Monday, July 2, 2012

Loganberry Jam

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Loganberry jam on toaster biscuit, the star of breakfast
Loganberry jam on toaster biscuit, the star of breakfast

Blackberries in my part of the world are considered a weed.  They can be an expensive problem to deal with when you are trying to get rid of them and have even been the start of a new industry around here, goats as weed eaters.  Cool, huh.  ;)

Raspberry on the left, loganberry on the right
Raspberry on the left, loganberry on the right

Loganberries are a hybrid of blackberries and raspberries and it is not a hard stretch of the imagination for me to see how they came to be, considering what a pest blackberries can be.  Loganberries have the look of an extra large raspberry that is darker red/purplish in color.  To me they taste a bit like a raspberry and blueberry combined and are definitely more tart than a raspberry.  I was really lucky to find them at the farmer's stand being sold by the flat, and they were even less expensive than the raspberries.  Nice!

Loganberry jam after food mill, it keeps just the seeds
Loganberry jam after food mill, it keeps just the seeds

I don't usually remove all of the seeds from my jams but loganberry can really stick in your teeth if you don't take out some of them.  I do this using my food mill and running the cooked jam through the medium screen just once.  This removes about half the seeds and does not waste any of the good stuff, as you can see.  All it takes out are the seeds so I don't feel like I have lost any of my hard earned jam at all with this extra step.  You can leave all the seeds in if you wish, or run the jam through the food mill on the smallest screen to remove all of them, it's up to you.  However you do it I can highly recommend this jam as a part of your pantry.

Loganberry Jam
A summer jam made from a local berry that is delicious and unique in flavor.
  • 10 cups loganberries, cleaned and stemmed
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

  1. Prepare your half pint jars, lids, rings and canner. If you are new to water bath canning, or it has been a while, be sure to refresh your skills from a reliable and official source to guide you through this process. The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving are good places to start.
  2. In a heavy bottom large pot add the berries, water and sugar and bring up to a gentle boil. The berries will release a lot of juice and it will take some time for this mixture to simmer and cook down to a jam consistency. How long will vary depending on the size of your pot and the juiciness of your fruit, 30-45 minutes. Stir often to be sure nothing is burning and just be a little patient, it will get there.
  3. Once you think the jam is thick enough, test it on a small very cold plate (I chill mine in the freezer for a few minutes). You put a dab of the jam on the ice cold plate and let it sit there until it is cooled. Run your finger through the bit of jam to see if it holds the shape of your streak and crinkles a little on top. If you need to just keep simmering and stirring until you have the consistency you want.
  4. This next step is optional - run the hot jam through your food mill using the medium or small screen to remove half or all of the seeds.
  5. Carefully fill your hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Be sure to remove any bubbles with a thin spatula, chopstock, or skewer and adjust the headspace one last time.
  6. Clean the rim of the jar thoroughly, apply your hot lid, and then the ring. Tighten the ring just until it is "finger tip tight", not too tight, but not loose either.
  7. Process your jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, measuring the time after the water returns to a full boil. Adjust your processing time as necessary depending on your elevation.
  8. Remove your jars from the water bath to a cloth covered counter. Let them cool completely for 12-24 hours before testing the seals. Any jars that do not seal properly are still perfectly good to eat, just keep them in the refrigerator.
  9. Store your jam in a cool dark place. This jam is ready to eat immediately, no wait time necessary.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 5 half pint jars

Last, but not least, if you are brand new to water bath canning be sure to follow best practices outlined by reliable sites such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation or the University of Missouri Extension. Home canning is something anyone can do!