hat’s a Marionberry you ask? It’s a hybrid fruit of the blackberry, which primarily grows wild in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The Marionberry originated in Marion County, Oregon in 1956, the very county in which I grew up. I subsequently spent many afternoons picking and eating marionberries whilst exploring the great outdoors.
Now, while visiting family in the Willamette Valley, my own kiddos get to experience the joy of picking and eating this snack right off the bush…but watch out for prickers! Both marionberries and blackberries are best picked while donning long-sleeves and pants because the best berries are usually deep within the briars, protected by their many thorns. Ouch!
Marionberries make delicious preserves, pies, cobblers and syrup. Marionberry jam is one of my very favorites (second only to my mom’s raspberry jam!).
On my last visit home, a friend gifted me with 3 quarts of marionberry juice which I instantly knew I’d turn into syrup. In our house we fly through maple syrup by the gallon. We try our best to use it in place of sugar where possible, but this gets quite spendy. To offset this cost I make fruit syrup from our cherries, plums and other berries we’re able to harvest. We use it to top waffles, pancakes and ice cream, as a dip for pork, or to flavor homemade kombucha or water kefir. I also cut the sugar by half (from typical syrup recipes) and we still end up with a delicious product!
I hope you enjoy this sweet, sticky treat as much as we do!
Supplies You Will Need:
- Water Bath Canner and Utencils
- Quart Jars with Lids and Bands – Perfect size for our family of six, alternatively, you could can in these pint sized jars.
- Large non- reactive pot
- Food Mill, Juicer or Vitamix Blender – I have both a juicer and a Vitamix. The juicer omits the need for a nut-milk bag to strain the pulp/seeds, but requires extra work to clean. A Food Mill is a good option but leaves a bit more waste and takes about twice as long to hand crank. My preferred method is to puree berries in the Vitamix, then strain through a nut milk bag.
- Nut Milk Bag (optional)
If this is your first time water bath canning, I recommend visiting the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They’re top-notch when it comes to information for all-things-canning.
3 cups Marionberry juice (or blackberry juice)
2 cups Organic sugar
3 Tbs Lemon juice
For Thicker Syrup:
1 1/2 tsp Pamona’s Pectin
3 tsp Calcium water (included in pectin)
3 tsp Calcium water (included in pectin)
To Make: This recipe will make approximately 4 cups of syrup, double or triple the recipe and can in your preferred size jars.
Step 1: Puree and strain fruit using a food mill, juicer or blender, then strain through a nut milk bag (if necessary) so only the juice remains.
Step 2: Add fruit juice and lemon juice to a large pot. If using, add pectin and calcium water now, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Step 3: Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Boil syrup until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes) and skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Step 4*: Remove from heat and fill hot, sterilized canning jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rim of jar with a clean, damp rag, apply lid and secure band.
Step 5: Process in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes depending on your elevation.
Step 6: Once jars have processed, carefully remove them from canner and place on a towel on the counter. Within a few minutes you should hear a popping sound, this is your lids sealing! Once jars are cool, remove bands and wipe jars to remove any syrup (you don’t want ants finding those jars hiding out in your root cellar!).
Store syrup in the pantry, basement or cellar and enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long!
* A few canning tips:
- Run your jars through the dishwasher to sterilize them, then leave them in the warm washer until ready to fill. This reduces the possibility of the glass cracking when filled with the hot syrup.
- Be sure to wipe the rims clean before adding lids. If any syrup remains on the jar before placing the lid, you risk the jar not sealing properly.
- When you secure the bands on your jars, only tighten them to “finger tip tight”. This means twist the band with your fingertips just until you feel resistance, then stop. While the jars are processing this will allow air to escape. Once the jars have cooled you can tighten the bands.
- Keep a pot of boiling water on the stove. If, once you add your jars to the canner, you need more water to cover the jars, you’ll have hot water to add and won’t halt the processing time.