Easy Blackberry Jam Recipe without Pectin

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How to make my grandma's old-fashioned blackberry jam recipe without pectin. It's perfect for freezing or canning. Delicious and easy batch with just 3 ingredients, including blackberries and sugar!

Blackberry jam is one of our favorite homemade jams to make and eat; my boys love jam with breakfast. While my favorite strawberry jam recipe uses pectin, this is a recipe for blackberry jam without pectin.

Actually, while blackberries can be expensive, I think it actually saves money to make homemade jam versus buying store bought. The healthier store bought jams without high fructose corn syrup are usually very pricey.

That and you only get 1 jar of jam for that expensive price tag vs. a whole batch of jam out of a relatively small batch of blackberries. When I make this blackberry jam recipe no pectin, I usually get 8 to 10 half pint jars. That's a lot of blackberry jam for my buck.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • You can use fresh or frozen blackberries for this recipe. While picking blackberries would be more ideal and probably more affordable (especially if you have your own bushes), frozen berries work just fine.
  • This recipe is actually adapted from my grandma's recipe for strawberry preserves. I changed the ingredients and the instructions just a bit, but basically, it's Grandma's recipe, minus a few steps. And Grandma's jam was always good.
  • It's easy to make.
  • It's a very simple recipe with only 3 ingredients, including blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. That's it!
  • You don't need pectin, which brings me to my next point…
blackberry freezer jam on toast on white plate

What Is Pectin and Why Make Blackberry Jam without It?

Pectin is a natural starch that's naturally present in fruits and berries, some more so than others. When pectin is heated, it helps to helps to thicken jam and give it that jelly like texture.

Rather than use store bought pectin, which is heavily processed, this recipe allows you to use that natural pectin by cooking the berries down in a step-by-step process, that together with a resting time, allows the natural pectin already in the berries to thicken the jam.

Apples are another really great source of pectin, which is one reason I also love to make apple jelly without pectin.

Ingredients and Substitutions Notes:

When I found Grandma's recipe, I was curious about the difference between blackberry jam and blackberry preserves. How Stuff Works explains the difference really well.

  • Fresh Blackberries – While you can use thawed frozen berries, fresh blackberries give the best results with this blackberry jam no pectin. If you don't have your own blackberry bushes, you can usually find them at local farmers' markets; or you might even have a local u-pick patch where you can go pick berries. My mom and I used to actually drive dirt roads in our area, scouting out blackberry bushes, when I was a kid; it was a great way to pick a couple buckets of free and otherwise unpicked blackberries for jams and eating.
  • Cane Sugar – You can also use granulated sugar. If you want to make this with an alternative sugar, you can try using things like Splenda, Monk Fruit, or Truvia; however, keep in mind that amounts may vary per the substitution amount and instructions for the particular sweetener you choose.
  • Lemon Juice – This is especially needed if you plan on canning the jam you make. To avoid bacteria, it's best to use a commercially bottled lemon juice; I prefer to use this lemon juice when I can't use fresh.
blackberry jam without pectin in half pint jars

How to Make Blackberry Jam without Pectin

Before you get started, you'll need to prep your jars, as well as the lids and bands. Make sure everything is clean and dry.

Also, be sure to wash the blackberries beforehand, especially if you're using fresh berries.

Crush and Prepare the Blackberries

You can make the choice of whether to crush the berries with a potato masher, leaving a few chunks in the finished jam; or you can actually purée the blackberries using a blender or food processor.

While normally I like to leave a few chunks in my jam, this time I decided to purée the berries in my blender for 2-3 minutes.

blackberry puree in Ninja blender for blackberry jam recipe

Note: If you're using frozen berries, you may want to let them thaw for just a bit before you try to purée them.

How to Cook Blackberry Jam without Pectin

  1. In a larger stock pot, mix together the crushed blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice.
  2. Heat on low to medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly so it doesn't scorch.
  3. Boil the mixture for a good 20 to 24 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula. The sugar should all dissolve in the boiling process.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it set a few minutes.
  5. If you have any foam on top, you'll want to skim that off; my foam all dissipated in the cooking process, so this step wasn't needed.

Now a note: Your jam will seem more like syrup at this point. Please don't be discouraged, because it's a bit like magic from here on. 

Allow the Jam to Rest and Thicken

  1. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 cake pan, and let it stand until it cools, 3+ hours. Grandma suggests 12 hours, but I let mine sit for probably around 6-ish hours, and it was ready.
recipe for blackberry jam without pectin setting in cake pan
  1. As it cools, it will begin to set and jell. Before you know it, you have the thick consistency of jam; it feels like magic, but it's actually a combination of the natural pectin in the berries and the cooling process that does the work of thickening or setting the jam.

How to Properly Store Blackberry Jam

At this point, you can decide if you want to can it or freeze it. Simply Rebekah has a really good explanation of the difference between cooked jam and freezer jam.

Sometimes I've canned it, because it will keep even longer in the pantry, up to a year. Sometimes I make it into blackberry freezer jam just because it's easier. It will keep for 3-6 months in the freezer.

Canning Blackberry Jam

  1. Wash half-pint jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse, and keep warm. We like to place ours on a baking sheet in a lower temp oven to stay hot.
  2. Using a jar funnel, ladle or pour the jam into the hot jars. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar.
  3. Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  4. Then place the hot jars down in a boiling hot water bath canner with 1-2 inches of water over the jars, and process those jars in the hot water bath for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the jars from the oven, and allow them to rest for at least 24 hours, but be sure to check every lid to make sure it's sealed shortly after canning.
  6. Before moving to the pantry, remove the bands and write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it. There are plenty of options for pretty jar labels for jam, and you can even turn your home canned blackberry jam into holiday gifts or hostess gifts.
adding blackberry jam to jars with canning funnel

Freezing Blackberry Jam

  1. Using a jar funnel, ladle or pour the jam into the clean jars. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.
  2. Wipe the top of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  3. Before you put your jam in the freezer, be sure to write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.
blackberry jam without pectin in half pint jar with small wooden spoon

And that’s really all there is to it. This blackberry jam is so simple and easy, and it tastes so good on biscuits, blackberry strawberry muffins, toast, homemade angel food cake, butterhorn dinner rolls, and especially old fashioned homemade ice cream!

blackberry preserves or blackberry jam on toast for breakfast

Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's

Do you need to remove the seeds from blackberries for jam?

If you want a smoother consistency and texture to your jam, then yes, you can remove the seeds using a food mill; or you can strain out the seeds while pouring the cooked jam into the cake pan. However, you don't need to remove the seeds in order to make this easy blackberry jam. In fact, the seeds actually contain natural pectin.

Can I use frozen blackberries?

While fresh are better, yes, you can use frozen blackberries. Just be sure to thaw them ahead of time, so they don't add unnecessary liquid to the mixture.

easy recipe for blackberry jam in half pint jelly jars

More Jam, Jelly, and Sauce Recipes You May Enjoy:

If you love this no pectin blackberry jam, you'll love these delicious fruit spreads too…

If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And subscribe to my email list too!

How to make my grandma's old-fashioned blackberry jam recipe without pectin. It's perfect for freezing or canning. Delicious and easy batch with just 3 ingredients, including blackberries and sugar!

Blackberry Jam Recipe without Pectin

How to make Grandma's old-fashioned blackberry jam recipe without pectin. Perfect for freezing or canning. Easy batch with just 3 ingredients!
4.53 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: jams and jellies
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 half pints
Calories: 625kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Prep your jars, as well as the lids and bands. Make sure everything is clean and dry.
  • Wash and rinse your berries, especially if they're fresh berries. Pat dry.
  • Purée or crush the berries, using a blender, potato masher, or food processor, for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • In a stock pot, mix together the crushed blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. 
  • Heat the mixture on low to medium heat, and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly with a spatula, so it doesn't scorch.
  • Boil the mixture for a good 20 to 24 minutes, stirring constantly. The sugar should all dissolve in the boiling process. 
  • Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it set a few minutes. 
  • If you have any foam on top, you'll want to skim that off; this may or may not be necessary.
  • Note: Your jam will seem more like syrup at this point. Please don't be discouraged, because it works a little bit like magic from here on.
  • Pour the mixture into a 9×13 cake pan, and let it stand until it cools, 3+ hours. As it cools, it will begin to set and jell. Before you know it, you'll have the thick consistency of jam; it feels like magic, but it's actually a combination of the natural pectin in the berries and the cooling process that does the work of thickening or setting the jam.

Canning Blackberry Jam:

  • Wash half-pint jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse, and keep warm. We like to place ours on a baking sheet in a lower temp oven to stay hot.
  • Using a jar funnel, ladle or pour the jam into the hot jars. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar.
  • Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  • Then place the hot jars down in a boiling hot water bath canner with 1-2 inches of water over the jars, and process those jars in the hot water bath for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the jars from the oven, and allow them to rest for at least 24 hours, but be sure to check every lid to make sure it's sealed shortly after canning.
  • Before moving to the pantry, remove the bands and write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.

Freezing Blackberry Jam:

  • Using a jar funnel, ladle or pour the jam into the clean jars. Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.
  • Wipe the top of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
  • Before you put your jam in the freezer, be sure to write what it is and the year on the lid, so you know when you made it.
  • Serve the jam on toast, biscuits, ice cream, etc.

Notes

While fresh are better, you can use frozen blackberries. Just be sure to thaw them ahead of time, so they don't add unnecessary liquid to the mixture and they're easier to crush. 

Nutrition

Serving: 8half pints | Calories: 625kcal | Carbohydrates: 160g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 155g | Vitamin A: 231IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
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53 thoughts on “Easy Blackberry Jam Recipe without Pectin”

    • Hey Delores, I don’t think that would be a problem. I’ve done some quick research, and most recipes seem to recommend adding 2 minced jalapenos for every 5 half-pint jars of jam. You should be able to can or freeze as normal. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  1. I would like to make this recipe and can my jam. I am not finding the recipe for this process?

    How long should I keep jars of jam in the bath water? please reply to my email.

    Sincerly,
    Rebecca

    Reply
    • Hey Rebecca, I’ve only frozen this jam. I’ve done some online research, and most of what I have found for blackberry jam without pectin states to let it sit, at a rolling boil, in a water bath for 10 minutes. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. I boiled the sugar with puréed berries for 22 minutes and it got way too thick. I had trouble getting it out of the cake pan to throw away.
    Maybe that was too long?

    Reply
  3. Hello! The recipe was amazing. The Jan turned out yummy. I did have one question though. If you decided to can instead of freeze how long should you keep the filled jars in the canning pot? I read the instructions from the linked website but it said to refer to the specific recipe. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. I prefer blackberry jam (preserves) with good size pieces of blackberry in it. How would I do that using this recipe. It sounds delish and I’d love to try it but with pieces of blackberry. Thank you so much.

    Reply

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