Wineberry Jam

First an update: the window is in on the chicken coop, and the ramp for the chickens is complete. It's all ship-shape and the only things left to do are roofing material and painting the outside. After that----the duck house! Although we were thinking of just using a large dogloo for them, it's looking like we will build a lean-to-like structure onto the side of the chicken coop for them. A "duck wing", if you will.

My parents came up for the 4th of July, and they were kind enough to lend their berry-picking expertise. We got, I would guess about 3 cups (or more) on Saturday with them. Then, today, S. and I went back out and picked some more. Now we had 3 large tupperware containers full of Wineberries (and one black raspberry). What to do what to do....well, we were originally going to make a pie or a tart but now we had way too many berries for we settled on jam. (turns out we only used about half of the berries up for that too...since we could only find one box of pectin..)

Wineberries from our yard.

We used the recipe in the package of pectin (as good as any) for "Blackberry, Boysenberry, Dewberry, Loganberry, Raspberry or Youngberry" jam, but there are copious notes and additional steps and edits, added in by yours truly. So really you can consider these steps based on the original recipe, but expanded upon considerably:

Approx. Yield: 8, 8-ounce jars--and we actually did get exactly 8 jelly jars full...but consider yourself warned that regardless of recipe specifications we always make sure there are plenty of extra clean jars on hand, just in case....

8 cups crushed berries (2 quarts)
7 cups sugar
1 box pectin

1. Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids

(We usually run our jars through the dishwasher ahead of time and have them at the ready. Most people recommend sterilizing your jars, bands, and lids ahead of time. Inspect your jar bands for rust and dents, and only use non-flawed and never-before-used dome lids. Caution: Always follow all instructions for safety that came with your jars, your lids, and your canner. You should only use a USDA recommended canning recipe. Use any canning recipe at your own risk, and if unsure, caqll an experienced canner or your cooperative extension for help. We usually begin our water bath canner boiling at this time now too, since it takes so long to get a rolling boil.)

Crushed wineberries.

2. Place prepared (crushed berries) in a 6 or 8 quart stockpot (Consider yourself warned that we almost ALWAYS have our jam boil over or splash and it's hard to get the sticky stuff off the stove after it's cool) Do not complete the next step unless your canner is near to boiling. At this stage things can go very quickly and it's better to not have full jars waiting to be canned while you wait for it to reach a boil....this is speaking from experience.

Wineberries and pectin in pot on stove (not sure why the foam here is orange....).

3. Gradually stir in pectin and bring mixture to a full boil over light heat, stirring constantly (be careful of splashes and bubbles---it gets really hot!)

4. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute (it WILL foam....don't get burned--be careful), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam if there's a ton of it, otherwise let it be.

Here are the jars, before we filled them

5. Ladle into jars, one at a time. Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Be sure to run a hot, damp paper towel around the rim after filling the jars. That will get the excess jam off and make sure that the lids seal properly. Then place the dome lids on top and screw on the bands to finger tight. Thump the bottoms of the jars lightly on the counter to get out extra bubbles.

Putting the jars in the canner.

6. Place jars carefully into canning rack (in canner) using jar tongs. Lower rack into canner and put lid on canner. Return canner to rolling boil. Once boiling again, leave the jars in for 10 minutes (you might need to adjust the time if you're at a different altitude).

Raising the canner rack.

7. Carefully (we use orkas, those silicone mitts after learning the hard way that hot wet cloth oven mitts really really suck...) raise the canning rack. Remove the jars one by one using those jar tongs, and place them on the counter on top of a dish cloth (careful...they're hot so don't damage your counter). Leave some space between them for air flow. They'll need to be able to cool gradually.

Here are our finished jars, cooling.

After some time (anywhere from a few minutes to over night) you'll hear them "ping", which means they are sealed properly. Just like a canned good you buy in the store, the lids will be concave when they are properly canned. The cooling forms a vaccum and 'sucks' the lids down, sealing them properly. You can check them all after a few hours to see if they are sealed--usually we tap the jar lid with the handle of a knife...they make a different noise from those that are's hard to explain (this is where canning with someone experienced if you've never canned before is a good thing)...but if you're ever not sure, stick that jar in the fridge and eat it over the next few days....just to be safe.

After the jars have cooled, label them with date and contents. Store your jam in a cool, dark place (dark basements work well for this) unitl ready to consume. The USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation has great guidelines on how long your canned goods can be kept safely, too.


    mmm.... this jam looks delicious!


    Thanks Xing! email S. and maybe we can ship you some! :-) (no guarantees on flavor--we haven't taste-tested yet, though...)

    On July 18, 2009 at 9:55 AM Anonymous said...

    It looks like you have a GE glass top stove; so do we. Have you ever tried pressure canning? I've heard that it can be problematic for smooth tops because of auto shut-off when things get too hot (to prevent cracking), and you therefore can't keep the temp/pressure sustained for safe cooking. I'm interested in getting into pressure canning, that's why I ask. Nonetheless, I'm going to try your wineberry jam recipe today in a water bath. Just discovered these yummy berries all around my yard, never having heard of them before my research, and picked a ton yesterday!


    Anonymous: yes, we do have that type of stove. Our only pressure canning experiences thus far have been on my parent's gas-burner stove some years ago.

    This year we do hope to have enough tomatoes to can them, though, and were intending to get some pressure-canning equipment for that. I'll let you know how it goes. I've never heard of that problem (but never thought to look into it, either). Hopefully it will work out ok.

    I will tell you that heating up the water bath canner to a rolling boil on the electric stove took quite a bit of time---I don't recall precisely but I would hazard upwards of an hour. That was, no doubt, due to the burner cycling on and off (I hate's so frustrating) so remember to give lots of time for it to get hot enough.

    Have fun making your jam! We pulled in even more wineberries last weekend and decided to freeze them this time--you just lay them flat on a tray and freeze them flat overnight. Then you can transfer them to a bag (they remind me of little wineberry candies when they're all hard and frozen.)

    On July 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM Ann (aka Anonymous) said...

    Well, I made the jam yesterday while Baby was napping :) I don't own an actual canning pot, but my pasta pot with the strainer-thingy in it worked great with the jelly jars, so water could flow over top and underneath easily. It was just the right height.

    I had some for breakfast today with some butter and a leftover baguette from dinner last night. It was delicious - tart and sweet, and the perfect consistency! I've already given away a few jars. Everyone was excited and curious, as they'd never heard of wineberries, either. (Now I can't stop seeing them everywhere I go!)

    A very successful experiment. I'll definitely do it again. Thanks for posting about it!


    Anne--I'm, thrilled that you enjoyed it! If you're going to be doing more canning, I do really recommend investing in a water bath canner--they make things so much easier since they have the rack to pull the cans out...and they usually come in kits with a funnel and tongs too. I've seen them for about $20 in various places...I think walmart even had some. You can't can everything water-bath style, but jams and jellies, as well as pickled foods work fine that way. :-)


    I just googled "wineberry jam" and here you are! Thanks so much for the recipe. I tried making jam from our wineberries a few years ago before I knew anything about pectins, and I ended up using entirely too much pectin for the amount of berries I had. The result was a small batch of jar-shaped wineberry-flavored rocks ;-)

    I'm looking forward to trying your recipe! And if you want another use for the rest of those berries, you might like my Wineberry crisp:

    Thanks for sharing!


    Thanks Lisa! Your crisp looks delicious.

    (Your pectin experience sounds like the first time I tried to make jelly--sans pectin. Boiled it for waaay too long and ended up with about 5 jars of apple jolly rancher...)

    On August 4, 2009 at 4:18 PM mark said...

    Nice. We moved to our current house 2 years ago, and I've come to the conclusion that the previous owners were having a war with the Wineberry bushes. We got a bunch last year, but this year has been incredible. I've picked at least 80 (yes, that isn't a typo) pints so far. I'm freezing them in ziploc bags, and have canned 20 or so pints of blueberry-wineberry jam. One thing I'm experimenting with this year is using the no-sugar pectin, and sweetening with a cup of honey (adding a tablespoon or two of lemon juice for additional acidity).


    Holy moley -- 80 pints is a ton. According to what I've read about Wineberries they're similar to some black/raspberry varieties that way--after being cut/pruned/beaten back they'll take 2 years to come back up to peak production.

    Funny, just a few days ago I saw a recipe on another blog (dang but I can't remember where.....) for blueberry-raspberry jam and was thinking that would be wonderful with wineberries....hope some day our little blueberry bushes are big enough for that... :-)

    But Mark, please let me know how the honey turns out--I'll be curious to know if the flavor changes any as the jars sit...(I've been surprised before with the way that fruit butters, etc can mature in flavor while they sit on the shelf..)

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