Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to make Blackberry syrup!

Today I made Blackberry syrup which can be used on pancakes, waffles and french toast or add some water and you can make blackberry juice.  It's super yummy and super easy!

First you need one of these.......

(I'm not sure where you get one of these.  I inherited this one from my mom when she moved to California and wouldn't be able to make juice anymore.  I'm sure if you googled it you could find one, or you might even be able to find one at your local farm/feed store.)
And some blackberries and sugar....

and of course, jars, lids and rims....

It doesn't matter what size jars you use.  If you know you won't go through the syrup fast or are giving it as a gift, use smaller jars.  I use regular mouth jars (I like to use my large mouth jars for my tomato sauce), but it doesn't matter, you can use regular or large mouth jars, and brand doesn't matter either.  Kerr or Ball work.  Just make sure it's treated glass.  Less risk of breaking.

The first step is to clean everything.  All 4 pieces of the juicer and all of your jars.  I usually just run my jars through the dishwasher, this also gets them nice and hot.  Once clean the next step is to add water into the bottom compartment, like this.....

I turn the stove to high at this point to get the water going.  It needs to come to a boil.

Once full of water, the middle compartment goes on.  Inside the middle compartment is a colander, this colander is specially designed to fin inside the middle compartment so it's very important. 

Now this next part is important.  Depending on the size of your juicer depends on how many cups of blackberries you can put in.  You don't want to put to many in because the juice will overfill the middle compartment and end up in the bottom compartment.  Inside the middle compartment is a cone where the steam comes in to steam the blackberries.  My juicer will hold more, but I do 10 cups of blackberries, like so....

Now, you can wash your blackberries before this step, but it's not necessary, my mom never did, and I don't either.  The only thing that falls down into the syrup is the juice from the berries.

Once the berries are in, you throw the sugar in right on top of the berries before the lid goes on, like so....

How much sugar you add depends on 2 things, how sweet your berries are and how sweet/thick you want your syrup to be.  My berries weren't overly ripe this time ( I got the beginning of the ripening season), but I still did 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of berries.  The way my mom did it was 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of berries.  That's a little to sweet for me and depending on how sweet this batch is I may have to increase or decrease the amount of sugar I throw in.
So once the sugar is in, you put the lid on and let it summer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  This is important, you need to check the bottom compartment every so often to make sure there is still water inside there.  You don't want to burn the bottom of your pan.
Once you have the blackberries going, you should get your jars ready.  I like to have mine going in a water bath.  I put them in mouth down, I also put the lids in there so they get nice and hot as well.  I don't have a huge pot, so I use the biggest one I have which will hold 4 jars.  I throw 4 lids in there as well.  You don't have to heat up the rims, just the jars and lids.  I put the jars in the water first, then turn it to high and bring to a boil.  Keep in mind that the jars will sit in there the whole time the blackberries are steaming.  So once the water boils, I turn it down to low, or to the #2 or 3.  Not to high.  This keeps the jars nice and warm as well.

At this point, the water in the bottom compartment should be nice and boiling, so you can turn it down to medium.  If you turn it down to low it will take longer for the berries to produce the syrup.

Here is what my stove looks like once everything is going...

This is what the berries will start to look like about 1/2 an hour in...

(Make sure that if you're going to lift the lid off,  you wear a mitt or use a towel as it will be hot.)

As the blackberries and sugar steam, your little hose will start to fill with purple liquid.  This is the syrup!

It's ready!!

Now this next step you need to be careful of.  The jars and syrup will be hot!  So when pouring the syrup into the jars I wear an oven mitt and hold it from the bottom.

All you do us unclamp the clamp, and let it fill.  Don't let it fill all the way.  I usually fill it to where the jar starts to curve into the mouth.  If you have dribbled any syrup on the jar you want to make sure you wipe it off before putting the lid on.  If anything is left on the rim of the jar, the lid won't seal properly.  Once you have the syrup in the jar, put the lid on, put the rim on, and tighten as tight as you can.  Then all you do is leave it on the counter and in about half an hour, you will hear "plink".  This is the jar sealing.

Out of the 10 cups of berries, I got 2 jars.  If my berries had been riper, I would have gotten more.  But I still have 2 1/3 buckets left to go! Not to mention that in 2 more weeks all those green berries I saw today will be ripe and ready for me!  I could make more syrup and some freezer jam!!  I love berry season!!

Assuming you have more berries, you would refill your pot with your jars and lids and start all over again!
You can see in this picture that as the jars heat, they will suck the water into them.  Just make sure you have some water in the pot that didn't get sucked into the jars.  You can always add more as they heat.

Even though I haven't tried it with other berries, I'm assuming you could do this with just about any berry.  I imagine you could do this with a variety of fruit.  Would love to know if anyone uses this with other berries or fruits!

I think this is one of the easiest ways to can and is perfect if your just getting into the canning process.  No pressure cooker involved!  I have used a pressure cooker, and they are intimidating!

If I can get some tomatoes before the season is over, my next canning project will be spaghetti sauce!  Or if my mom is here in time, I will have her teach me how to make blackberry freezer jam!  YUMMY!!!

Just a side note, if you want to do any canning, I highly recommend finding places where you can pick your own fruit.  I'm luck enough to have grandparents who have a farm that has a huge surplus of blackberries.  They have just kind of gone wild over the years.  Even if you can find a farm that will sell it to you cheap, buy from there.  I have found that in my area Farmer's markets aren't all that cheap, and not really cost effective when it comes to canning or preserving.  Also, when looking for canning jars, I highly recommend garage sales and your local thrift stores.  And when all possible, buy on sale!  This will help to keep your cost down.  Another important note, if you give these away as gifts, always make sure you get your jars back!

Happy Canning!!!!

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