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Monday, 2 September 2013

Easy Blackberry & Vanilla Jam



Blackberry jam
There's something very compelling about the idea of preserving the natural harvest of the hedgerows. This year it was the blackberries that were calling to me. I walk past a patch of brambles every day just outside my house, and I watched and watched as the little green buds grew into bigger green buds, then gradually darkened to red and finally black. Every day a few more were ready.

I tried grabbing them as and when they were ripe and piling them into a bowl in the kitchen, waiting to have enough to do something with... but trust me, you're glad I haven't included a photo of what happened there. Suffice it to say they were fit only for compost by a couple of days later. Thankfully I quickly hit upon a better plan, giving them a quick rinse and then popping them into a box in the freezer. You can cook with blackberries straight from frozen.

I haven't made jam before, so I had to do a bit of research before heading to the kitchen. An even ratio of fruit to sugar (by weight) seems to be a fairly universal recommendation, and has the advantage of being easy to remember.

Blackberry jamAre you interested in learning to make your own jam? Or just looking for more yummy recipes with jam as an ingredient? Click here for jam-making tips and a collection of related recipes.

Blackberries don't contain much natural pectin, so I added a small amount of apple to help the jam to set firm. Of course, you could use pectin-enhanced sugar instead, or just settle for a slightly runnier consistency. This one set really well, though, and the apple pieces are so small that you don't notice them after cooking.

This is a really easy recipe, perfect for your first foray into jam-making. Mine was in the jars within 30 minutes of weighing the ingredients. And even a sugar thermometer isn't essential, as you can easily test the consistency using a cold plate (and you'd want to do that anyway, as it's the best way to see what's really going on).

Blackberry jam

Blackberry & Vanilla Jam
Makes enough to fill 2 jars (450g/1lb size)

450g (1lb) blackberries
120ml (½cup) water
2tbsp lemon juice
1/4 of a large cooking apple (approx. 50g/2oz)
450g (1lb) granulated sugar
2 vanilla pods
  1. Sterilise your jam jars, for example by part-filling clean jars with water and standing them in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. (There are many other methods.)
  2. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  3. Wash the blackberries and put into a heavy-bottomed pan with the water and lemon juice.
  4. Grate the apple into the pan.
  5. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, stirring gradually until all the grains have dissolved.
  7. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods into the jam, and stir.
  8. Increase the heat and boil vigorously for about 20 minutes, or until a sugar thermometer consistently reads 104°C (220°F).
  9. To check whether the jam is setting, retrieve your plate from the freezer, and drop a little jam onto it. The cold of the plate should cause it to set quickly, so that if you push the edge of the drop with your finger, it will react like a jelly instead of a liquid. If not, continue to boil for a couple more minutes, then test again.
  10. Decant the jam into the jars, and top with a piece of greaseproof paper. Screw the lids onto the jars while the jam is still hot, to form an airtight seal.
Blackberry jam


18 comments:

Rachel said...

Oh, we're missing the blackberries! fx: Howwwl!

Pam said...

This looks wonderful!! My blackberries only produced something like 5 berries! My blueberries were the big performers this year

christine said...

yummy - hope there's some left by the time we come down to visit:) x

Alicia Mackin said...

Okay Yum this sounds wonderful

Ali of Dressing Ken

TiKi said...

Great photos, Rachel! :) And congratulations for your first jam. It looks perfectly cooked and set! I also made a few jars this year, collecting a bowl of blackberries not far from where I live :)

Carla Bruns said...

I didn't think that I could make jam without a bunch of fancy equipment but this seems very doable. I may make jam! One day. :)

kumars kitchen said...

we are so excited to try this jam out cause it is luscious good spread on bread,uses no pectin-sugar and has a heavenly scent of vanilla in every melt of blackberries in it,beautiful and delicious food clicks :-)

Rebecca Subbiah said...

this jam looks so good, great instruction too

Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes said...

I'd love to try making my own jam sometime - this looks awesome!

Subha Subramanian said...

Looks so lovely.really tempting........
x❤x❤
http://indianveggiesbhojan.blogspot.in/

Anne ~ Uni Homemaker said...

I love the idea of adding vanilla beans into blackberry jam. Sounds delicious!

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

what a lovely combination and a good use of natures bounty!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Lovely! That is one of my favorite jams.

Cheers,

Rosa

Remya Elizabeth Anish said...

So tempting....and a nice way of presentation. I bookmarked and will try it :)

Lucie Stoker said...

I am so excited about balckberry picking, heading home at the weekend and there will be plenty to harvest. Reckon I'll give this ago alongside my usual fave of Blackberry and Pinot Noir Jam.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

This looks so good!

Nazima FranglaisKitchen said...

one of my favourite summer berries I should take a leaf out of your book and preserve their flavour in a jam to brighten the depths of winter. Thanks for sharing!

Gloria Baker said...

I really love this jam I love blackberries!:)

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