Friday, 20 August 2010

Blackberry Jam

I go swimming twice a week, and on my way to the pool, I walk across a large common bisected by a railway line. The other day, when crossing the bridge over the railway, I noticed that the bushes to either side of the line were brambles heavy with ripe blackberries.

So on Monday night, I met Rachel on the way back from work and we went picking blackberries. It turns out that the most important tool in the blackberry-picker's arsenal is a hook made from a wire coathanger, which we used to great effect to draw in branches too far away to reach otherwise. One of us would hold the hook while the other would pick the berries.

When the box I'd brought was full, we headed home via the supermarket, where we picked up sugar and pectin. It was time to make jam.

When we got in, we were ravenous, so we quickly prepared and ate dinner. Then we took out the stock pot and set to work. Conveniently enough, the bottle of pectin had instructions for making blackberry jam on it, so we followed them (or tried to - I added the pectin too early). We ended up filling a big jar with jam, and putting a bit of overflow into another one. Finally, we got out some bits of white bread and polished off the jam sticking to the inside of the pot.

We left the jars to cool off overnight. To our satisfaction, when we checked in the morning, the full jar had pressure-sealed. Rachel made a sandwich using jam from the overflow jar, and it was delicious.

Since we still have lots of pectin left, we plan to return to the common. There may be more blackberries, and the elderberries are ripe too...

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