Monday 3 September 2012

Easy-Peasy, (Almost) Blackberry Jam

~by Emi

The past few days I have been forced to admit that Autumn is well and truly bearing down on us, which makes me a little sad. I'm always sad to say goodbye to the summer warmth, but also look forward to celebrating Pagan festivals with my family, such as the harvest themed Mabon, and then Halloween, or Samhain as we call it, leading in to the wonderful Winter festivals of Yule and Imbolc.

Autumn brings forth so much for us to share, apples, corn, elderberries... as well as my favourite...


So today, I am going to share with you my very easy jam recipe!

I was always put off making jam in the past, worried about sugar thermometers and pectin and sieving and all those other things that can make jam-making more than a little daunting.

After posting on a wonderful parenting forum that I am part of, and several tries, I now have a standard recipe for making jam which tastes delicious and doesn't take all day to make.

First of all, you need to head out and pick some blackberries. We headed out to our local park, Ru on his wooden balance bike, Pixie settled in the mei-tai on Steve, and me, basket in hand.

See the basket? In my hand. Told you.

Obviously, you will need a Small Boy to supervise and yell at you.

But eventually, even the Small Boy got off his bike to help me gather the fruit...

Or alternatively, you could just buy them, which would be the easier option!

Before we begin the jam-fest, I'd like to point out that this isn't an exact science. In all honesty, it's barely even a recipe at all. More a delicious, gooey, jammy, sticky mess.

The first step is THE most important.

Check Your Berries For Bugs!

For the love of holy giant parsnips, please take out the bug-riddled berries.

No one wants to find a creepy-crawly in their jam.

Put your blackberries in a bowl, along with whatever other fruit you want to add. In this instance, we didn't have enough blackberries, so added a chopped apple and a nectarine. You could easily add strawberries, raspberries, plums, cherries, whatever you like.

Now take a good look at how much fruit you have in that there bowl. Remember that image.

Pop your fruit into a big pan with a tablespoon-ish of water and set on a medium-heat.

Then, remember that image of the fruit in the bowl? Recall it now, because you're going to add about the same amount of caster sugar to the bowl as there was fruit.

I did say that it wasn't an exact science.

Check on your fruit. Keep stirring. I love watching the deep red from the blackberries bleed into the flesh of the apple chunks. Very pretty.

Eventually, your softer fruit will start to break down. If you didn't put apple in your jam, then you can add your sugar now. If you *did* put apple in there, give it a couple more minutes until the apple pieces start to soften, then add the sugar.

Just keep stirring everything, keeping the jam on a medium-ish heat (or higher, if you're impatient), until it's a lovely, rich, deep, syrupy goop. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, and stir up again. Throw in a little cinnamon or ginger if you want. You don't have to. Just go with the flow. It's fine. This is a fluid recipe.

We are a jam-with-bits kinda family, but if you're not that way inclined, this is the bit where (I'd presume) you'd sieve it. I can't tell you about the logistics of this because I've never done it.

You'll need a jar to put your jam in, I used one of my beloved Kilner jars but you can simply reuse an old jam or peanut butter jar. It'll need to be sterilised, so you can either put it in a hot wash in the dishwasher, or boil it in a pan with lots of water. If that seems like a lot of trouble, at least run the hot tap really hot and let it fill up the jar a few times.

I usually wait until the jam mixture looks quite thick, and then pour it CAREFULLY BECAUSE THIS STUFF IS AS HOT AS RYAN GOSLING.

Leave your jam to cool completely and then spread it over something bread-based. Or cake-based. Or just eat it off the spoon.

And there you have it.

Easy-Peasy, (Almost) Blackberry Jam.

What better way is there to celebrate Autumn than this?

"No man can taste the fruits of Autumn
while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of Spring."
~ Samuel Johnson

1 comment:

  1. This recipient has convinced me to have a go at making some blackberry jam this year. Previously I have always been put off as it always seemed rather fiddly, but this seems very straight forward. Will be taking the girls blackberry picking in the not to distant future I think :)