sour dough. But considering the love contained within the jam, it does just fine.

  10. Have you played with Stevia yet? It really tastes pretty good, I’ve been having good luck with it. I also blogged about something called ZSweet this week that I haven’t had a chance to play with yet. Splenda gave me a headache.

  11. Hey Pragmatic,
    Haven’t done the stevia yit. I used the baking splenda and apparently it actually has sugar in it.
    I’m a little leary at this point. I should have done a half batch with these berries. I don’t want to use such precious berries for experiments. We’ll see, hey.

  12. Hey dude:
    I can’t believe I found this site. Glad Uncle Ralph is as he ever was and worried about the gangs in his ‘hood. I can vouch for his awesome stew. Between that and Doc’s dad’s drunken spaghetti, Sundays were always a treat.
    w/r/t Splenda, after taking both nutrition and chemistry courses (yes, I’m pursuing a degree in that vein), I cannot discern the exact chemical structure of it, other than it is a mono-saccharide. Exact structures are basically state secrets b/c of the competition in this arena until patents are obtained.
    Love to you and the family.

  13. Hi there,
    My husband is diabetic and last weekend we picked lots of blackberries. I was very interested in your blackberry jam recipe but you don’t mention quantities. Could you please email me the recipe since I wasn’t able to find it anywhere in the site?

  14. Please send me the qualities and quanities of
    the blackberry jam recipe. Anymore ideas on
    thickening. I sometimes mash em up , drain some
    juice and slap it on some toast. I don’t like
    standing over a stove a cooking…closest to real
    is best for me. Help!
    thanks, enjoy your site.

  15. Hey everyone,
    I used Joy of Cooking, one of the older versions. I don’t remember anything about the recipe and haven’t done it since. Sad, yet true.

  16. I was looking for a way to make a small batch of blackberry jam, thenks for the great idea!
    By the way, there is a product called Whey Low available on line. It is awesome! No after taste, perfect for diabetics (of course you need to always check things out for your particular body needs), or people who can’t tolerate sugar after gastric bypass surgery etc. It really tastes like sugar, cooks like sugar. Hope this helps…good luck to all!

  17. Hey! Glad to hear about the Whey Low…Dairy whey comes in high protein and low protein version and you seem to be using the low protein version…lactose. Anyone else tried this sweetner?