Friday, 11 September 2009

Blackberry and Apple Jam

A couple of weeks ago we picked a large quantity of wild eating apples. We brought home 4 hessian sacks and 2 large carrier bags full of apples. The bashed and bumped ones, and those that had been partially subject to a meal by a passing bug, along with those too small to be treated as eating apples, are ideal for using in cooking and have been put to one side. Some of them I used this evening to make 15 jars of blackberry and apple jam. Here's what I did:

You need:
2kg blackberries
1 kg apples
about 1 litre water
3 kg sugar
juice of 3 large lemons

Peel and core the apples. Put the peel and cores into a pan and add the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour.

Into the jam pan put the blackberries. Chop the apples reasonably finely and add them as well, along with the lemon juice.

Strain the boiled skins and cores and add the liquid to the jam pan (I do this to ensure I extract the maximum pectin from the apples - there's more in the skin).

Boil the mixture and simmer away until it has pulped down. Any lumps of apple left should be very soft and soaked through with blackberry juice. When the pulp is in this condition add the sugar and bring back to the boil. Make sure you stir constantly.

Check that the setting point has been reached then add to warmed jars.

This jam is a early great autumn flavour. It's a good way of using up all those free blackberries growing in the hedgerows and surplus apples that won't keep. I've also used this recipe in the past in the days when we bought most of our food from the supermarkets. I remember one year having a pile of apples that didn't get eaten and were in serious danger of ending up in the compost bin. I used them for jam making. It had a lovely tangy flavour to it.

If you want to sharpen the taste add more lemon. And if you have a huge glut of apples, increase the proportion of apples and blackberries to 50:50.

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