Blackberries are one of the most commonly foraged and widely available fruits in the UK in the autumn season and yet so many are left rotting on the bushes. This year I have picked more than ever before and have used or frozen all of them. One of my favourite Jams is blackberry and apple and as our apple trees were weighted down with fruit this year I managed to make a good amount for the cost of only a few bags of sugar.
When collecting the blackberries remember to be safe by following the Seven Golden Rules of Foraging.
Blackberry bushes are pretty easy to identify, most children that have access to the countryside have had the glorious experience of blackberry picking, or if they haven’t they should have. There is great fun to be had taking little ones on a blackberry forage and then later introducing them to the art of jam making. The pride they feel when they finally spread their sweet, sticky preserve onto hot buttered toast is a joy to behold. But just in case you have never experienced this for yourself and you are unsure of what to look for, here is what blackberry or bramble bushes looks like.
So why waste this wonderful crop of apples on jam making? I hear you ask. Of course, you don’t, but in nature you will rarely get 100% perfect crop and this year we seem to have been plagued with fruit wasps that have left some of our crop less than perfect. So the apples I have used in jam and jelly making this year are the damaged apples. Just cut out the damaged areas and use the rest!
Blackberry & Apple Jam Recipe
1kg of blackberries
1.5kg caster sugar
1 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- First put a small plate or two in the freezer.
- Put your clean glass jars and lids on an oven proof tray and put in the oven. When you start cooking turn the oven on to 100 degrees C. to sterilise the jars and make sure they won’t crack when you spoon in the hot jam.
- Peel, core and cut apples into small chunks (though not too small, I like having chunks to bite into, it gives it so much more flavour and makes it a bit different from the store-bought versions).
- Put them and the water into your preserving pan. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 to 30 mins (till soft, but not mushy) add the blackberries for the last 5 mins.
- Lower the heat and add the sugar and stir without boiling until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Bring the jam to the boil and boil for 20 to 30 mins, stirring often. Skim off the scum (this is tasty and goes well on a bit of toast when its cool) this is only for visual beauty there’s nothing tastier than a bit of scum!
- When the jam falls from a tilted wooden spoon in ‘thick sheets’ (slightly gloopy, no longer runny) test for setting point. If you have a sugar thermometer the temperature for jam is 104 degrees C, but if not test the jam for setting using one of the plates you popped into the freezer earlier. Remove from the heat, place a little jam onto the cold plate and place it back in the freezer for 30 seconds. A skin will form on the surface and will wrinkle when pushed with your finger. If this doesn’t happen, return it to the heat and repeat until setting point is reached.
- Get your jars out of the oven and ladle the jam into your jars up to the start of the neck and seal with lid. When cooled, store in a cool, dark place for 6-12 months. Refrigerate after opening.
Happy blackberry picking!