Blackberry Mania! | Jam
I’ve discovered blackberries! They’re these saucy little berries that grow in abundance by the roadside this time of year. If like me you’re drawn toward the idea of relatively cheap and delicious food, and you’ve found yourself with a bucket load of blackberries then this recipe is for you!
Wild Blackberry + Elderberry Jam
600g granulated sugar
Old and squishy berries contain less pectin, which is the compound that reacts with sugar and heat to create jelly. Young berries contain heaps of pectin, but they can be hard and too tart to eat. Your best bet is to use berries that are just ripe. You can add extra pectin (easily bought from your local supermarket) if you’re not sure, or half a cup of fresh lemon juice will also help set a nice firm jam. The elderberries in this jam are optional. I added them for a bit of variety and because I had heaps left over from my last foray in the hedgerows.
Begin by sterilising your jars and lids. Make sure they are spotless and then let them sit in an oven at 70 degrees Celsius for about half an hour. Take them out just before you bottle your jam. You can also sterilise your jars by boiling them in a pan of hot water, microwaving them, or sticking them in the dishwasher on the steam cycle.
After picking your berries and cleaning them thoroughly in cold water, add them to a large non reactive pot (i.e. one that isn’t aluminium, copper or cast iron). A gas stovetop works well for this so you can quickly control the heat if it looks like things may bubble over. Bring the berries to boil. If you like, use a potato masher to crush the berries so your finished product isn’t so chunky. Personally, I like chunky jam :)
After boiling for ten minutes, lower the heat and add all of the sugar. Stir until dissolved.
Once the sugar is dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly for ten minutes. DO NOT stir mixture at all at this point. If it looks like the mixture may bubble over, gently turn down the heat and wait for the bubbles to subside before returning to the boil.
After ten minutes, test the jam to see if it is ready by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate. After about a minute or so a skin will form, letting you know that your jam has set. If not, keep boiling and test again every two minutes. Once set, turn off the heat and let the jam rest for fifteen minutes or so.
Decant the warm jam into sterilised jars using a sterilised ladle or a funnel. Cap straight away. The expansion and contraction of heat inside the jars will reactivate the safety seal on recycled jars. This recipe was enough to fill four 200ml jars with a bit left over.
Add nifty labels to your jars. There are heaps of label templates out there, but I prefer to doodle my own. Be sure to include the ingredients and the date it was made.
Give a few jars to friends and keep a few for yourself. A lovely reminder of sunny Autumn afternoons. Cheap too, these four jars cost me 60 pence in sugar and nothing else!
This post was written by Bella Blithely (contact).