Today's berry preserves didn't turn out well. Help?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by chicken_china_mom, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    Does anyone by chance have a good recipe for making berry preserves? I used mostly frozen berries, since it's what I had on hand, though my daughter happily added a couple of handfuls of mulberries that she picked. So it had raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and mulberries. I searched all over the internet for a good recipe for preserves, but it seems that either no one calls them preserves anymore, or no one makes them, because I didn't find any that I was really excited to try. I tried one that seemed simple enough, and considering I'm still in a lot of pain from the car accident, and standing for long periods of time still hurts, this one called for 4 quarts of berries, and sugar. Yep, that was it. I'd never made berry preserves before, so I figured for my first time, it couldn't hurt to give it a try. But by the time I finished and the jars had been sealed and then set aside to cool, I noticed that they still have a weak consistency. They aren't thick enough for my taste. And personally, I really think they needed something, but I'm not exactly sure what. If I had lemon juice in the house, I probably would have added a little of that in. I don't have any pectin at the moment, but I do have Knox gelatin. However, what few recipes I could find, all called for pectin. It seems that Knox is good if I want to make jello, which I don't! So, could anyone recommend a good recipe? I might be able to get a ride to the store where I can get some pectin, but not for a few weeks. Also, next month I'll be making black raspberry preserves and apricot preserves, and possibly peach preserves too. I don't have recipes for any of those either. Help? [​IMG]
  2. With whole berries and sugar you should be able to cook them down to the consistency that you like, I did blueberries the other day (from the freezer) and it was just sugar and berries and kept doing the droplet test from the spoon until they were almost to the jell point, but not quite. Also kept a saucer in the fridge and would put some on it and set it back in and check it for thickness. I believe the jell point is 8 degrees above the boiling point of if you know at what temperature water boils in your location you can add 8 degrees and that would make jelly, so if you have a thermometer you could stop before it reaches that point. Thats all I know about it, it does take some practice with a spoon test, but it does work. Good luck! Hopefully someone will have more advice to help you!!!

    For my blueberries I used 9 cups of berries and 6 cups of sugar.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  3. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    The recipe I used today said to boil the berries, and after they were boiled, mash them. So I mashed them. Then it said run them through a sieve, which I didn't have, so I used the strainer with the smallest holes, and it seemed to work ok. Then it instructed me to put the berries into a taller pot and add one cup of sugar for every cup of berries. It seemed like a lot of sugar to me, but I did it anyway. Still seemed watery to me. I think I'll try it your way next time though. You can do this the same way for any fruits, or just berries? Can I do the apricots and peaches like this too?
  4. I do run my blackberries and raspberries through a food mill just because I don't like all those little seeds; and then take the pulp and measure about 1 cup sugar for each 2 cups of pulp/juice. With blueberries I have had to add a little more sugar. I do my peaches with the 2 to 1 ratio and they seem to work fine, I chop them a bit so the fruit distributes through the preserve; I have not done apricots but would think it would be the same. If you ever do cherries or strawberries after I cook them down I put them in low flat pans for several hours so the berries can "plump" and won't float, before I put them back in the jars and water bath.

    The only other thing I can think of is that it does take a while longer with frozen berries because they seem to have more juice than fresh ones to cook down. I do use an enamel pot so I don't have to stir to much until they start to thicken. That's all I can think of, I only use sure-jel for jellies anymore and we have gotten to like the preserve types better. My husband is pathetic, he watches to see if they thicken properly or if I blow it and they are more syrupy....he loves the syrup kind for pancakes and ice cream; so I make some of those too...sometimes I think he hopes they don't turn out!! [​IMG]

    Good luck working with your berries....does anyone else have any thoughts or suggestions? This is only from my experience and I am always willing to learn something too!!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010

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