“Why are you letting the raspberries rot on the canes? The birds are getting the blueberries and I haven’t seen you pick more than a handful of blackberries this year.”
Danny is generally fairly easy going so this remark was a bit of a surprise. He was right about the fruit though, I’ve been distracted by other things. What a terrible waste.
Suitably chastised I slunk down to the fruit cage and picked a bowl of raspberries. The Autumn fruiting raspberries have a much better flavour than the summer ones and will keep on fruiting until the first frosts. We grow Autumn Bliss but having a nose on The Thompson and Morgan website just now I discovered a new raspberry called Polka that produces up to 2.5 kilos of fruit per cane, is related to Autumn Bliss and fruits for longer. Perhaps if I promise hand on heart to harvest raspberries every day I will be allowed to order some in November.
Needless to say all the raspberries were used for Raspberry vodka. The next load will be made into jam. 2010 is definitely my jam making year and I’m loving it. Jam is so versatile and if it’s really tasty can be used in fresh fruit tartlets, pumped into brioche and stirred into muffins. I can’t wait to start experimenting using jam in cooking but at the moment I’m concentrating totally on creating a decent range of jam recipes and stocking up our larder for the next year.
After I’d picked the raspberries, I harvested all the remaining blueberries and as many blackberries that I could find. We have a large half barrel that is home to three blueberry bushes. These produce a good crop over the summer and well into Autumn (we both have been picking them on and off since July). Fresh blueberries straight from the bush are a joy, packed with flavour and vroom. Blackberries grow in our garden too. Chubby fruit that make the Michelin man look slim. And of course all this fruit is organic.
We do have a recipe for blackberry and apple jam on the site. The jam is sieved to get rid of the pips but this time I wanted to make a jam with pieces of fruit and pips – just to see what it would be like. I also fancied the idea of a blackberry and blueberry mix. This recipe turned out well, the pips were fine and the pieces of fruit very Moreish. In fact we polished off half a 1lb jar at one sitting – so this recipe comes with a health warning.
Blueberry and blackberry jam
450g of blueberries
300g of blackberries
500g of white granulated sugar
The juice from 2 small lemons
Wash the fruit.
Layer the fruit with the sugar in a large bowl and leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning put a saucer in the freezer for testing for set and pour the fruit and the sugar into a large heavy bottomed saucepan or Maslin pan. Add the lemon juice.
Over a low heat stir the jam until you are certain that all the sugar has dissolved.
Then turn up the temperature – on a scale of 1-9 I used 8. When the jam is bubbling stir frequently and test for set after 15 minutes.
If it does not make a crinkle mark when a finger is pushed through it, test for set every 4 minutes (my jam set in 20 mins).
When the jam has set pour into warm sterilised jars using a ladel and a preserving funnel and seal. Label when cold and store in a dark, dry place.
This recipe made 2 x 1lb jars and one small jar. The jam should keep for a year – somehow I think that it will be guzzled within a few weeks.
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