The Cottage Smallholder

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Blackberry and apple jam recipe

blackberry detailIt was Anne Mary that pointed out that apple and blackberry jam would be full of blackberry pips.
“They’d get stuck in your teeth and drive you mad. Stick to bramble jelly.”

I love jelly. We make loads of jelly every year. More often than not it is used as a base for a sauce rather than dolloped on a plate of roast lamb or pork.

Imagine my delight when I found this recipe for Blackberry and Apple Jam in my aunt’s ancient handwritten cookbook. As it is sieved there are no seeds and the jam is delicious, spread on hot buttered toast in the morning.

Blackberry and Apple Jam recipe


  • 1k (roughly 2lb) of blackberries
  • 350g (12ozs) of apples (eating apples, windfalls are fine)
  • Water
  • White granulated sugar


  1. Core and roughly chop the apples (skin on).
  2. Put the apples, cores and blackberries in a large preservaing pan or large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add just enough water to cover and simmer until soft.
  3. Sieve the softened fruit and weigh the sieved pulp (discard the skins and seeds left in the sieve). Add 450g (1lb) of sugar for each 450g (1lb) of sieved pulp.
  4. Put sieved pulp and sugar into a large heavy bottomed saucepan (or preserving pan) and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Bring the jam to the boil and continue to boil very rapidly for about 8-10 minutes until the jam reaches setting point. (What is setting point? See tricks and tips below).
  6. When the jam has set, carefully pour into warm, sterilised jars, using a ladle or small jug (How to sterilise jars? See tricks and tips below)
  7. Cover the jars with tight fitting screw-top lids, or waxed disks and cellophane pot covers (waxed disks, wax facing downwards and plastic covers secured with plastic bands).
  8. Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place, away from damp.

Tricks and Tips:

  • Jam “set” or “setting point”:
    Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method. Before you start to make the jam, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm jam can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make jam we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the jam, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The jam is far more delicious if it is slightly runny.
  • Sterilising the jars:
    We collect jars all year round for our jelly, chutney and jam making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we used is simple. Just before making the jam, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c/140c for fan assisted. When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.

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  1. Hi – I have now made this jam several years in a row and it always works. Sets well, keeps for ages, tastes great. Thank you for a fabulous recipe

  2. Gloryb

    This is the first time my jam has set so well. I used my hand blender then sieved. It was so quick and easy and very little waste. The best jam I have ever made. Thank you . Great recipe

    • Interesting, Can you please elaborate? Thank you

      • Hi alma. When the apple and blackberries were cooked, I used my hand blender to mix then up. Then I put through a sieve and this speeded up the process.

  3. Mary McAndrew

    Hello Fiona, what a great resource your blog is for a beginner like me! I love learning to make jam and reading all about it. I’ve been trying to make the tradition recipes and cutting back on the sugar. I know the sugar helps with preserving it and thickening, but can I reduce the amount in this recipe? Has anyone ever tried it? Would I have to add some pectin to help thicken?
    I’d love to know, I’ll try something with this recipe for sure though!!

    • Mary, I’ve successfully reduced the sugar in jam from equal weights of fruit and sugar to 2:1, i.e. two-thirds fruit v one-third sugar rather than half-and-half. As long as you keep boiling it until it passes the chilled-plate setting test above, it’s absolutely fine. You get a slightly less sweet but more intensely fruity jam as a result.

      • Mind, I’m a jam iconoclast like that. I got fed up with straining the mix so I leave the apple skins (and blackberry pips) in, which probably helps keep every bit of possible pectin from the apples, and after all that boiling yes they’re not at all tough. To further compensate, I’d up the proportion of apples too so it’s more nearly equal with the blackberries; the flavour and colour of the latter are still so strong it makes little dent in the overall effect but again you’re upping the pectin pound-for-pound.

      • (I should note by the way I don’t put the apple cores/pips in, with this ‘no straining’ method! I just make sure not to cut more than necessary away when removing these, so you don’t lose all the pectin stored in the central portion of the fruit.)

  4. This is soooooo good am making a second batch! I have added a glug of home made sloe gin and some winter spices to the initial cook…..and use a good old fashioned mooli to seive the fruit.

  5. if you want a smooth apple and blackberry jam without too much hassle of removing the pips through the metal strainer which takes a frustrating age, just blitz the remaining pips once the Good mixture has gone through the sieve with a blender, helped with a wooden spoon, we use an old Braun, the remaining pulp slips through just leaving a small amount of grit and lovely smooth jam

    • Sandra Pearson

      Thank you very much for the tip using the hand blender. I don’t have strong hands and had no idea this would take so long. Making for my elderly parents so thought the pip free version a good idea. I’m not sure I’ll do it again

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