The hedgerows have been laden with blackberries for weeks now, earlier than usual thanks to a super hot summer. I love to forage around our village which offers blackberries growing wild almost every corner I turn. My allotment sits right next to the mother of all blackberry patches just inside the community orchard, another reason I chose my little plot.
I love using blackberries in pies and crumbles but they’re also pretty yummy in jam too. I put together the following recipe for blackberry jam a few years ago and I use it all the time now. It’s a pretty handy recipe if you only wish to make a small batch at a time or if you’re struggling to pick enough berries before the birds get to them. Blackberries are low in pectin which can make a good set tricky to achieve, I use a mix of jam sugar (a sugar with added pectin) and granulated sugar because I find jam sugar alone much too sweet, the juice of a lemon also helps the jam to set or you could add apple instead leaving the jam sugar out and increasing the granulated to 500g.
This recipe makes a rustic, chunky jam full of blackberry fruit and seeds (which I like but you can sieve the seeds out if you wish before pouring into jars) with a good set.
Makes 3 – 4 jars
350g jam sugar
200g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 small lemon
Pop a clean plate into the freezer. Wash the blackberries and pick over to remove any stalks, allow the fruit to dry. Add the blackberries to a preserving pan with 200g of sugar (granulated or jam sugar) and the lemon juice, lightly crush the berries using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to release juices. Stir on a gentle heat for a couple of minutes to combine then add the remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar then simmer gently to soften the berries (approximately 8 minutes), bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes and test for setting point by placing a small amount of jam liquid onto the cold plate, allow to cool slightly then push the liquid with your finger, if it wrinkles then setting point has been reached (if not, return pan to heat and test again). Once setting point is reached remove from heat. Pour into warm sterilised jars and cover. Store in a cool dark place.