Alright, this week I’ve been carelessly careless and hope to get back into old (and new) habits again. To my temporary joy, though, there is something incredibly environmentally friendly poking up everywhere around, which is both delightful and tasty: it’s blackberry season!
No, I’ve never been much of a forager (although this has been on my environmental-bucket-list for a long time), but blackberries are the one fruit that is so IN YOUR FACE that you cannot not pick and eat them! Why would you go into a supermarket and buy a plastic tray of French blackberries for £2 when you could as well go around town with a container? There is so many things wrong with that that I don’t even know where to start!
So a few weeks back, I actually came home with a box full of blackberries (and blackcurrants! Very pleased with myself), when I realised I couldn’t possibly snack on all them before they go bad. Which is why I googled tasty blackberry recipes: muffins, cakes, bramble and so much more. But, as I’m not much of a baker, I decided to take the path less travelled (by me at least) and make some jam!
During my research in preparation for the task, I found that you’d need a jellying agent called pectin, but that there should be enough in blackcurrants themselves for it to work without buying (or extracting) any. I should have listened to a friend who told me to simply add a piece of apple to the berries as a natural source of pectin. Well, I didn’t have any apples around and that certainly was a mistake, as my first attempt to make jam ended up a bit watery…
Anyway, I can’t find the exact recipe I used, but there is so many out there which are very simple that I will leave you to google one for yourself. I also looked into sterilising and canning my jars. So while the berry mixture bubbled away, I boiled a few jars in a big pot for a few minutes. When my jam was ‘ready’ (or as ready as can be), I filled it into the jars, sealed them and flipped them upside down.
Now, before all the canning-professionals out there condemn me for such an unsafe practice (I am aware that you’re supposed to process the filled jars again in boiling water), I knew that I would only make four jars which get stored in the fridge and eaten pretty soon (within a few weeks). If you want to store your jam for a longer time and outside the fridge, I recommend you should follow proper canning procedures and make sure all air is removed from the jars.
As of now, we have given one jar away as a present and eaten 2 out of 3 of the others already. As I said, there wasn’t a sufficient amount of pectin in my jam, which is why the consistency is a bit like jelly, but still rather thin. Having said that, it’s perfect to spoon into porridge, which is why I didn’t bother re-doing the jam 😉
I hope to make some more if time allows (there is certainly plenty of blackberries waiting to be picked!), and maybe in the next months even have some other canning or jamming adventures!
Jam making heroes out there, give me a shout! What’s your procedures, hints & tips, and most importantly: what’s your favourite recipe!?
PS: No blog post next week, I’m afraid, we’re moving! Excitement is ahead 🙂