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Blackberry-Bay Leaf Jam

Blackberries are especially delicious when transformed into a spread; if you add a bay leaf, a very subtle flavor change occurs, and the spoonfuls get bigger as they are scooped out of jars onto toast.

  • Yield: Makes about 4 cups
Blackberry-Bay Leaf Jam

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July


  • 3 pounds fresh blackberries
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 or 2 dried bay leaves


  1. Place a few small plates in the freezer. Stir together berries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt, and bay leaves in a large, heavy stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and mashing lightly with a potato masher. Skim foam from surface. Cook, stirring more frequently as jam thickens, until it is the consistency of very loose jelly, 10 to 11 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

  2. Press about half of the jam through a medium sieve; discard seeds. Return strained jam to pot, and stir until combined. Return to a boil.

  3. Remove a plate from freezer, and drop a spoonful of jam on it. Return to freezer for 1 to 2 minutes, then gently nudge edge of jam with a finger. If jam is ready, it should hold its shape. If jam is too thin and spreads out, return to a boil, testing every minute, until done. Remove bay leaves, and discard. Spoon hot jam into hot sterilized jars, and cover immediately with sterilized lids.

Reviews (8)

  • Bioterror 22 Jul, 2013

    This is my second time making this jam, and it really is fantastic. I used dried lavender instead of the bay leaves and the smell is unbelievable.

  • WaveneyValleyKiri 20 Aug, 2011

    This is an excellent recipe! I added extra lemon juice to be on the safe side, and used a mix of about 80% blackberries and 20% elderberries as they are both plentiful in the local area and a short walk along the river provided me with sufficient to make my first batch. I did find however that the pectin from the lemon zest and juice needed significantly longer than 10 mins at a rolling boil - I boiled for almost half an hour! But delicious nonetheless!

  • restoeff 24 Jul, 2011

    This recipe worked perfect for me! I was surprised because it was the first time I've made jam and there was no pectin in the recipe. Flavor is great! But then I had some great flavorful blackberries. I took my time and brought it up to temperature slowly and cooked it just as the recipe said. Testing in the freezer worked. This is a great "freezer" jam.

  • bettydog31 17 Sep, 2008

    Can you can this recipe? I usually make jam but use certo, so it gels and then I can it. How would I go about canning this? The same way?

  • SuzyJasper 11 Sep, 2008

    look at the raspberry orange zest jam and you'll get the rest of the recipe, although I never strain jam:
    Strain about half of the jam; discard seeds. Return strained jam to pot; stir in remaining teaspoon zest. Return to a boil. Remove from heat. Spoon hot jam into hot sterilized jars; cover immediately with sterilized lids.

  • beckle 11 Sep, 2008

    steps 2 and 3 are identical. seems to be incomplete! would like to know the rest; i have a lot of blackberries in my garden. ursula

  • sillyswede 11 Sep, 2008

    Okay, they did it again, looking at the quantities they are quoting, they are simply holding this in the fridge. So no, processing is not needed in that case. But please, if you plan on storing this jam, make enough quantity to process properly.

  • Bridgetb 11 Sep, 2008

    Regarding testing to see it jam is ready, 'holds its shape' is a bit vague. Rather you should test by pushing the surface, if it wrinkles, jam is ready.
    A thermometer is even better -- go to 219 F. and that's it.
    It is important that you get this right the first time. If jam runny, it is almost impossible to boil up again as you don't know how much water to add to replace what has evaporated in the first try. It will burn to the bottom before proper temp reached as too dry.

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