For Christmas the Arpette bought me a French copper preserving pan, it’s possibly the best present I’ve ever had, it’s huge (I’m pretty sure if we had a baby we could bathe them in it) incredibly heavy and is just the most beautiful colour. I love how the blackberries look when they tumble into it…when they start to bubble up in a sugary syrup then the colour combination of deep purple berry and glistening copper are stunning….but most importantly I’m finding my jam making has improved no end by using it.
So far this summer I’ve made blackberry jam, mirabelle jam, blackberry and licorice jam (which is the most deepest darkest jam I’ve ever made…I liken it to a passionate embrace on the moors with Heathcliffe but without the thick ear), various blackberry treacles, an incredibly red raspberry jam with the raspberries from the garden and a raspberry and peach jam that looked so beautiful as the syrup was bubbling (all salmon pink, coral and apricot while it was bubbling up).
This is the blackberry jam recipe I use, it’s my favourite jam in the whole wide world, and I think it’s best eaten in the Autumn…especially on toasted spiced breads and bagels, it’s also good spread between layers of chocolate cake, and lovely stirred into yoghurt.
1 kilo of blackbrries
800 g of granulated sugar
juice of one lemon
Pick over the blackberries, and give them a very quick rinse in cold water.
Tip the berries into your preserving pan, cover with sugar and the lemon juice.
Bring to a steady simmer then transfer to a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with baking parchment, allow to cool before leaving overnight in the fridge.
Next day pour the fruit and syrup into the preserving pan (you may want to be wearing a pinny as it is a bit splashy) and bring to a rolling boil.
Cook for between 5 and 10 minutes, checking for a set on a cold saucer (I tend to keep a couple in the freezer while I’m making jam so that each time I check the set the saucer is really cold)
When the jam makes a good set (it will wrinkle when you push your finger into it, and it’s also tacky between finger and thumb), pour into sterilised jars, and seal the tops with little waxed circles.
A couple of years ago we were both rather addicted to the very delicious Giu desserts, they came in sweet little glass jars and I saved umpteen of them for using for jams and marmalade…they’re a really good size for the blackberry treacle (I’ve used them for a lot of the other jams too) as their size allows you to store lots of small quantities in the cupboard. Once you open a jar of the treacle it needs to be kept in the fridge but it tends to thicken up (you can add a little boiled water to a couple of spoonfuls of the treacle in a separate bowl before using if it thickens up too much…it’s a bit of a pfaff but gives a good result if you are using the treacle poured into yoghurt or over ice cream.)
Because of the glut of blackberries this year I’ve been trying out different recipes and ways to use them, as it’s been a bit on the pippy side in the evenings we’ve already been eating blackberries crumbles but for a warm evening one of my favourite recipes is the humble but divine tasting Blackberry Junket…surely one of the easiest blackberry recipes and one of the tastiest.
Really ripe freshly picked blackberries (best picked on a nice warm day so the berries feel warm from the sun)
Pick the blackberries over. Put them into a large bowl and give them a good mash with a potato masher (an apron is pretty much essential to wear as it’s a bit messy so you don’t get covered in juice).
Once you have a good pile of what looks like blackberry mush, strain it through a fine sieve (or lay a couple of squares of muslin in a not so fine sieve.) over a clean bowl.
Allow the liquid to collect, then cover with a tea towel and place to one side in a warmish spot for a few hours. Don’t put it in the fridge.
After 3 or so hours it sets to become a delicious fruity jelly*
Have with freshly baked scones and clotted cream, or on delicate boudoir biscuits served topped with whipped cream as a sort of trifle. Or if you are feeling all healthy then it’s just as delicious with yoghurt or creme fraiche.
*if it doesn’t set, don’t fret, just add a few desert spoons of sugar to the juice and bring to a steady boil…allow to cook for about 5 minutes then pour into a bowl (or a couple of smaller shallow bowls), leave to cool….it’s not really now a junket, but is still a very nice blackberry syrup which is nice over ice-cream or yoghurt.
We’ve also made some blackberry brandy which we hope to start drinking in a few months….it’s really simple to make and the best bit is you can eat the brandy sozzled berries as a dessert.
500 g blackberries (picked over)
175 g castor sugar
1 litre of brandy
sterilised mason jar
Put the blackberries in to the mason jar. Cover with the sugar.
Pour over the brandy and seal the jar. Store away form direct light.
Shake the jar a little every day.
After 2 months, strain the brandy. Reserve the berries. Pour the brandy into a bottle.
The berries can be used in a pudding, they are incredibly nice on pudding biscuits (allow them to soak in for an hour or so) with mascarpone cream on top or used as a boozy cheesecake topping.