Come learn the recipe for the best jam made with the little-known fruit called Beautyberries.
There’s nothing better than jam on warm, buttered toast! Am I right? With a glass of cold milk and the knowledge you made it with your own two hands. (And with minimal effort, music to my ears!) What’s your favorite kind of jam to use? Strawberry, grape, orange marmalade? My favorite used to be seedless raspberry jam. But I have fallen in love with a new jam that you won’t find on any grocery store shelves. Beautyberry Jam.
Watch the Video!
I had about 24 cups of the berries stashed in my freezer! Watch me make SO MUCH JAM!
It’s lovely and sweet and delightful with such a unique, delicious flavor. It goes well with anything you’d put any other jam on but it brings a little unexpected flair to the mix. It’s really the best jam out there. And the best part, IT’S SUPER EASY TO MAKE. But first, let me tell you a little but about it.
What Are Beautyberries?
- Beautyberry bushes grow in the wild in the Southeastern part of the United States and other parts of the world. They are also know as the American Mulberry.
- The berries can be purple or white.
- They are often used for landscaping because the bright color of the berries. You can purchase a plant here.
- The berries are ripe from late summer to early fall and can be picked through winter, until the berries turn brown.
- The berries are a food source for many kinds of animals and can be made into jam.
We first discovered them when we lived in Northern Florida and were delighted to find them again in Texas! We’re big fans of trying edible things from the wild. It makes you feel tough and a little wild yourself 🙂
The berries grow in big clumps all packed together. And they are a super, bright purple. Like, “don’t touch that, it’s probably poisonous”- kind of purple. Most people use them for landscaping and are surprised to know they are edible, let alone make the best jam!
The best way to pick them is to have someone else (good job for one of the kids) hold a big bowl or pot under the branch and then you just run your hand down the main shaft of the branch, knocking off all the little berries. It kind feels like popping off little Styrofoam balls because they aren’t very juicy. And the smell is very interesting. It’s almost like a lemon/lime soda smell to me. Very pleasant.
Nathan says it smells like spaghetti-Os. Interesting.
What do you think they smell like?
The leaves are supposed to make mosquitoes leave you alone. I didn’t really notice if that was true, personally. I know there are tutorials out there for turning them into mosquito repellant but I haven’t tried any yet.
How Do The Berries Taste?
The berries themselves have a very mild flavor and each one has a seed inside. So, they aren’t great to just snack on straight off the bush.
The flavor of the jam is hard to pinpoint but I have a friend who described it as having “a rich berry flavor with floral notes”.
The sounds about right. Like if your loveliest floral perfume tasted like the most delicious berries.
How to Make the Best Jam From Beautyberries
- 6 cups of beautyberries
- 8 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 packages low-sugar pectin (about 4 1/2 tablespoons)
-Rinse the berries and pick out any bugs and spiders trying to hitch a ride. Take out leaves and any big twigs but anything else will get strained out later with the seeds.
-Pour 4 cups of berries into a big pot with 8 cups of water. Let that come to a boil and boil it for 20 minutes. The berries will be mostly floating on top at this point.
-Mash the berries against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon and then boil for another 20 minutes. The berries should be mostly under the surface of the water now.
-Use a fine sieve or cheesecloth and strain out all the skin and seeds.
-Return the juice to the pot and let boil until you have 4 cups of liquid.
I’ve had a few questions about this part. You use ALL the juice you just strained out of the seed and skin. Sometimes I have 6 cups of liquid at this point so I put it all back into the rinsed pot and continue to boil it until enough water evaporates so that I have 4 cups of concentrated berry juice.
-Once you have 4 cups of liquid, add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Up until this point the berries and juice will be an unappealing brown but the lemon juice restores a lot of the color.
-In a bowl, Mix 1 and a 1/2 packages (about 4 1/2 tablespoons) of low-sugar pectin with 4 cups of sugar. Dump the sugar mixture into the pot and let it come back to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
-Take it off the heat and let cool. It will thicken more as it cools. And enjoy the best jam from Beautyberries out there!
How to Store the Jam?
I used to can the jam but I have iffy canning skills and would often wonder if I was about to make my family violently sick every time we opened a new jar.
So I started freezing it instead. I take the less pretty (but way easier) route and just stuff it all into gallon freezer bags.
We take out a bag every now and then and have it on toast, ice cream, pancakes, biscuits, you name it.
I like to get a loaf of french bread from Walmart and toast some slices with butter. Delicious, cheap and gives me that rustic “I-made-the-bread-too” feeling.
Try the jam in thumbprint cookies. It’s awesome. So good!! Buttery, fruity, rich!! You’ll love it and they’re so pretty!
You can use the recipe from my post about Raspberry Almond Thumbprint cookies but swap the raspberry jam for beautyberry.
I’ve brushed up on my canning skills and now I have a few posts sharing how I like to do the whole process. Some of it might be a little weird but as Paige from Farmhouse Vernacular says “Your kitchen, your rules”. Check out how I make and can Wild Mustang Grape Jelly HERE.
You might also like this post about making Poor Man’s Honey AKA Mesquite Bean Jelly.
Some Final Notes
*I had my berries in my freezer for about five months before finally making them into jam this time. My jam is more of a dark apricot color but I promise it is a lot prettier if you make the jam from fresh berries.
*If your jam doesn’t thicken up, just call it syrup and that’s good enough 🙂
Remember: It’s Good Enough
Remember to notice your kids as they scrabble around to get the best berry-picking spots. Watch them as they take their first bite of the jam. Love their little faces as they discover this new flavor. And if they wrinkle their nose and proclaim “gross!”, laugh and say “more for me you little stinker!”
You’re making memories and finding satisfaction in doing just enough:)
Don’t forget to pin it!
- 6 cups beautyberries
- 8 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 packages low sugar pectin (about 4 1/2 tablespoons)
- Rinse the berries and pick out any bugs and spiders trying to hitch a ride. Take out leaves and any big twigs but anything else will get strained out later with the seeds.
- Pour the berries into a big pot with 8 cups of water. Let that come to a boil and boil it for 20 minutes. The berries will be mostly floating on top at this point.
- Mash the berries against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon and then boil for another 20 minutes. The berries should be mostly under the surface of the water now.
- Use a fine sieve or cheesecloth and strain out all the skin and seeds.
- Return ALL of the the juice to the rinsed pot and let it boil until it reduces down and you have 4 cups of liquid.
- Add the lemon juice. -Up until this point the berries and juice will be an unappealing brown but the lemon juice restores a lot of the color.
- In a bowl, mix the low-sugar pectin with the sugar. Dump the sugar mixture into the pot and let it come back to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
- Take it off the heat and let cool. It will thicken more as it cools. And enjoy the best jam from Beauty Berries out there!
If the jam doesn't thicken up you can re-boil it and add more pectin. OR just call it syrup and pretend you meant to do that 🙂
Serving Size:2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 49Total Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 12.5gSugar: 12.5g