I love September not only for the change in temperature, offering more of an Indian summer (much to the disappointment to many of my teaching friends) but for the brilliance it has to offer in the true delights of our homegrown tasty fruits.
Foraging for Blackberries is a fond memory from my childhood and now sharing it with my little ones, rambling through endless fields on a hunt for all the best ones often ends in hours of fun all in our great outdoors. And the best bit of all…… it’s free.
As the nights start to draw ever so slightly closer and the supermarkets start hinting that the Christmas rush will soon be on its way (as I try to quickly edge past the endless amounts of chocolate starting to filter through the isles, with very loud twins shouting ‘I want that!’) we decided to get cracking on some condiment treats for our Christmas Hampers.
Blackberry Jam is a strong favourite for a morning choice spread and coupled with apples it makes for a sweeter jam requiring less sugar. Jam making was a new endevour for my little ones and of course the cooking requires a child free zone! but they loved all parts of getting involved in picking, chopping and measuring and the greatest thing of all is that they can say they made it on Christmas Day.
- 600g blackberries
- 460g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 700g preserving jam sugar
- 100ml water
- First pop a small plate in the freezer.
- Preheat the oven on a low setting, around 100 degrees C. Clean your jars then pop them and the lids onto a baking sheet into the oven for around 15 minutes. This ensures that they are properly sterilised ready for your jam!
- Peel, core and chop your apples into small chunks and put them into a large saucepan with 100ml of water. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes with lid on until the apples turn to a puree consistently.
- Stir in the blackberries and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the sugar, once it has dissolved, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for around 15-20 minutes, occasionally stirring (remember to wear long sleeves, boiling sticky jam has the habit of spitting! and it hurts!)
- When the jam appears to be thickening up and falls from the wooden spoon with a thicker consistency test for the setting point. If you have a sugar thermometer the temperature for jam is around 104 degrees C, if not then your freezer plate will now come in handy!
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and place a little jam onto the plate. A skin will start to form when pushed with a spoon and should show the jam starting to set. If it’s not doing this then put back on the heat and boil for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Ensure that your jars are properly cool and ladle your jam into the jars and seal. When the jam has properly cooled in the jar enjoy decorating with lots of colourful, fun stickers!