If you haven't been out yet to collect those free blackberries that are in abundance in the hedgerows this year, then don't delay. I'm trying to get out most days now, to stock up on this tasty fruit, whether to make into jam or freeze for those future home-made blackberry and apple pies. Combined with the apples from my orchard they make a delicious filling for use throughout the winter months.

If you decide to freeze the blackberries, then 'open freezing' is the best method. Lay the berries on a tray and then pop them into the freezer overnight. Bag them up the following day, draw out all the air with a straw, to stop ice forming and then seal the bag tightly before returning to the freezer. I have a freezer especially for my frozen fruit, whether stewed apples and plums or raspberries and blackberries.

If you decide to make jam from your blackberries then nothing could be easier. Here goes...

Ingredients: (makes 2 small jars)
650g blackberries
500g granulated sugar
150ml water
juice of half a lemon

  • Put a small saucer in the fridge to cool.
  • Wash the blackberries only if needed (I don't) and put into a preserving pan or large saucepan.
  • Add the lemon juice and pour in 150ml of water.
  • Simmer gently for 4 minutes to soften and release juices from the fruit.
  • Add the sugar, stir it in over a gentle heat until it has dissolved, then turn up the heat.
  • Bring the jam to the boil and boil for 10 minutes or until a setting point is reached, measured at 105'C.
  • Take the pan off the heat and test for a 'set' using the cold saucer from the fridge - put 1tsp of boiling jam on the saucer, allow to cool, then push jam from one side with your finger. If the jam leaves a trail on the saucer, it is set.    
  • Ladle the jam into warm sterilised jars (you can sterilise the jars in the oven), filling the jars almost to the brim.
  • Cover with waxed discs and seal the jars with a metal lid. Label and store in a cool place for up to 6 months.
I made these jars from yesterday's foraging, so good luck!


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