Last weekend I went blackberry picking with my mum and Sam and we ended up picking just over 3kg of the delicious berries! What to do with all that fruit, I wondered, and then the answer came to me – blackberry jam of course.
As it was bubbling away on the stove it brought back many happy childhood memories of late summer blackberry picking on the farm with my family (although I seem to remember returning home with much lighter buckets and fuller tummies!). Being able to eat real blackberries is such a treat, as I think those ‘blackberries’ you buy in the supermarkets pale in comparison to wild ones found on the side of roads or in someone’s paddock.
Makes 7-8 jars of jam, depending on jar size.
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup water (optional – I used it but didn’t think it necessary as my berries were very juicy)
Put blackberries, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan, bring slowly to the boil and cook for five minutes.
Add sugar, bring back to the boil and stir until all the sugar is dissolved (if it doesn’t dissolve properly the jam will become crystallised). Boil for 20 minutes (I boiled mine for about an hour, due to the extra liquid from the water), until setting point is reached.
To check for setting point, spoon a small amount of jam on a small plate and put the plate in the freezer until the jam is cool. Run your finger through the middle of the jam – if the line remains, the jam is set, but if the jam oozes back through the line you just made with your finger then it is not yet ready. Continue to cook for five minute intervals – check regularly as over-cooking can cause jam to crystallise.
While the jam is bubbling away it is a good idea to sterilise your jars and lids – wash them in hot soapy water, then rinse in hot water. Place them on an oven tray in a cool oven, and turn oven to 110°C. Once the temperature has been reached leave them in for 10 minutes. Cool the bottles to warm before using (if jars are too hot the fruit may rise to the top).
Once setting point has been reached take saucepan off the heat and leave to stand for five minutes. If there is scum still on the top of your jam, stir through about 40g butter, which helps it to disperse. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.