Elderberry, Mixed Berry Jam Recipe [With Water Bath Canning Instructions]
Updated: Aug 23
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you.
Elderberry is an absolute superfood! These little berries are packed full of antioxidants and are known for immune system support! Visit any pharmacy or health food store and you’ll see elderberries sold in various pills, gummies, syrups, and powders. However, supplements are not regulated by the FDA and so there’s never a guarantee that what’s advertised on the bottle is what’s actually in the bottle. Even if the supplement actually contains what is advertised, the body usually absorbs nutrients better from whole foods. Save your money, and get elderberries in your diet in the form of jam! It’s so much tastier to eat jam on a slice of sourdough instead of taking a pill. Water-bath can the jam, and you have yourself the perfect gift to give to friends and family for Christmas! See my list here for 7 gift ideas for homesteaders!
Sourcing your elderberries can be a bit tricky. You can either purchase a plant to grow your own or purchase dried elderberries. You could grow an elderberry plant in your yard, or a very large pot if you’re renting. I do not have an elderberry plant on my property to pick the berries from, BUT they grow wild all over many parts of the US! Just this year, I made elderberry syrup, various jams, and wine all from elderberries I foraged near my home. We live outside of the city limits, and elderberries grow all over near where we live! I foraged many 5-gallon buckets in August just from backroads near our house.
We live in Zone 7b, and the American elderberry is the most common variety that grows near us. There is also the European/black elderberry, red Elderberry, and Blue Elderberry. Please do your own research to learn about what variety grows near you, and practice SAFE foraging. Please be very safe when foraging elderberries. There are poisonous look-alikes to the elderberry bush, so do thorough research. I usually start by using an app called Seek. That usually gives me a good starting point for my research. But please, do not just rely on one app. If you’re using a foraging app such as Seek, use it only as a launching point to do more research. I will say though, after researching the ins and outs of elderberries native to my area, I felt very confident identifying the plants. If you’re uncomfortable foraging, you can purchase them dried, or purchase a plant to grow your own.
While the berry and the flower of elderberries are delicious and very healthy, the rest of the plant (leaves, stem, and roots) are toxic for human consumption. The berries also need to be cooked or they will cause stomach distress. In every recipe I’ve made so far with elderberries, I have made a syrup with the elderberries, and then strained off the actual berries. This recipe calls for syrup, so the actual berries will not be consumed. Don’t worry though, you’ll still be getting all the nutrients that the elderberry is famous for!
This recipe is very flexible and can be made with a variety of berries. The best berries for this recipe are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Most grocery stores sell this mixture in the frozen fruit section. I used equal amounts of each berry, but if you like one berry more than the others, feel free to use more. If you don’t like blackberries or other berries or leave them out. It’s up to you! I grow all of these berries in my garden, and so usually, I have a surplus of mixed berries in my freezer. This is a great recipe to use up any extra berries from the summer growing season!
Elderberry, Mixed Berry Jam Recipe:
2 pounds of berries (or 7 cups) of berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
5 tablespoons Lemon juice
2 cups elderberry syrup
First, make elderberry syrup
1. Add the berries and lemon juice to a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes and then bring the heat down to low and let the mixture simmer. Depending on how you like your jam, you can take a potato masher during this time and mash up your berries to get a smoother texture.
2. Add 2 cups of elderberry syrup.
3. Allow the mixture to cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep the mixture from sticking. Cook the mixture until it begins to thicken. Keep in mind, once the mixture cools, it will thicken up, so don’t let it get too thick on the stovetop.
Tip: To see if your jam is done, you can test it by placing about a teaspoon on a frozen ceramic plate. Once on the plate, the jam should cool quickly and show what the true consistency will be. If the jam is too runny on the plate, let it simmer more.
Tip: If you plan to can your jam, go ahead and begin sterilizing the jars, and bring water to a boil in your pot while the jam simmers.
Canning the jam:
If you plan to water-bath can the jam, it’s best to do this immediately after the jam is finished cooking. Do not let the jam cool down and then attempt to can it. Adding cool cans to a water-bath canner will cause the jars to break (speaking from experience). It’s best to have a pot designed for water-bath canning with a rack, bubble remover, ruler, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, jar wrench & jar funnel. Here’s a good one.
1. Sterilize 8-ounce jars with 2-piece lids.
Tip: I usually either hand wash them or run them through the dishwasher. To fully sterilize them, and to keep them hot before you add the jam, I submerge them with lids off in the canning pot while the water comes to a boil.
2. Fill your water bath canning pot to a boil. You can do this while your jam is still simmering.
3. Once the water is boiling, or close to boiling, fill your 8-ounce jars with jam. Leave ¼ inch headspace. Using either a small spatula or a butter knife, run it along the outer walls of the jar to remove any air bubbles.
4. Clean the rim of the jars, so there is no debris. Use a clean cloth dry or with water only. Do not use vinegar or anything else to clean the rim. It can disrupt the seal. Hand tighten the 2 piece lids.
5. Place the jars in the rack in the boiling water. There should be at least an inch of water covering the jars. Place the lid on the pot again and let the jar process for 15 minutes.
6. After 15 minutes, carefully remove the jars, and set them right-side-up on a towel. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature. You should hear popping noises as the lids each seal as they cool.
7. After the jam is cooled, check each seal. If the lids are properly sealed, they should not pop up and down when pressed. If you have any jars with unsealed lids, place the jam in the refrigerator and eat within 3 months.
8. Label the sealed jams and put them away to store. Properly sealed jams should last at least 2 years if stored in a dark and cool place.
This picture includes 2 jars of salsa I canned at the same time as the jam.
And that’s it! Enjoy your homemade, immune-boosting jam! I love this jam on sourdough toast and biscuits! It also makes a great Christmas gift to loved ones. Let me know in the comments what you think of this recipe!