Blackberry and Ginger Jam

I ended up making quiet a big batch. When I’d asked my Mum and Aunty to come and help pick some of the hundreds of blackberries I have at the allotment, I never imagined i’d be coming home with nearly 4kgs of them. And there is still soooooo many to pick!!! Eventually I had to put a stop to it, there was no way i’d find enough recipes for the amount of berries that were making their way into the basket.

As you can see in the photo, they did a fab job. I picked berries in between turning soil, me and Josh had been down earlier to make a start on turning the soil where we had cut down the grass the week before. We all came out in once piece thankfully, them thorns are little beggars they are!!

So back to the Jamming Bob (Marley, for any slow ones out there, get it, we’re jamming) Before I started, I picked out 1kg worth of the berries and give them a good wash, picked out any bits that don’t belong in jam like grass, then threw it all I the biggest pan I had in the cupboard.

To the berries I added half a cup of water and the juice of one lemon, I just let that heat up. Once it starts to bubble, get your masher into it and mash the berries up a bit to release some of the juices.

Mashed Berries
Mashed berries

I then added 1kg of sugar that I had bought with added pectin. Pectin for those of you wondering, is a natural substance found in fruits which when heated up with sugar acts as thickening agent. The sugar I bought just has added pectin which will have been extracted from fruits to help jam makers thicken their jam. Its safe people, it’s all natural. Though some fruits have naturally more pectin than others. If unsure, just google it. Isn’t that the answer for everything these days?! So yeah, if high in pectin, you may just need normal caster sugar.

Once i added my sugar, o and the ginger, i let the sugar melt then turned it up to a boil.

Jam
Adding the Sugar to the berries.

Now this is the part that scares me the most about Jam, how do you know if it is ready?!! In the past I kind of just went with the theory that if it sticks to the spoon, it’s done. But after doing some extra research on jam making (I obviously want to provide the best results for you guys) I found out about the wrinkle technique. Yeah I know, it doesn’t sound too appetizing. Basically what you do is, put a saucer or plate in the fridge until it’s cold. Take it out, then add a teaspoon of you jam mixture to the plate. If you prod it and the mixture wrinkles or stays in the position of your finger prod, then its ready. If it runs, it’s not ready. Who would of thought it would be so simple to do, right??! Is it a Yorkshire thing to use right so often, right?!

**don’t forget to sterilise your jars, this can be done in hot water, the dishwasher or in the oven. Make sure they’re dry and still warm when adding jam mixture.

That is jam making, it is very simple really. It can go very wrong too, which in the past it has. I once filled my jars, and then opened one later to find out they hadn’t set. So i had to re-boil them all with extra pectin. But that’s the fun of trialing new recipes. It’s not always going to go right, and if it doesn’t, give me a shout and ill try and help you fix it. But this recipe is worth as shot, its sweet and tangy at the same time and absolutely delicious on hot buttery toast.

So this is the simple recipe without my waffling…….

Ingredients

1kg of blackberries

1kg of caster sugar with added pectin – I used Silver spoon

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup of water

50g of Crystallized Ginger – you can vary the amount to preference, it’s not an overly strong ginger taste

Equipment

One big ol’ pan

Potato masher

Spatula

Sterilised Jam jars – Nutley’s 200 ml Square Jam/Chutney Jars with Black Lids (12-Piece)

Jam funnel – not essential but makes it much easier to get the jam into the jars without all the mess.

Ladle

Little plate in the fridge for testing Jam.

Instructions

  1. Put the blackberries into the pan with the water and lemon juice. Simmer until fruit has softened and releases some juices. This took me around 20 minutes.
  2. Mash the fruit slightly, this depends on your chunk preference, I’m not a massive fan of large fruit chunks so I mashed enough to just break up the bigger berries.
  3. Add your sugar and ginger and keep simmering until the sugar has dissolved. You can tell when it’s dissolved because it will be smoother when mixing, you’ll feel the grainy sugar at the bottom of the pan when mixing when it isn’t dissolved.
  4. When it is dissolved, turn the heat up to boil the jam for 15 minutes or so. Stir every 5 minutes so ensure the mixture doesn’t stick.
  5. Get your plate from the fridge, put a dab of mixture on the plate, let it cool, prod it and if it doesn’t run then its ready.
  6. Ladle your jam into jars using the funnel, tighten lid immediately while hot.

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