I couldn’t tell what was blood and what was berry juice on my hands, but the 4+ quarts of fresh, wild blackcap berries was totally worth it.
Matt’s parents live on a slice of southwest Michigan lovingly summed Blackberry Hill Farm. This year we’re seeing just why it was given the cute moniker. Enormous patches of their property are covered with wild blackcap and blackberry canes loaded with sweet fruit. What’s so wonderful about the healthy mix of plants is that the blackcaps ripen first and later in the summer the blackberries are ready for picking. On the way back to their house, you have to pass between two mulberry trees. We couldn’t resist adding a few to our baskets.
I love putting up jars of jam to enjoy throughout the year. This recipe is so delicious, even added to teas, ice creams and swirled into cream cheese atop fresh toast.
1. Wash berries and add them to a medium skillet. Add sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Set heat on medium-low.
2. Simmer berries, stirring frequently. Feel free to mash them down with a silicone spatula as they cook.
3. When most of the liquid has cooked off (10 minutes or so), turn off the heat and stir in vanilla extract and a few more shakes of cinnamon.
4. You can now funnel all of the jam into one jar to keep in the fridge and use up or you can process it for canning. Click here for water bath processing instructions. Process jars for 15 minutes in boiling water.
If you get your hands on an abundance of berries during a Michigan summer, put them on a cookie sheet and freeze for 3 hours before bagging. You can pull them out of the deep freeze come January when the snow is knee high and enjoy the taste of summer (or make this Jam as a holiday gift for friends and family).