Juneberry Jelly Recipe

Because extensive searching on the internet for a good, solid, Juneberry jelly recipe yielded up really, really dismal results (and incidentally, Jam and Jelly are entirely separate things, internet search parameters!) I have taken it upon myself to post EXACTLY how to make really, really good Juneberry jelly.

FIRST:  Most of you are saying “What’s a Juneberry?” Good question. Juneberries also are called serviceberries, Saskatoon, and ten thousand other names. I personally had never heard of them myself until our landlord planted a bunch of what he called Serviceberry trees in our two-acre yard, some years ago.  For many years, the birds beat us to all the berries, but this year, for some special, magical reason, the trees produced a record number of berries and the birds seemed blase about them. We picked a bunch of them while red, and made jelly, which is good but not amazing. But when we picked them purple and made jelly, WORDS FAIL ME. SO GOOD.

SECOND: The berry color matters. Don’t pick them yellow, EVER, and don’t even pick them red – be patient, battle the birds, do whatever you gotta do but only harvest fully ripe, succulent purple berries.  They’ve got the juice and the flavor you need.

THIRD: Juice the berries. Throw them in a saucepan with about a half cup of water and boil them up.  When they are bubbly, mash them down with a potato masher to release all the juice. Cool, strain to obtain clear juice, and if you are so inclined, throw the pulp in the blender to make a smoothie, or puree it smooth to dry for fruit leathers.  Or toss it out. I don’t judge.

FOURTH:  Make da jelly!  Here comes the recipe. This recipe assumes you have basic canning equipment and knowledge, including a hot water bath pot.

MAGNIFICENTLY PERFECT (UNLESS YOU HAVE PECTIN PROBLEMS, SEE COMMENTS!) JUNEBERRY JELLY

  • Get 7 jelly jars scrubbed with very hot water and soap, rinsed well, and waiting. Same with 7 rings. Get 7 lids simmering in a small saucepan. Get your hot water bath heating.
  • Pour 3-1/2 cups of Juneberry juice into a large pan.
  • Add 5 teaspoons of powdered Pectin (buy it in a plastic jar, and you can measure it out. Juneberries need LESS pectin than other berries. Thus, those boxed packets of pre-measured pectin are too much!  You need a little less.)
  • Bring the juice and the pectin to a rolling boil, while whisking it the entire time. Hold the boil for a full minute.
  • Add 4 cups of regular granulated sugar.
  • Bring to a boil again, whisking all the way, and hold it for a minute.
  • QUICKLY (it’s gonna jell!) ladle the jelly into the jars leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top.
  • Add lids, twist on rings, boil in hot water bath for ten minutes.
  • If you did everything right, and the berries were purple – you now possess the finest jelly in the universe. Congratulations.
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17 Replies to “Juneberry Jelly Recipe”

  1. I also have a comment about tasteless serviceberries. We have a row of them, and only one of the bushes has tasty berries. The rest of the bushes are bland and what I would describe as mealy even though they all get the same water, etc. I’ve looked on the web for cultivating tips but nothing seems pertinent to my situation. Maybe it’s the composition of our soils here. Anyway, I picked the good ones, made one jar of really nice syrup and called it good.

    1. They can be fickle bushes/trees! I have one on my front hill that produces only tiny, dry berries, while the trees in my back yard have plumper, juicer berries. My landlord a half block away has massive, older trees that make berries that put ALL mine to shame! He doesn’t pick them, so this year I started harvesting from his trees. I really wish I knew more about how to help a tree grow lush berries.

  2. We are surrounded by Serviceberries year after year, but we leave them to the birds while picking and processing a slew of other wild berries. We pick huckleberries, chokeberries, elderberries, raspberries, and in the fall it’s Wild Rosehips. 30+ years ago my granny told me that although the berries were sweet they had no real flavor. I still try one on occasion, and it seems true every time that the berry lacks any real flavor. I always feel wasteful for not using them, though. Now I’m wondering if we just live in a region, or grow a particular species, that lacks flavor? Maybe cooking the berries brings out their flavor? Thank you.

    1. I envy the bounty of berries you enjoy! And one of these days I’d like to learn more about wild rosehips too. As for the serviceberry flavors, I think the crucial factors are color – they need to go well past red and into deep purple for best flavor and juice, and I do think sugar brings out their flavor too. I’ve eaten them right off the tree, and it’s a much lighter flavor than when I make jelly or syrups. Your area could play into it too – I hear that in Northern Michigan (I’m in Southern Michigan) the serviceberries are MUCH bigger and more flavorful. They grow harvests for markets up there!

  3. I’m so sad 🙁 Last year, I made 8 large (500ml) jars of jam from the service berries that grow on the tree in our front yard. It was delicious but the seeds are quite large and can be a bit bitter, so this year I decided to make jelly instead and found your recipe. I followed it to the letter last night and ended up with 2 large (500ml) and 1 small (250ml) jars of SYRUP! I don’t know what went wrong. It tastes delicious but I really wanted jelly, not syrup. Do you know if I can just dump it all back into a saucepan and add more pectin and then re-process it in my canner? Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Sadly, it can’t be re-processed! On the happy side, you have lots of syrup to enjoy through the year and I can personally vouch for how delicious it is over French Vanilla ice cream. I recommend leaving it preserved, so it does not spoil. My own jelly, 18 jars, this year came out a bit syrupy too. And I even upped the pectin from the original recipe. I’d be happy to learn of any advice to get it to gel harder, myself. I added a heaping spoonful more of pectin this year – maybe we need TWO!

    1. I’ve never used liquid pectin, so I hesitate to advise. I see various bits of advise on the web when I google – so I’d suggest just gritting your teeth and diving in to try one! Best of luck!

    1. Yes, you can double the recipe – but be aware that the jelly will start setting, so you have to fill the jars quickly! That’s more of a challenge with a double batch.

  4. I have 2 questions. I just want to make sure that the amount of powered pectin is 5 teaspoons not 5 tablespoons. The next questions is how do I make juneberry syrup and water bath processing times?

    1. Yes, five teaspoons is correct! For making juice, look in the recipe look under the step called “THIRD”. If you want to make syrup, you could heat the juice with sugar in it, to your particular taste, but this recipe calls for juice, not syrup.

      Water bath processing time – I process jelly for ten minutes then cool on a towel on my counter.

      Have fun!

  5. Sounds good, but the idea of a recipe is the quanties involved. So, how many cups of ripe berries are added to that half cup of water.
    So far, I have 12 cups of berries to get a jelly recipe going, but lack a recipe.

    1. I’d say between 6 and 8 cups of berries, for a half cup of water. The reason for the water is simply to coat the bottom of the pan about 1/4″ deep, so the berries don’t scorch before they start juicing.

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