Taking a rain check on Wednesday night gardening in the greenhouse with Adrian – too cold and damp. My thoughts are let’s stay in the kitchen where it’s warm and ‘make jam’. I am sure Adrian will agree but whilst I am waiting for him I will just thumb through my cookery books for a recipe – how about blackberry and apple jam – that sounds good. I must also sterilise some jars. To do this wash in hot soapy water, dry well, then lay jars (on their side) and lids into a preheated low oven for about 15 mins.
During August and September there are lots of fruit ready for picking and so many choices as to what to do with it e.g. jam, chutney, bottling, freezing, jelly and I am sure so much more. Fruit is so versatile – so more about that later as now there is work to be done.
Yes he’s all for it but first he has to go out and pick the blackberries while I get together the other ingredients. He’s done a good job picking the blackberries (not to overripe) – so aprons on, hands washed and we’ll get started. (Adrian wash your face there are tell-tale signs that you were eating whilst picking).
Blackberry & Apple jam
1 kg blackberries
1 kg apples
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 kg sugar
½ pint water
1 tbs butter
Wash the blackberries, peel, core and slice the apples.
Put apples in a preserving pan or a good solid pan with water and simmer for about 10-15 mins. until tender. Add blackberries and lemon juice, bring to the boil and continue to simmer for a further 12-15 mins. Add sugar and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.Increase the heat and boil gently for about 10-12 mins – stir continually to avoid it burning on the bottom of the pan.
Do the spoon test either by testing with a sugar thermometer at 220 degrees or the wooden spoon test, the jam should stick to the spoon. Another way is to drop a spoonful onto a very cold saucer – it should feel firm to the touch.
Once the jam is set, stir in butter, remove from the heat, scrape off any scum and leave to stand for about 10 mins.
Place the jars on a teacloth and pour in the jam almost to the brim. Screw the lid on and turn the jar upside down for about 2 mins. this helps with the shelf life as it sterilises the lid. Label the jar with variety and date.
Store jars in a cool place and once started in the refrigerator. Shelf date for an unopened jar is approximately 1 year.
Do you enjoy making jam – if not give it a try – we have had great fun and it is so much cheaper than buying it when you can pop outside and pick your own fruit.
Plan for next year – check the fruit section on our website. So much to choose from so start by ordering and planting up now.