Blackberry Lime Jam || Hitchhiking to Heaven

Blackberry Lime Jam with Pomona’s Pectin

The first jam I ever made was plum jam. There were two plum trees in the backyard of the house I was renting and I almost killed myself picking two hundred pounds of plums that year. The thing is, it wasn’t very good jam. As I remember, it was so rubbery you might have bounced it like a ball. But we all need to start somewhere, and I was proud of my first efforts.

This blackberry lime jam was the first good jam I ever made. I don’t use boxed pectin very often these days, but I always begin blackberry season by making a batch of this jam with Pomona’s Pectin. I do it for the love of nostalgia and because I’m grateful to my friend Margaret, who first encouraged me to make jam, convinced me there was nothing to be scared of, and told me about Pomona’s. She didn’t know she was creating a jam-making maniac.

I also make this jam because it’s delicious. I love blackberries or blueberries mixed with lime.

Blackberry Lime Jam with Pomona’s Pectin

4 cups mashed blackberries with half of seeds removed (about 3 1/2 pounds to start)
zest of 3 limes, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cups sugar

3 teaspoons Pomona’s calcium water
3 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

About calcium water. Calcium water is an essential part of Pomona’s Pectin; it activates the pectin powder. The calcium water mix and the pectin powder are both contained in the Pomona’s Pectin box. The box insert explains how to prepare the calcium water before you make your jam. (Don’t worry, it’s easy!)

1. Sterilize your jars.

2. Rinse the blackberries only if necessary. If I’ve picked mine in a field far from any road — which I try to do — or if they’re organic berries from a known source, I don’t rinse them. Doing so waters them down. But if the berries have been subject to car exhaust or pesticides, by all means give them a good rinse.

3. Use a food mill to remove the seeds from half of the berries. Removing seeds is optional, but our California blackberries can be a little crunchy, so I’ve started to do this with all of my wild blackberry jams. To get the maximum pulp from my berries, I let the food mill sit over a bowl while I prepare my other ingredients. Every five minutes or so I scrape the bottom of the food mill with a small silicone spatula and give it another crank.

Important note about pectin! I’ve calculated and tested the amount of Pomona’s Pectin you’ll need for a batch of jam with half the seeds removed. If you include more seeds, you’ll need less pectin — only 2 teaspoons each of calcium water and pectin powder for a full-seed jam. The reverse is also true. If you remove all of the seeds, you’ll need more pectin. Experiment with the seeds if you like, but know that it will affect the set of your jam.

4. Gently mash the remaining berries. If you picked them ripe they’ll already be soft, so you won’t need to do much to them. You can use any number of good mashing tools but, as I’ve confessed a number of times, I like to use my own thoroughly washed paws. You’ll get messy, but you’ll also have the opportunity to pull out any stray stems or unripe bits. I always use my hands with blackberries I’ve picked myself, because they can be full knobby little surprises. (I hate to even mention it, but do be especially vigilant about stray thorns. I once found one of those.)

5. Zest the limes and finely mince the zest.

6. Squeeze the zested limes and set aside 1/4 cup of juice.

7. Measure the sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix the pectin powder into the sugar and set the bowl aside.

8. Add the strained blackberry pulp to the mashed blackberries, then measure 4 cups of the berry mixture into your jam pot.

9. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and calcium water to the berries in your jam pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.

10. Fold in the sugar with the pectin mixed in. Stir the mixture vigorously for 1-2 minutes to dissolve the pectin.

11. Return to the mixture to a boil and remove it from the heat.

12. Ladle the hot jam into your sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Process 10 minutes in a hot-water bath canner. Yields about 6 half pints.

More to come! Our blackberries were slow to arrive this year, but our everywhere bushes — the invasive but delicious Himalayan variety — are busting out with one of the best crops I’ve ever seen. Just this week I’ve picked fifteen pounds. This month I intend to post several blackberry jam recipes, including a basic blackberry jam sans pectin and a refined version of my blackberry mojito jam, with plenty of rum, lime, and mint. Stay tuned!

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  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse July 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    You are so thorough! Blackberry lime is a combination I can embrace–nice idea. I can't wait to see what you do with your tomatoes.

  • Reply Diana July 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I took a jam making class where the teachers raved about Pomona's pectin because it allows you to use less sugar. Pomona's all the way!!!!!

  • Reply meg July 31, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Can't wait till the mojito blackberry jam. Yum! Our invasive blackberries have yet to turn…still really green, but I'm starting to see some changing so it won't be long.
    I can't wait to get hoards of them and freeze them, can them, eat them…love the blackberries!

    (your labels are great too btw!)

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven August 4, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Denise, I love both blackberries and blueberries with lime. If Julia doesn't supply you with some blueberry jam, talk to me. I've got a new blueberry kiwi lime that you may need. :-)

    Diana, yes! In my experience, Pomona's is a great way to start making jam. I often return to it when I want to make something quick that I know I can count on.

    Meg, I am working on that mojito! And thx about the labels. Let's hear it for all us blackberry fanatics. :-)

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse March 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Finally tasting your blueberry kiwi lime jam in a vanilla yogurt — yum!

  • Reply Kris June 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Hi, I was wondering is this a freezer jam or the regular kind? Thanks, and I can’t wait to try this recipe! Kris

  • Reply Shae June 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Kris: It’s the regular kind. The recipe includes directions for processing in a hot-water bath. Though I don’t know of any reason you couldn’t freeze it.

  • Reply Suzanne Codding August 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I had never used Pomona’s and was nervous about it. We absolutely love it! My boys have headed out to get more blackberries. Thank you so much. You made our day!

  • Reply The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice… | Rhubarb Ranch August 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    […] a girl to say?  We made 1.5 batches of blackberry lime jam today and it is something else.  I could probably eat a whole jar of it with a spoon.  Maybe […]

  • Reply MARCH breAK! 2012: Irish Soda Farls, Popping Mustard, and Lime-Berry Jam « The Lunchbox Season March 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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  • Reply Sarah Lowe July 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    This recipe sounds amazing! I don’t have a food mill; would it be okay to replace half the blackberries, with a less seedy fruit like strawberries?

    • Reply Shae July 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      Sarah: It’s so interesting that you would ask this right now, because I’ve been working on blackberry strawberry jam recipes all week long and I really like the two fruits together, in part because the strawberries so nicely smooth out the blackberries. I think what you want to do will work, but I’ve never tried exactly that so I can’t guarantee a perfect set. (The recipe I’m working on now doesn’t use added pectin.) When I have done strawberry jams with Pomona’s in the past, I’ve had some trouble with fruit float. I usually reduce my processing time to 5 minutes (that’s still safe), which seems to help a bit. I can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t try it!

  • Reply julie September 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hi, this my first time to make blackberry jam. When taking out half the seeds… this is what I would do with what I have. I would press (with my hand) the berries through a stainer. So then along with the seeds that fall through what about he juice or berry pulp? Do you then strain the seed pulp juice to get the ecess (minus the seeds)? And the would that be measured with the other cups needed?
    Do you soak the canning lids in hot water to make them seal? And if this isn’t “freezer jam” because it was cooked then why don’t the jars get boiled?
    Thank you,

    • Reply Shae September 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Julie: As I note in the post, I prefer to use a food mill because it avoids the problem of excess pulp that you are concerned about. I don’t see anything wrong with trying it as you describe, but yes, do measure all of the pulp and juice that you collect. It should equal 4 cups.

      All of my recipes are written for hot-water bath canning (boiling), as described, and assume familiarity with the basic steps involved in sterilizing jars and so on. In fact, because this recipe is processed for 10 minutes in the water bath, it isn’t necessary to sterilize the jars first — just clean them. But I usually sterilize anyway; it’s a habit. If you want more information about the steps involved in sterilizing and processing, I recommend the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

  • Reply Discovering the joys of putting food by | Tenth To The Fraser January 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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  • Reply Cherry Rhubarb Jam with Ginger & Honey (No Refined Sugar) « Hitchhiking to Heaven May 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

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  • Reply Kathe Morton May 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    First of all – I love your address! Perfect.

    Your recipes are superb and I will be stealing a few of your ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.


    • Reply Shae May 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Thanks, Kathe! I am happy to share and grateful for all the sources of inspiration that are available to us. Enjoy your canning season!

  • Reply Katie Fawkes June 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Just stumbled across your site while looking up Pomona’s Pectin. LOVE it! I’ll definitely be back. Your blackberry lime jam looks amazing. I thought since you’re a fellow jammer, you might want to know about the giveaway I’m running right now on my blog. I’m giving away a package of Pomona’s Pectin, a copy of the new book Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin, and a set of measuring spoons. Hope you enter!

    Either way, keep up the amazing job. Love this.

    • Reply Shae June 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Thanks, Katie! And thanks for hosting the giveaway. I posted it to Facebook yesterday. :-)

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