Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Delicious Blackberries on the Hill!

The fields behind our house have been overflowing this year with luscious ripe purple blackberries, so we have spent many hours already up to our elbows in thorns collecting the rich harvest and yesterday it paid off as we made 12 jars of blackberry jam mmmm delicious!
It's my first ever jam, and under the supervision of GN it was touch and go for ages whether we were going to get to the setting point or not but hurrah we made it!
I think most of these we will give away to friends and family, but the next batch we are hoping to make a bit nearer xmas and put them in hampers & tea sets for presents (with a batch of homemade biscuits or scones, some clotted cream maybe and a pack of tea!)
Here is our bounty

I have to admit, so many bloggers make jams and pickles and make it look very easy but it always seemed so daunting to me, all that fruit, all that sugar, and a "setting point" gaaaah but I am pleased to say that despite my hesitation it is actually well worth giving a try!
Here is the recipe we followed for anyone out there who hasn't already and fancies giving jam-making a try;

4lb fruit (we used blackberries obviously but it could be strawberries, damsons, cranberries etc)
3 pints water
4lb sugar
a knob of butter
1 lemon
10-12 jam jars depending on size

Wash the fruit and destalk/stone if necessary, you could also use frozen fruit you had prepared earlier.

Using a heavy based large saucepan pop in the fruit, add the water and bring to the boil, then turn down slightly if necessary to simmer for about 45 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat completely, add the sugar and juice of the lemon and stir until completely dissolved, then add the butter and allow to melt.

Turn up the heat again to boil rapidly for 15-20 minutes, although ours took a bit longer to reach setting point. Keep a close eye on the jam so it doesn't catch at the bottom of the pan and burn, an occasional stir should stop this happening.

Whilst the fruit is boiling, pop the jam jars and lids upside down in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 150 degrees c (300f/ gas mark 2) and then once they have had enough time keep them turned upside down on to a clean tea towel/cloth until ready to avoid contamination.

It may seem trivial but it is really important to sterilise the jars and keep them as air tight as possible at all times as the warm fruit and conditions are ripe for bacterial growth which can be quite a nasty unwanted side effect from such a delicious treat! Akternatively you could boil the jars or use sterilising tablets.

Once your jam has been boiling for 10-15 minutes start testing for the setting point. This is easier than it sounds, and involves putting a little teaspoon of the jam on to a plate and then popping it in to the fridge for a few minutes to cool, if when you check on it the jam has started to solidify (has a skin that wrinkles when you prod it rather than liquidy) if it isn't quite set yet keep boiling and try again in a minute or so.

Once you are happy setting point has been reached then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes, then carefully spoon in to the jars carefully (i know, i'm a nag, but hot jam is very painful if it contacts skin and burns easily!) then once each jar is full to the neck then seal with the airtight lids immediately and leave to set.

The jam usually keeps for 5-6 months if stored correctly.

Happy jamming!!


  1. I need to become a very good friend of yours very quickly if you give friends fabulous hampers for presents- homemade scones, biscuits and blackberry jam. Sounds brilliant.