Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Skillet Blackberry Jam in Honor of my Mother for Mother’s Day

Blackberry jam was my mother’s favorite flavor of jam and every summer when the local blackberries were ripe, she canned lots of jars of blackberry jam. As I recall, every wooden spoon in her kitchen was stained dark blue. I am not a canner and have no desire to be, but when I came across this recipe for skillet jam, I knew I had to give it a try. Mom, I hope you are smiling down from heaven and know that I’m thinking of you today.

Skillet Blackberry Jam
Gourmet Comfort – makes about 1 ½ cups

1 lb fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries (4 cups)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin. I used Sure Jell. (Do not substitute liquid or low-sugar pectin.)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mash blackberries with a potato masher or a fork in a large bowl. Stir together the berries, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, then boil, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Transfer jam to a large shallow bowl, cover jam surface with wax paper, and chill until softly set, at least 30 minutes. Jam will set further if chilled longer. Jam keeps, chilled in an airtight container, for 2 weeks.

Dress the jam up a little and it makes a nice gift for a special lady in your life for Mother’s Day.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to share with you these words from The Help. I’m sure most, if not all of you, have either read the book or seen the movie. They are words to live by and something every child should be taught.

I grew up in the Deep South region of the US and my family had help. Rhoda was what you might call my “other mother.” My father was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII and when I was born, my mother and I lived with his parents.  While my mother taught school during the day, Rhoda babysat me, fed me, bathed me, changed my diapers, held me when I cried, and did whatever was necessary. When my grandmother walked up the block to her canasta game, it was Rhoda who pushed my stroller while one of my father’s bird dogs followed behind. Everyone in town knew where my grandmother was by where my empty baby stroller was, parked outside one of her friends’ home with the bird dog guarding it. I loved Rhoda with the same deep love and affection I gave to my mother and my grandparents, and later when my father returned home, to him as well.

Contrary to what the movie depicted about the South, not everyone that had help in households barred them from the bathroom or accused of stealing the family silver. In our home Rhoda was family. My mother taught her how to make blackberry jam I’m sure.

During that time pediatricians believed that babies should be fed on a schedule and if they cried, just let them, so that’s exactly what my mother did. And cry I did. While my mother was teaching, it was Rhoda that held me when I got cranky and comforted me when I was hungry. What’s funny now is that to this very day, when I get hungry and can't eat right away, I still get cranky. Very cranky, just ask my husband Meakin.

I haven’t heard from Rhoda since my parents died almost 28 years ago. But this I can tell you. She instilled in me those wonderful words from The Help and I am a much better person for it today.

I was very blessed to have two wonderful mothers. Happy Mother’s Day everyone.


  1. A wonderful ode to your mother. That jam looks amazing. Blackberries are some of my favorite berries/fruits.



  2. What a heartfelt post. My friend had "help." And I loved her. And they loved her. To this day, they never go on vacation without their beloved friend/member of the family. They have grown old together and have become one family. And the blackberry jam? Yes, going to give it a whirl - it doesn't overwhelm me!

  3. Sam what a great post, I love hearing about family and the different way people grew up. My favorite part of the movie was that..."You is kind, you is smart, you is important!" The blackberry jam sounds wonderful. I remember my mother and grandmother making jam after they went berry picking...nothing tastes better, or looked better! I will try this, besides raspberry, black berry jam is my favorite! I'm not a canner either, but I try making your mom's jam!

  4. This is a jam that I could make! My mother, were she here to partake, would spread it on a biscuit with a knife much like the one in your photo. She called it a "case" knife. We called it old-fashioned. I'd love to have her set today.

    I so agree about the south and the "help". I grew up with the delightful Safronia who was thought of as family. My children had Florence who loved them dearly and they loved her.


  5. What a loving post! Never thought of making jam with blackberries; sure looks good and would be perfect for Sunday.
    Really enjoyed The Help movie.

  6. Good Morning Sam

    Your blackberry jam sounds delicious and I think your dear mummy would be thrilled. I love the image of the wooden spoons in a permanent state of deep purple.
    I am probably the last person in the world who has not seen the Help. My art parner, Mary Rose, like you in a Southerner, 5th generation and made a very similar comment to yours about loving "her Ninny" like a second mother.

    Have a glorious day

    Helen xx
    PS thank you for your kind and cheerful visit

  7. The minute I read those words in the box I knew they came from The Help. I'm so glad that you had Rhoda in your life. And love you Mom's purple spoon. Great post Sam.

  8. Looks like a great way to remember your two mom's.

  9. I love this post, Sam. It was wonderful of you to share your memories of your dear mother and your dear Rhoda. My grandmother had dear Vi. At times, Vi lived in the house with my grandparents and their four sons. My grandfather also built Vi her own house just across the driveway. Vi and her children often stayed there. When Vi became very old, she went "home" to stay with some of her children, but her daughter, Marie, stayed with my grandmother until they were both quite old.

    Blackberry preserves are my favorite. Oh, and apricot, too.

    Happy Mother's Day.♥

  10. What a beautiful post!
    There isn't anything better than Blackberry Jam....unless it is apricot!

  11. What a sweet Mother's Day post. And I'm going to try the jam recipe.

  12. You've mentioned your mother's affinity for blackberries to me in the past, so it's so nice to see this recipe and hear the stories of your formative years! How wonderful to be surrounded by love from all the adults in your life - what a blessing!

  13. Sam, what a wonderful memory you shared with us all. I so love to read novels about the South. It was a different way of living than where I grew up in a German community in Iowa. I am guessing you could write a book about your pasat too, couldn't you?

    Love your jam. Susan

  14. What a lovely post! And the jam sounds wonderful, too. I've saved the recipe to try later. My grandma cans all sorts of jellies and jams still and sends them to everyone - we're scattered all over the world now. My favorite is her cherry jam - delicious.

  15. Hi Sam,

    What a thoughtful post : so moving & touching! Well written too!
    You were very lucky to have Rhoda in your life & visa versa, I believe! This jam looks wonderfully tasty! :) Yum Yum Yum!

  16. this post was so wonderful and sweet. Your mother would be proud. I love jam and this looks like the perfect way to start a wonderful mother's day!

  17. A lovely pairing of recipe and memory . . . looking forward to lots of berries this years-- all the wild bushes were heavy with bloom

  18. What a wonderful post... and I wonder if Rhoda is still alive and could be contacted? She would surely love to read this, at the very least.

    I loved The Help... and was a bit taken back by how they were treated, so glad times have changed. It's also good to know that it wasn't necessarily "the norm".

    Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  19. Oh Sam, so nice this post of yours...I enjoyed reading about your mom and about you when growing up...I loved reading and watching the Help...and learned so much about that time...things that I'd never imagine...
    Thanks for sharing such a nice post and hope you are having a wonderful week :)

  20. What a fascinating story and insight into another world, thank you for sharing - the story and the jam !

  21. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and was totally transported to the time you so eloquently described. Thank you for sharing it with readers.

    P.S. It's nice to know that making jam doesn't have to be a major commitment.

  22. What a beautiful tribute to both your mother and Rhoda. And I agree with you that not all Southern homes were as depicted in the book. My mother worked and I wish we had someone to take care of my siblings and me; we basically took care of ourselves and got into quite a bit of mischief! I love this jam recipe and one day will try to can some jam too. Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

  23. one of the women in my book club is from the south....and had help...and as we discussed the book she enlightened us all...amazing..
    that jam looks perfect! just perfect!

  24. This post brought tears to my eyes. I still have both of my parents and remind myself to always be in close touch as our days with them are numbered.

    For people who did not grow up in the south as we did, there are many misunderstandings about the love we had and still have for our 'help' as a member of the family - forever!

    Delhia, I am remembering you.


  25. What a beautiful and well-written post, Sam! Thank you.

  26. Wonderful post, wonderful jam, wonderful words to live by.

  27. What a wonderful, wonderful post Sam. I loved the movie The Help and the "you is smart....." was one of the most precious moments of that film. I'm one of those "cranky when I don't eat" people too. Again, thanks for such a lovely write up.

  28. A lovely post, dedicated to your Mother and Rhoda. The Help was an outstanding movie. I always made Blackberry jam when I was younger.
    I have never seen it made in a skillet. Happy Mother's Day.

  29. Super Mother's Day post, Sam. I loved reading about Rhoda! Such wonderful memories.
    We ALL get cranky when we haven't eaten! :)
    Have never made skillet blackberry jam (always makes me smile when the British call it Bramble Jam) but this sure looks good.
    My mother never made much with blackberries, but she did make freezer jams, usually strawberry and blueberry.

  30. That was a beautiful post to your Mom and also to Rhoda. I make balckberry jam, too. Yours looks like an easy one. I shared a recipe in honor of my Mom, too, which is a Heath Bar Cake Roll. Happy Mother's Day!

  31. Oh Sam, What a beautiful post! I really did love that movie- and although I grew up a yankee, I would have loved to be a southern gal! The jam looks scrumptious- I can't wait to try it!
    Sparkly Hugs,
    Tobi and the Pixies!

  32. Sam- it's me again! I am so glad i found you- i just started following you on pinterest and found you love France too!!! it is my dream to go there someday and take a few cooking classes! Please let me know if you know of any good ones- I really love the classics, and pastry as well...that's cause I'm a big fattie!
    Anyway, have a great weekend- so glad to have met you!
    More sparkly Hugs,
    Tobi and the Pixies

  33. My Dear Sam,
    Your moving post has touched my very southern roots and brought tears to my eyes today. What a wonderful tribute to these two wonderful women in your life.

    Your Blackberry Jam will be on my table with fresh Blackberries from my garden.

    Hope you have a Very Special Week End and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  34. This sounds really delicious. Has my mouth watering for a taste. Love Blackberry everything.

  35. I love homemade blackberry jam ... looks delicious!


  36. Your mother had good taste. I love anything that has blackberry written on it.

  37. lovely post I think me and M parent like Rhonda hugs to you

  38. Fabulous pink you have this week, very inspiring!

    My PINK, have a great weekend!

  39. The jam looks delicious!!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Pink Saturday and Happy Mother's Day! xo Tami

  40. The jam looks sublime!
    Happy Mother's Day, Sam!!!

  41. What a lovely present to discover you today!! We've made many a jar of jam (many kinds) in a skillet---even "bought" fruit and berries in Winter, just to have that lovely sweet scent of home in the house.


  42. What a moving post about your mother and Rhoda. I disdain that philosophy of scheduling so strictly that children must cry when they are hungry. How horrible. Thank goodness Rhoda didn't believe in it. This jam is a wonderful way to remember your moms.

  43. Nice tribute to your mother! This reminds me of the jams from Loveless Cafe in Nashville, great stuff.

  44. Oh man! Do you have to be a mom to request this? Wowsa :)

  45. What a love tribute...I'm sure your mother is smiling.

  46. What a great tribute to both your mothers :) I adore blackberry jam, too...and glad to know I can make a batch without all the mess (and fear, in my case) of canning! It looks marvelous. Happy Mother's Day, my friend!

  47. What a blessing to have 2 loving mothers... what a beautiful tribute to all!
    Blackberry jam is one of my favorites too!
    Happy Mother's Day, dear friend!

  48. Beautiful post. Happy Pink Mother's Day!

  49. Happy Mothers Day Sam. You were lucky to have two moms that took such good care of you!

  50. What a lovely story, Sam. Thank you for sharing it with us. Making jam was a wonderful way to remember for mothers. I hope you had a very special weekend.

  51. The jam is lovely, Sam but your memories are truly sweet. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  52. Der Sam, This is a heartwarming tribute to your mom and to Rhoda. Thank you for
    sharing you childhood memories with your readers.
    I am sure that your mother is pleased with this jam and can taste it from Heaven.
    Blessings dear friend. Catherine xo

  53. MMM LOVELY PICS:)in here I really like your blog and I will happily follow.

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria at

  54. Such a wonderful post - thanks for sharing this about your mom and Rhoda - the jam looks delectable
    Mary x

  55. Sam, this was a great blog post. I really enjoyed reading it-it was so heartfelt.

    As for the blackberry jam, pretty darn delicious. I am trying to be a canner but, it is debatable.

    Happy Mother's Day to you.


  56. Thank you fo sweet words on my blog:) I follow you on Fb and I hope you will follow me also:)

    If you like beautiful table settings..check out my new post:)
    have a great weekend.

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis

  57. Congratulations Sam,
    Your very moving tribute is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Hope you have a great week end and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

  58. I follow your blog and love it.

    I would love to live in Paris just to learn how to:

    tie a scarf,
    and shop for dresses.

    Peggy Carter

  59. What a wonderful story, Sam. I loved that book and even though I was born and raised in Ohio, I know you are right on that most of the help was not treated that way. When I married my husband, who is from the deep south, his mother had help come in, and they too were like family. Loved this story.

  60. blackberries! I absolutely adore them! :)

  61. Love the jam recipe, and the photo makes me drool. I bet it would freeze well, too, for those who can't use it up quickly enough.

  62. I love hearing other people's stories of when they were young. Your story - the whole story - must be fascinating. I love blackberry jam, love it, and this recipe looks wonderful! And easy enough for someone like me who has always been afraid of making jam!


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