‘Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday, but Never Ever Jam Today’* (How to Make Jam Today)

*That’s  a line in the song from a TV movie Alice in Wonderland that filled my childhood. I don’t mean I watched it all the time, although we did have it on tape, but anyone my age can probably quote a song or scene from it. Here’s a link to what I’m talking about and I’m very excited to find a video clip for your viewing pleasure! I haven’t heard this song in years! All the better for you to understand what song was in my head as I mixed and mixed the jam for hours!

With the blackberries I picked last week, I made a batch of jam. Scroll down to learn how to make a simple jam.

How to Make Jam:

  • Wash and weigh the blackberries, then add them to a large pot.
  • Add sugar equal to between half and three quarters the volume of the fruit. If the fruit is sweet, use less.
  • Cut up two large cooking apples (good old British Bramley in this case) and add them to the pot. Apples have enough pectin to skip purchasing any pectin. I wasn’t sure how many apples I’d need and the two Bramleys were just under the same amount of fruit. Probably about 3/4 the weight of the blackberries.
  • Keep the pot on a very low heat, stirring quite a bit at the beginning.
  • Once the sugar melts, put the lid on and come back to stir it every 10 minutes. It will seem more like fruit soup.
  • Once the apples are soft enough, smash everything with a potato masher or an immersion blender.
  • Leave the lid off now and switch to the lowest heat possible. Check on it and stir every once in a while.
  • When it thickens, test it by taking some jam in a teaspoon and putting it aside to cool. If you can turn the spoon upside down and it does not fall out, it is ‘set’ and ready.

To prepare jars and add the jam

  • Put the glass jars and lids into a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Put the oven on about 50C or so to heat up.
  • Once the jars and lids are boiled for a while (a minute or two should do it, fish them out and put them in the oven to keep them warm.
  • Pour jam into jars and rest the lids on top
  • Once the jars are cool enough to hold you hand to for a few seconds, screw the lid on.

This is what it looked like when I started.


  1. Hey! Did you eat your jam straight away? Did you let it stand for a month? I didnt know you could eat it straight away… I havnt eaten mine yet… and I made it back in September!

  2. Hi Stacey,

    I ate it all right away! It’s gone now!
    Since I didn’t use any “canning” process, I wasn’t sure how long it would last and was also eager to try some. Of course, that led to second and third tastes…and so on!
    What flavour jam did you make?

  3. Hi Marie,
    I certainly did! I wore one half of it to school all the time while the other half sat in my dad’s drawer. Now, they’re united in scarfery!

  4. What would you do differently to can it so that it would keep? I thought canning consisted of heating and sealing the jars. But then I don’t tend to make jam, but was planning to try it in june when strawberries are in season.

  5. Hi Nibby,

    It depends on how long you want it to keep. While I ate this jam very quickly, I have since made apple and plum that have kept through the winter. In July, I opened the last jar of apple from the previous fall and we still have plum in our pantry. That’s about 9-10 months with my current system.

    How I do this, is put the glass jars and lids into a large pot and bring it to a boil. Put the oven on about 50C or so (you’ll have to translate that to F) to heat up. Once the jars and lids are boiled for a while (a minute or two should do it, fish them out and put them in the oven to keep them warm. Quite honestly, I skip the oven step and just usually take the jar out of the boiling water when I’m ready to fill it with jam. If it’s boiled well and seals fine, you shouldn’t have any problems. I find that my jam goes off once it’s open if I don’t eat it quickly enough, but not usually in the jar.

    I hope this helps- let me know if you want me to explain anything else.

    Here’s the apple jam: https://riotflower.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/what-to-do-with-many-free-apples/

    and the plum: https://riotflower.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/plum-crazy-in-the-kitchen/

    Hmmm….I wonder what large harvest it will be next fall!

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