Making jam is like meditation. There is also nothing better than a larder or pantry stocked full of delicious preserves for the year. Thanks to my neighbours, who have a prolific apricot tree and no desire to use the apricots for anything, and a bonza recipe from Stephanie Alexander, I have the jam-making bug. My repertoire extended this year to Mango Chutney, Tomato Kasoundi and this scrumptious, glossy and fruity Blackberry Jam. My dad, who lives in the Otways on the Great Ocean Road, picked my blackberries for me (I know – I’m very lucky!), but you can also use frozen berries from the supermarket or, when the season comes round again, go picking for berries in King Lake or another berry farm (google ‘picking berries’ for some good spots). Picking berries is a great thing to do on a lovely summers day and it’s a nice drive to the berry farms. So, here’s my own recipe for Blackberry Jam. It’s basically just the fruit with a whopping big bucket of sugar (but you can also add some lemon juice).
What You Need:
Frozen blackberries (or fresh!)
ratio is 1kg of sugar to every 1kg of berries
A big pot
A wooden spoon for stirring
A jam funnel
Some jars with lids
What to do:
1. In a big pot, heat the frozen berries till they are melted, then simmer.
2. Add the sugar (I just free pour).
3. Bring to the boil stirring constantly them lower heat and simmer for about 1 – 2 hours. The longer the better. You can even cool it down and bring to the boil twice to thicken the juice. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice at this point, which has pectins in it, which makes the jam thicker. Stir the jam from time to time.
4. Place a little plate in the freezer while you are boiling the berry mixture. The best way to test if the jam is ready is to place a little amount of the jam onto the cold plate – if it crinkles at the edges, then it’s ready. I like my jam a bit runny, but simmer for longer if you want a thicker jam.
5. While the jam is simmering, wash the jars in piping hot water, rinse, and then leave to dry.
6. Pop the jars (not lids) into a 180-degree oven for about 10 mins.
7. When the jam is ready, ladle into jars (you can purchase a jam jar funnel to prevent jam running over the jars).
8. Turn the jars upside down to create a seal and leave to cool overnight.
And there you have a delicious berry jam – great for you, for gifts or for sale at a market!