This past year wasn't any different, and I picked a lot, not as much as I normally do, but if memory serves, I was just starting serious morning sickness and not quite up to my normal routine. I froze two gallon ziplock bags with the intentions of making Blackberry Jelly with a family friend for the first time, after trying hers last year, and deciding it was the best thing ever. Time passed, morning sickness continued, and it just never happened. Sometime in December I started cleaning out the freezer preparing for the approaching holiday, and discovered all my frozen berries. I realized I needed to do something with them, or toss them out. Why not just make blackberry jelly myself? So I did some basic research (I've never canned anything before) had the recipe from the friend, and bought a box of canning jars.
1. I didn't want seeds in my jelly, so at first I started pushing the berries through a strainer, which worked, but was very slow. I ended up putting about two cups in my blender, processing them, and then pushing the puree through the strainer to remove the seeds. This worked really really well, and I'm not quite sure why some of the recipe comments say not to do it, it worked just fine for me!
2. Two gallon bags of frozen berries produced exactly the amount of juice needed for this recipe (5 cups) and filled around 9 8 ounce jars.
3. On Step 11, I didn't have a fancy canning pot, so I just used a large pot that I filled with water, and laid a towel inside. The towel inside kept the jars from clanking together while the water boiled. Make sure the water is 1" above the lids during the boiling process. Be extra careful removing the super hot jars from the boiling water after you are done, this part is rather dangerous and especially so if you are using regular tongs and not specialty canning tongs. Go slow and be careful!
Enjoy the fruits of your labor year round! We have already eaten our way through three jars, and I can't wait to make more jelly during the next blackberry season!
P.S. I wrote this post before I gave birth, and just never had the chance to post it, so fortunately for me, blackberry season is in full swing right now and I swear there are more than ever out there ready to be picked! I am ready!