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Blackberry Jelly with added pectin

by Original Author: Anna Harlan, Stone County | Adapted for Blog: Torrie Smith, Van Buren County

Whether you are a novice canner or a master food preserver, blackberry jelly is easy and enjoyable to can and eat. Fresh or frozen berries will work equally well for this recipe.

01 Preparing Fruit

Since using added pectin in this recipe, all ripe fruit can be used. Prepare fruit in small batches, enough for one recipe. Sort the fruit, discarding all damaged portions. Wash berries carefully to prevent loss of juice. Drain, remove caps and stems

02 Extracting Juice

Place fruit into a flat-bottomed saucepan and add cold water. For berries, use only enough water to prevent scorching. Crush berries to start the flow of juice. Bring to a boil on high heat. Stir to prevent scorching. Reduce heat. Berries need 10 minutes or less to cook until soft. Do not overcook; excess boiling will destroy the pectin, flavor and color. Pour everything into a damp jelly bag or cheese cloth and suspend the bag to drain the juice. The clearest jelly comes from juice that has dripped through a jelly bag without pressing or squeezing. If a fruit press is used to extract the juice, the juice should be restrained through a jelly bag. NOTE: Juicy berries may be crushed and the juice extracted without heating.

03 Pre-sterilizing Jars

All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile empty jars. Wash canning jars (half-pint or pint size) in hot water with detergent and rinse well by hand, or wash in a dishwasher. Stand the empty jars upright on a rack in the boiling water canner filled with clean water. There should be enough water to fill the jars and still come to a level 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. (If you are at an altitude of 1000 feet or more, add 1 minute of sterilizing time for each 1000 feet of altitude.) Turn down the heat; the water in the canner should not be boiling when it is time to load the filled jars. Sterilized jars can remain in the hot water, however, until they are ready to be filled.

04 Making Jelly

Measure juice & pour into saucepan. Add pectin and stir well. Place on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add sugar, continue stirring, and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam quickly. Remember the jelly mixture is very hot and take precautions not to burn yourself.

05 Filling Jars

Fill pre-sterilized or clean hot jars quickly with the hot jelly mixture, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. If the empty pre-sterilized jars are being held in your canner, remove them from the hot water one at a time, tilting them to quickly empty the water in them back into the canner. Be careful not to burn yourself. To make sure they are completely drained, the jars may be turned upside down on a clean towel on the countertop. Work quickly to ensure that the filled jars stay as hot as possible until all are filled and ready to be processed.  Wipe the sealing surface of the jars with a clean paper towel, dampened with hot water, to remove any jelly or sugar crystals. Adjust lids.

Table for recommended process times for jams and jellies with added pectin in a boiling-water bath canner

06 Processing with Boiling Water Canner

Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner, fitted with the rack, one at a time, using a jar lifter. Make sure the jar lifter is securely positioned below the neck of the jar and ring band. Always keep the jar upright. Tilting the jar could cause the hot jelly or jam mixture to spill into the sealing area of the lid, which should remain clean and undisturbed. The water in the canner should be at least 180ºF or can be slightly hotter when the jars are lowered into it. The water level in the canner should be 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the filled jars. Turn the burner under the canner to its highest setting, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously. Process the jars for the recommended number of minutes after the water boils. The water in the canner must remain boiling during the entire process time, so keep the heat source on high and a tight lid on the canner. 

07 Cool Down

When the jars have been processed in boiling water for the recommended time, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid, tilting the steam away from your face. Wait 5 minutes before removing jars from the canner to allow the boiling and jar contents to settle, however this waiting period is not required for safety of the food. Remove jars from canner; use a jar lifter and keep jars upright. Carefully place the hot jars directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft. Cool jars upright for 12-24 hours while a vacuum seal is formed, and the jelly sets up. Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool. When using the common two-piece metal canning lid system, do not tighten ring bands on the lids. Also, do not push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.

08 After 24 Hours

Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first. Wash, rinse and dry jars and lids to remove all residues. Label and store in a cool, dry place out of direct light


  • 3 1/2 cups blackberry juice (3 1/2 quart boxes berries)
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 pkg. powdered pectin

Boiling Water Canner

Half Pint Jars


Single Use Lids

Jar Lifter

Jar Filler

Magnetic Lid Lifter

Chinois Set (Metal Sieve)

Jelly Bag or Cheesecloth

Headspace Measurement Tool

Clean Damp Cloth

Ladle, Masher, Colander

Sauce Pot


Stirring Spoon or Spatula


National center for home food preservation ( 07/jam_jelly_with_pectin.html)

Elevation Info ( /ar/stone-county-05137/)

 For more information, contact your Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at your county Extension Office.