Blackberries are plentiful this year and picking them is another of my favourite Autumn things to do, it is also the time when farmers begin to cut their hedges so to avoid disappointment a few years ago I planted a cultivated blackberry at the bottom of my garden and this year from late August I have been picking fruit every few days. Cultivated Blackberries are definitely worth growing, producing much larger berries than their wild cousins, and are often thornless making them child friendly.
Blackberries to me are the taste of Autumn, they can be made into lots of delicious deserts, I love their flavour but not really their seeds so when I have a good crop I make a batch of Blackberry Jelly which we all enjoy through the winter months. As I pick my Blackberries I freeze them in margarine cartons or ice cream tubs and when they have finished cropping I then make my Jelly.
- 900g/2lb Blackberries (Fresh or frozen)
- 150ml/1/4 pint Water
- Granulated Sugar or Jam Sugar with added Pectin
- Lemon Juice
- Place the Blackberries in a pan with the water and simmer gently until very soft, press the fruit regularly.
- Strain through a jelly bag or muslin – I did this the first time but it took quite a while to drain through so now I press it through a sieve, although you do not get a clear liquid you do get more pulp and more taste.
- Measure the liquid and reheat in a clean pan.
- Add 450g/1lb sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per 600ml/1pint of Blackberry liquid. If you are using frozen Blackberries you need to double the quantity of lemon juice. If you are using sugar containing pectin only add half the amount of lemon juice.
- Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. It is at this point that I taste some of the cooled liquid and if it is a little tart I add some extra sugar.
- Boil rapidly until a setting point is reached.
- Pour into hot jars and seal down.
To give you an idea of yield last year I used approx 5lb Blackberries which made approx 3 pints of liquid and filled 10 medium/small jars.
Delicious on toast, crumpets, and in jam sandwiches, it is also nice warmed in the microwave and drizzled onto deserts, ice cream, yoghurt, porridge or rice pudding.
A jar makes a nice gift or add one to a homemade hamper of home grown produce for an unique Christmas present.
I still have a couple of jars left from last year which will tide me over until I make this year’s batch, making jam is a great way of preserving your precious fruit have a look at out website for more ways to preserve your crop and how to make harvesting and storing fruit easier and safer.