Preserving the Season – Seedless Blackberry Jam: A delectable taste of the season, this lovely bramble jam is seedless, and is perfect on toast, crumpets and scones as well as in homemade cakes. You can also heat it up to drizzle over ice cream or dollop it on top of baked rice pudding.
It’s true to say that I think Summer is nearly over, the evenings are cooler and the mist has been rolling in over the maintains behind our home here in North Wales. However, although we’ve had a wonderful summer this year with hot, sunny days for weeks over May, June and July, I am ready for the next season, Autumn, which happens to be my favourite season of the year. I love this time of year and the prospect of wood fires, cosy nights in, comforting casseroles with dumplings and steamed puddings capped with fragrant fruits…..it’s also a time for harvesting garden fruit and vegetables, as well as foraging for hedgerow treasures such as blackberries, damsons, bullaces, sloes, rowan berries and hips and haws. I love brambling, or blackberrying as it is often called, and I get quite possessive about “my patch”! So far this season I’ve picked well over 8lbs of brambles, all of which have made it to my table in crumbles, pies, dumplings, jams and jellies. Today’s recipe for Preserving the Season is my mum’s recipe for Seedless Blackberry Jam, a favourite from my childhood which brings back memories of a cosy kitchen with freshly baked bread that was spread with this fragrant jam.
It’s a simple recipe that needs a little bit of time to make, as the stewed fruit sits in a jelly bag (or a muslin) overnight to release its rich, red juices for jamming next day. Then it’s just a case of measuring the juice and adding the correct weight of sugar and boiling the juice and sugar until it reaches setting point, all of which is explained below in the printable recipe card. Mum’s recipe uses a lot of lemon juice which results in a lovely, tangy jam that is packed with blackberry flavours but isn’t too sweet, just the way we like it. The extra lemon juice also helps with the set, adding extra pectin to a fruit that is low in pectin. I use white cane sugar as my preferred sugar and NEVER jam sugar, which contains a few “chemical nasties” that you don’t need in a lovely jam like this. Cane sugar gives a clearer finish to any jams or jellies, but white granulated sugar is also fine to use in this recipe. You can make small batches of this jam as well as large batches, the only restriction is the size of your jelly bag or muslin…..mine takes up to 3 kilos of fruit.
Now is the time to gather your blackberries, you must pick them before Devil’s Spit Day, the 10th October is Old Michaelmas Day and is also called “Devil Spits Day”, it’s the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore. This is known as the day that the Devil came to earth….he fell from the skies straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat. Although in my experience they are usually a little past their sell-by date by this stage, a bit “blown”, mouldy and/or maggoty. If, like me, you manage to pick a lot, then just pop them into the freezer for later berry enjoyment, such as a midwinter pie or crumble, or some winter jam making, as you can still use frozen berries to make jam. My mum’s recipe is shared below, and I hope you enjoy this jam if you make it as much as we all do as a family, have a fabulous weekend, Karen
More BLACKBERRY Recipes: