Jams and Jellies

Berry Jam

Cooking fruit-sugar mixtures concentrates the naturally occurring pectin. To enhance natural pectin content in long-boil jams (no added pectin), prepare recipe using a mixture of 3/4 fully ripe and 1/4 slightly under-ripe fruit. These “long boil” soft spreads require longer cooking periods and a gel test.


  • 9 cups (2250 ml) crushed berries
  • 6 cups (1500 ml) granulated sugar


  • Place 7 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.

  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.

  • Use one or a combination of berries. Wash, dry and crush berries. To remove a portion of or all of the seeds, press berries through a sieve before measuring. Measure berries into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. To reduce foaming, add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine to mixture, if desired.

  • Bring mixture to a boil slowly, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil vigorously until mixture reaches gel stage – about 20 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to avoid over-cooking or scorching.

  • Gel Stage Tests (Remove pot from heat while conducting selected gel test)

  • o Dip cool, metal spoon into jam. Lift spoon moving it away from steam. Gel Stage is reached when mixture sheets off spoon.

  • o Place spoonful of hot mixture on chilled plate; place plate in freezer until cooled. Gel is achieved when product does not run together when separated with spoon.

  • o Cook mixture to 220°F (104°C) or until it reaches a temperature that is 8°F (4°C) above the boiling point of water at your elevation.

  • Quickly ladle jam into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jam. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.

  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.

  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.