Black & Blue (Berry) Jam

Autumn, one of the most bountiful seasons in our calendar, is upon us. Driving home from university yesterday (with a head crammed with data and to do) I found myself getting increasingly excited at the prospect of crunching through the overgrowth gathering berries. I try and get at least one batch in annually and this year I am pleased to say that the Blackberry pickings have been excellent (all that rain and warmth).

Unfortunately I have been otherwise engaged (Uni & school) and have obviously missed the glut as the easy to reach brambles had been picked clean. Not to be denied I donned my Indiana Jones chaps and lassoed my whip and began going off piste. 2 hours later…. I emerge triumphant with booty a plenty. I then pillaged my newly acquired blueberry bush to add an extra dimension. Both low in pectin though.

I used:

  • 1.4 kg blackberries
  • 0.6 kg blueberries
  • 200g white grapes (good source of pectin)
  • 1 Lemon (juice & peel – also good for pectin)
  • 2 kg white sugar (yikes!)

I put all the fruit & lemon in a heavy bottomed pan.

  

I toyed with the idea of adding water but decided against it as the blackberries were very plump and juicy and I didn’t want to be boiling for days. I brought the fruit to a gentle boil and mashed everything with a potato masher to squeeze out all the juice. I then added the sugar which I think is perhaps a bit too much. i might be tempted to ease it back to about 1.5 kg next time as the fruit was quite ripe.

  

I let the sugar dissolve slowly then turned up the heat and got it boiling on medium to high for about 30 minutes stirring every 5 mins or so. I did the old plate in freezer test a blob till it wrinkles test then forgot about it and winged it (as usual). A knob of butter to settle the foam was helpful.

In the end I managed to get about 7 jars (454g ea.) out of it and a teenie tiny taster jar as well.

Next on the agenda is some apple and chilli jam. Bon apetit.

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Blueberry Scones

I was asked to make these as we had some leftover berries from our weekend’s entertaining. I say entertaining it was more a case of catching up with old friends for a bit of hearty nosh and a few glasses of giggle juice ( ‘few’ glasses = understatement). The berries had been intended for a Pavlova, however when I came to dress it at 10pm I wasn’t ‘feeling’ their love. I am sure they would have worked well with the raspberries and strawberries but then I would not have had these beauties.

I used a simple scone recipe (Prue Leith) and added an egg and more sugar. It was very wet, more than I had intended, but a well dusted surface allowed the dough to be gently manipulated into a rectangle. Rather than over work it by cutting with a circular cutter and then reshaping the scraps I went for a one cut approach and fashioned the triangles that you see before you. They required a bit longer than I had anticipated in the oven (15 mins @ 200 C).

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Oven fresh

The kids were out when they came out of the oven, great planning, so the wife and I were able to enjoy them warm with a pot of Earl Grey and a smudge of berry jam. Nom Nom.

MAKES 12 (Generous triangles)

450g SR Flour, 120g butter, 120g caster sugar, 300ml milk, 1 egg and100 – 200g fresh blueberries.

Heat oven to  200 C. Crumb butter and flour (like pastry), stir in sugar then milk and egg followed by berries. Do not over mix. Tip out onto floured surface and shape into slab about 3cm thick then cut into whatever shape you wish. Brush with egg or milk and dust with sugar. Bake for 8-14 mins high in the oven (on a greased baking tray).

Tasty treats