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Blueberry Jam in jar with teaspoon resting on top surrounded by blueberries & lemon rinds.
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5 from 8 votes

Simple Elderberry Jam

My Simple Elderberry Jam recipe is made with just 3 ingredients and no added pectin nor jam sugar. Bursting with fruity goodness, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your foraged Elderberries!
Course Breakfast, Snack, teatime
Cuisine British
Keyword foraging, hedgerow, no pectin
Servings 3 jars (x 200 mls)
Author Camilla Hawkins


  • bowl
  • colander or salad spinner
  • preserving pan or large stainless steel cooking pot with lid
  • long wooden spoon
  • ladle
  • jam funnel
  • 3 x 200 ml glass jars and lids
  • Kettle
  • enamel baking tray
  • oven gloves


  • 500 g ripe elderberries prepared weight (see recipe for details)
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 100 ml water


  • knob of butter or coconut oil to remove scum


  • Prepare your elderberries by removing from stems with a fork (or you can use your fingers). If you have any red or green ones it’s easier to remove by hand before you strip the stem as picking through a bowl of elderberries is not easy as they are so small. Now is the time to weigh the elderberries and I’d allow another 20 grams for the debris and red berries that you’ll end up throwing away.
  • Immerse the elderberries in water and rinse several times until the water runs clear to remove any insects or debris. Pick out any stems or unripe berries, you just want black elderberries.
  • Place the elderberries in a preserving pan or similar with 100 ml of water.
  • Crush the berries to release their juices and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes with a lid on, stirring a couple of times with a wooden spoon.
  • Turn the heat down to a minimum and stir in the sugar and lemon juice and carry on stirring until sugar has completely dissolved (do not simmer). (Dragging your spoon across the pan there should be no crunching sounds).
  • Then turn the heat up high and bring to a rolling boil and time for 6 minutes once it starts, stirring frequently to prevent the jam sticking to the pan.
  • Take off the heat and test a few drops of jam on a chilled saucer and place in the fridge for a minute.
  • Then run a finger through it, it should be tacky and not run back to the void your finger has just created. My jam was ready at 8 minutes and only showed the vaguest attempt at a wrinkle (this jam is very easy to over cook so please err on the side of caution)!
  • If your jam hasn’t reached setting point then boil for another 2 minutes and repeat the test until ready.
  • Stir the jam well to remove any scum but if that doesn’t work you can add a knob of butter or coconut oil for a vegan friendly option.
  • Pot up into 3 x 200 ml sterilised jars, a ladle and jam funnel are really useful here.
  • Place lids on immediately and allow to cool.
  • Store in a cool dark place and once opened store in the fridge and eat within a few months.
  • Jam best eaten in the first year but will be shelf stable for many years.



Before you start:
Place 2 - 3 saucers/small plates in the freezer.
Sterilise jars by washing in hot soapy water (or take straight from dishwasher), fill with boiling water, empty and then place in oven for 20 minutes at 140°C where you leave them until the jam is ready. Washed lids should be sterilised with boiling water and then left to drain (if still wet place in oven once you’ve turned the heat off and run with just the fan for a few minutes).