Apricot jam is one of my favorites, and blackberries are an amazing fruit. Blackberry jam, however, is often a bit sweet for my taste. In this recipe, I bring together these two flavors in a jam that is a nice balance between sweet and tart, and combines the deliciousness of these two fruits.
Both blackberries and apricots have high a reasonable amount of pectin, which means that the pectin can be omitted. Personally, I like the consistency that adding pectin brings, which is why I use it.
Some recipes call for peeling the apricots. You can if you want, but it’s not necessary. There are some folks who insist that peeling the apricots gives a better texture, but I have found the difference between peeled and unpeeled to be somewhere between minimal to nonexistent. The same is true of peach jam (or any jam made from a stonefruit).
This recipe makes somewhere between 14-18 cups of jam, which might be more than some people want. Cutting the recipe in half works for people who want less jam.
- 2 lemons (zested, and juiced to get 4 tablespoons lemon juice)
- Slightly more than 4 lbs apricots (total 4 pounds pitted)
- 8-10 cups blackberries (1475 grams, or 3 1/4 pounds)
- 3 1/2 cups sugar, plus an additional 7 cups sugar
- 2 pouches of liquid pectin
1. Zest and juice 2 lemons.
2. Remove the pits from approximately 4 1/2 pounds of apricots. You want 4 pounds total, and when I have done this recipe just under 4 1/2 pounds apricots yielded 4 pounds pitted apricots. Slice the apricots into chunks, and put the apricots in a large saucepan with 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and lemon zest from 2 lemons. Mash and stir, then let sit for 10 minutes (or as long as it takes you to prepare the blackberries).
3. Rinse approximately 8-10 cups of blackberries. The goal here is to get 4 full cups of berry juice — ie, without the seeds. If you like picking seeds out of your teeth, leave the seeds in, but I don’t recommend this, and I’m not sure how that will impact the proportions of the recipe.
4. Put the berries in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Mash the berries with a potato masher and simmer for around 5-10 minutes. Run the berry mix through a food mill or a fine strainer to remove the seeds.
5. Measure 4 cups of the berry juice and add it to the apricots. Add 7 cups granulated sugar along with the blackberry and lemon juice.
6. Turn the heat to medium, and stir the blackberries and apricots until all the sugar has dissolved. If you want to ensure you have a smooth jam, use an immersion blender or potato masher on the remaining chunks of apricot. The pieces will generally break up as the apricot and blackberries boil, but mashing them removes all doubt.
7. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a rolling boil. As the fruit mix boils, you might see a foam rise to the top. This foam is delicious, edible, and poses no problems, and it generally subsides once pectin is added at the end, but some folks like to skim it off for aesthetic reasons. One additional reason to skim it off is that you can eat it after you have finished making the jam, but it’s not necessary.
8. Once the fruit mix has reached a rolling boil, decrease the heat and add 2 pouches of liquid pectin. Return the mixture to a rolling boil for one minute, then jar the jam.
If you are putting it in the refrigerator, it will be good for around a month. If you want to store the jam for longer, you can preserve the jam in a water bath canner (canning is pretty straightforward – the first time you do it, it feels tricky but once you do it a few times it becomes routine). Jam that has been preserved via water bath canning can stay shelf stable for up to a year.
After you have put the jam in jars, let it sit for 12 to 48 hours – the longer the better. The less you move it in the first 12 to 48 hours, the better it will set.
If you are putting the jam in the fridge, let it cool on your counter, and then put it in the fridge. If you have preserved the jam, let it sit in a cool, out of the way place overnight to let it set, and then move it to a cool storage place out of direct sunlight.
Makes between 14-18 cups jam.