Recently I wrote a post about how to grow Honeyberries in your garden. Today I wanted to quickly share about how to make Honeyberry Jam! With such a unique flavor, Honeyberry Jam will be a welcome addition to your pantry.
Good Honeyberry Jam Starts with Fresh Ingredients
Like in any jam recipe, it always tastes best using fresh ingredients. I harvested these honeyberries from my garden. If you don’t have any honeyberry plants, then you can try buying some from a local farmer’s market. (To date I have never seen honeyberries (Haskap) for sale in the grocery store.) The fresher the berry, the better the jam.
Honeyberry Jam is Made Using only Two Ingredients – Berries and Sugar
After you have harvested your berries, you will want to wash them and set them aside. To make the jam, measure out equal parts of berries and sugar. I wouldn’t go any higher than 5 c of sugar and 5 c of berries. That’s it! It’s so simple and there are no added preservatives or ingredients. Honeyberries are naturally high in pectin and don’t require adding more.
Heat the berries and sugar on low until all the juice is released from the honeyberries.
Once you have measured out equal parts of berries and sugar, slowly heat them in a saucepan. This will seem ridiculous at first as the mixture will be super thick. Don’t worry and keep stirring. Eventually the honeyberries will burst and release their juices. In no time at all you will have a runny mixture of berry goodness.
Bring honeyberries and sugar to a rolling boil and then reduce heat and simmer until you reach the gel stage.
This is the tricky part. You will want to bring your mixture to a rolling boil and then reduce it to a simmer. At this point you are waiting for the jam to gel. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 15+ minutes. You will want to constantly stir your jam during this stage and test is regularly to see if it has set. NOTE: It is super easy to OVER COOK your jam! I know from experience. This will result in a thick, candy like jam that is hard to spread. To help you avoid this, here are several methods for knowing when your jam has reached the gel stage.
Method #1: The Candy Thermometer Test
For most jams, the gel stage will happen at around 220 degrees F. Use a candy thermometer to test the temperature of your jam. Once it reaches 220 degrees F then it is ready to can.
Method #2: The sheet spoon test
For the sheet spoon test, put a metal spoon into the freezer. When you think the jam has set (or is close to setting), then put the spoon into the boiling jam and let the jam roll off the spoon. If it drips, it isn’t ready yet. If it sheets off, then it is ready to can.
Method #3: The wrinkle test
This test requires taking a little bit of your jam mixture out and pouring a small amount onto a glass plate. Put it in the freezer for one minute. When you remove it, push on it. If holds its form and starts to wrinkle, then it is ready.
If you need additional help, here is a great article with PHOTOS to help you fine tune these methods:
How to Test Homemade Jellies for the Gel Point
When cooking down the ingredients to make jelly, the hardest part of ensuring your ingredients cool to a nice jell is knowing when to remove them from heat. If you get it right, you’ll wind up with a batch of delicious preserves for your family, but if you get it wrong, you’ll end up with a mixture that’s more like syrup or candy.
When your honeyberry jam has reached the gel stage, you are ready to begin the canning process.
It is important to follow canning guidelines and safety when canning jam. I always wash and sterilize my jars prior to canning jam. A quick tip to do this is to simply run the jars through the dishwasher prior to starting your jam and turn the heat setting on. They will be nice and hot when you are ready to use them.
When you have your jars set out, scoop the jam into each jar. Make sure to leave 1/4″ headspace at top of each jar. You will want to use a clean rag to wipe around the edges of the top of the jar prior to canning them. This helps ensure a tight seal. If you have a jar that is not completely full to 1/4″, then put it in the fridge for immediate use. (Click here for a link to the canning supplies I use! #ad)
Here are the steps for how to can jam using a water bath:
- Pour jam into hot jars leaving 1/4″ of headspace.
- Clean around rim of jar.
- Place a lid (pre-heated in simmering water) on top of the jar.
- Place the ring on top of the jar.
- Lower the jar into a water bath canner with simmering water. Make sure the jar is completely submersed in the water.
- Boil the jars for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars and let them cool for 24 hours. You will hear a “pop” sound or a “plink” when the jars have completely sealed.
- Store the jars in a cool, dry place for future use. Check them periodically to make sure that they have sealed properly. Honeyberry Jam should be good for a year.
That’s it! Making honeyberry jam is super rewarding and fun. The best part of honeyberry jam is smothering it on top of freshly buttered homemade rolls! It will literally melt in your mouth!
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