The jam making started with a blackberry-picking expedition in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains (though to be fair, most of the berries came, I think, from the Dublin side of things) that resulted in no small amount of berries to be washed and sorted.
Then it was a question of consulting the three wise ladies (that would be Delia Smith, Maura Laverty and Darina Allen in my eyes, but others might differ) to get a handle on recipe that would work. All three avoided a simple blackberry jam in favour of a blackberry and apple mix and so I decided, to go with Darina’s but with advice from the other two. The net of which mish-mash is below:
Recipe: Autumn* Blackberry & Apple Jam
Summary: A very straight-forward jam that will please just about everyone
- 900 grams of peeled and cored cooking apple
- 2.5 kilograms of blackberries
- 2 kilograms of jam sugar* (my strong sense is that for over-ripe fruit this fruit to sugar ratio is too low and using some more would have been better)
- Slice the apples and stew them with about 200ml of water (Darina calls for more, but my feeling was that the apples were moist enough that more would cause problems later)
- Mash the stewed apples to a pulp
- Cook the berries until they are soft (adding water of they are dry – this was totally unnecessary for mine)
- Put the berries in a wide stainless steel pot or pan
- Add the apple pulp
- Add the sugar
- Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved
- Bring the mixture to a raid boil for about 20 minutes
- Test the mixture for a set, if it works, leave to cool for about 15 minutes then pour into sterilized jars and seal immediately.
This was really a mish-mash of three recipes, one by Darina Allen, one by Delia Smith with classic advice from Maura Laverty.
I used JAM SUGAR which has pectin included in the mix. If you plan to use plain sugar, you might consider pectin, even with the Apples (from which pectin is made) some mixes might just need the extra setting agent it provides.
I realised as I boiled the jam that my mixture was FAR too wet, so I boiled it longer than recommended and when I realised it was not going to set without some help, I added the juice of a small lemon (as per Delia’s suggestion) then boiled for another five or ten minutes which worked wonders for the mix!
To test for a set cool three or four small plates in the freezer then when testing pour a teaspoon of the mix onto the plate and allow it to cool down the push it with your finger, if it wrinkles it is set! If not, keep boiling!!!
American visitors call it a FALL jam, I’ll not be offended!
Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 40 minute(s)
Cooking time: 50 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4 large jars