Mulberry Jam (Or Not)

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The berries on the mulberry tree were so ripe that even just touching the tree branch shook several of them free. The ground around the tree was littered with fallen berries and both my fingers and the bottoms of my shoes were quickly stained purple from the sweet juice. My plan was to use my full Tupperware container to make my first batch of homemade jam.

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Mulberry Jam

My first attempt at making homemade mulberry jam didn’t go exactly as I expected. I’m sure that many experienced jam makers know this, but jam needs something to help thicken it, usually pectin.

When I initially googled mulberry jam the first recipe that popped up was this one.

Here’s a closer look at the ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups mulberries, rinsed (the tiny green stems do not need to be removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

As you can see, there is no pectin mentioned. So I continued on, oblivious to my error.

I did change the recipe a bit, switching the sugar for homemade honey (you have to use less honey than sugar) and added a little lemon juice. If I were to do this again, however, I would use even less honey and add more lemon to bring back some of the tartness of the fresh berries and reduce the overpowering sweetness.

The first step in making jam is to put your mason jars into boiling water to sanitize them. This should take about ten minutes.

 

Then, combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan (I added 2 ½ cups mulberries, and 1 cup honey, along with 3 tablespoons water, and the juice of 1/3 of a lemon). This must be brought to a boil for one minute before dropping it to simmer until it loses the foam. (The recipe says about 7 minutes).

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Once your jam is cooked, it should be transferred into the clean mason jars, sealed, and cooled at room temperature for several hours before you can use it. Make sure all your jars have a good seal on them! You should hear a pop as they cool, which means they have fully sealed.

By the time I started transferring the “jam” into the jars I was beginning to see that I had not made a jam, but a mulberry syrup. I held out hope that it might thicken more as it cooled, but, sadly, it did not.

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Still, even if it doesn’t work as a jam it does work as a syrup! I plan to use it on pancakes, in yogurt, and as an ice cream topping.

Overall, I was surprised at how easy it is to make homemade jam. I loved making a small batch of fresh mulberry jam, even if it didn’t work out perfectly. The sweet smell of mulberries and honey lingered in my kitchen for the rest of the afternoon.

So that’s the lesson of the day, folks! Make sure you use pectin when you make jam. At least I know for my next batch.

🙂 Sarah

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