Yesterday Nick and I picked blackberries from alongside the river near our home. We collected about half a kilo. We could tell from the number of already-picked twigs that a lot of hungry people had already walked past! There are still heaps of blackberries ripening so I am hoping for another crop in the next couple of weeks.
I decided that it was time to make my first-ever batch of jam. I thought it would be difficult, but it really wasn’t. Having researched online I knew that the most important thing is to sterilise the jars, the second most important thing is to use equal quantities of fruit and jam sugar, and the third most important thing is to put a saucer in the freezer before starting. I sterilised the jars by putting them in the oven at 170 degrees for 10 minutes while I made the jam. There are other ways including dishwasher and microwave.
The recipe is simple: cook the berries (any kind – I made blackberry and raspberry) over a low heat with some lemon juice (2 tablespoons for 450g fruit) until the juices run and the fruit starts to break down. Add jam sugar (equal in weight to the fruit) and stir for 1-2 minutes until it is dissolved. Crank up the heat to full blast, and boil rapidly for 4 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, and drop a blob of jam onto the frozen saucer. Wait about 10 seconds for it to cool, then push it with a finger. If it wrinkles, it is ready. If not, boil and test again in 1 minute increments, until it has reached setting point. Leave it to settle for a few minutes (this stops the fruit from sinking to the bottom), then ladle into the sterilised jars while they are still warm. Seal the jars while hot.
I tasted some on some toast the next day and it was delicious!