It's that time of year again when the blackberries dot the hills around Knoxville, Tenn. with their red and black berries set on a backdrop of green. If done right, picking blackberries can become a great family tradition that you look forward to each year. The juice that comes out of these little morsels of yum is quite astounding. Blackberry juice might just be the darkest of all fruit juices you will ever see and oh how yummy it tastes.
Canning your own blackberry juice is quite easy and worth the effort. Not only are wild blackberries naturally organic, but they taste delicious. Once you realize just how easy it is to can by using the oven method instead of the old fashioned water bath method, you will want to pick gallons of these berries.
Here is what you need to get started:
- Water bath canner (if using the traditional method)
- Stove (for traditional method)
- Oven (for the oven method)
- Distilled water: 3 cups per quart or 1/1/2 cups per pint
- Quart or pint jars (your choice)
- Lids and rings to fit your jars
- Small pan
- Large pot
- Canning tools (optional but recommended)
- Jar funnel
- 1/2 cup measuring tool
- 1 cup measuring tool
- 1/4 tsp measuring tool
- 1/16 tsp measuring tool or fill a 1/8 tsp measuring tool half full (for pints)
- Clean rag
- Organic blackberries: 1 cup per quart or 1/2 cup per pint
- Organic cane sugar: 1 cup of sugar per quart or 1/2 cup per pint (optional)
- Organic Stevia: 1/4 tsp per quart or 1/16 tsp per pint
- Distilled water: 3 cups per quart or 1 1/2 cups per pin
Prepare your jars by placing them in a large pot of boiling water to sterilize them or use a hot dishwasher with plain water (jars must be pre-washed for dishwasher sterilization).
Sterilize and soften the rubber of your lids in a small pot of boiling water. Bring the water to boil with the lids in the water, then turn off the heat.
Using your funnel, place 1 cup of blackberries into each quart jar. Place only 1/2 cup of blackberries if using pint jars.
Add your sweetener. If using sugar, you must dissolve your sugar in the distilled water first so it does not stick to the bottom of the jar when canned. If using Stevia, you do not have to heat the water. Add the Stevia right on top of the blackberries then add the water.
Leave a head space of ¼ inch.
Clean the rim of the jar with a clean wet rag.
Place your lid and ring on the jar. * Caution: do not over tighten the ring. Make it snug but not super tight.
If using the traditional water bath canning method, place the jars in your canner and cover with water. Bring to a hard rolling boil and time it for 10 minutes.
If using the oven method which saves a lot of water and time, follow the directions given.
When the canning time is up, carefully remove the jars and place on a heatproof surface.
Listen for the jar lids to pop or suction down in a sealed position.
Before storing, check the seals to see that they are all sealed tight.
It is important to remove the rings. If you desire to leave them on, remove them to dry and then replace them to prevent rust.
Store your canned juice in a place that will not freeze in the winter. It is also best if they do not get boiling hot over and over in storage. A cool pantry is a good choice. Under a bed will do fine if you are limited on space.
You can drink your juice right away, but it tastes even better in six months to a year.
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