To say that marionberries are dear to the hearts of Oregonians is like saying that kids like pizza and ice cream: a total understatement. If something can be made with marionberries in this state, it will be done. Pie. Jam. Yogurt. Ice cream. Pancakes.
And for the love of Portlandia, don’t call them “blackberries.” This is one of those parts of the show that is pretty darn close to the truth (see also: allergy parade, Battlestar Galactica, cool wedding… oh wait, most of it is pretty darn close). But if you go over to vendors of Oregon-flavored things like Tillamook, blackberry is a completely separate flavor from marionberries. They know what’s up.
Marionberries are a blackberry varietal that was developed by Oregon State University and the USDA. They are only grown in Oregon, which is one of the reasons everyone who lives here thinks they are great. They have a slightly different, more complex and just… different flavor than your average blackberry. They also tend to be enormous – think the size of 2-3 large raspberries.
I made this recipe with marionberries that Dave and I picked ourselves and paid a whole $2/lb. for. However, if you absolutely must… you could probably make this recipe with, well…
“regular” blackberries (and you may wish to de-seed them). And you could definitely put it on top of/in pancakes.
Here’s what you need:
8 cups marionberries or blackberries
4 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 Tbsp. Ball Classic Pectin
A note about jams and pectin: Do not mess with the sugar ratio without changing to low sugar pectin. Also, it is not advisable to do more than two batches of this at once, as that could mess up the setup process.
Start by sanitizing all of your jars and rings by either boiling for ten minutes or running through a sanitation cycle in the dishwaser, and gently heat but DO NOT boil the lids in a separate small pan.
Add the berries, one layer at a time, to a nonreactive pan such as enameled cast iron over medium heat. Smoosh each layer with a potato masher before you add the next. Stir in all other ingredients except pectin. Bring to a boil, and hold at a rolling boil for about five minutes.
Next, add the pectin, stirring constantly while you sprinkle it in. Bring back to a boil for another five minutes, then remove from heat. Transfer to hot, sterilized jars and process via a water bath. Adapted from Food in Jars.