Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Three Variations on Blackberry Jam (or Syrup)

Our blackberries are producing masses of berries this year. They are a decent quality in spite of the rain, if a little on the tart side compared to some years. So far, I have made a version of all of these variations. The Blackberry-Orange combo was made as jam, and the Blackberry-Honey was made as syrup. I would only suggest the Blackberry-Peach as a jam, which is what I did. 

You don't actually have to strain out the seeds, but I have to say it's nice not to have them. They are quite intrusive and as I get older they inevitably get stuck in my gums. On the other hand, the berries cook down and you will probably mill out close to 2 cups of seeds, meaning that 12 cups of blackberries are not nearly as much as you might think.

I always think each berry has an ideal citrus partner. Oranges seem to be it for blackberries; lemons go with raspberries and strawberries and blueberries love limes.

The honey I used in the syrup was blueberry honey, and I could really taste it in the syrup, at least as I canned it up. How it will hold, I don't know. I expect the blackberries to be delicious at any rate.

After this, I think any more blackberries will be frozen for smoothies. 

6 250-ml jars of jam
OR 8 250-ml jars of syrup

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry-Orange Jam or Syrup
12 cups blackberries
the zest and juice of 2 large navel oranges
1 cup water if making syrup
2 cups sugar

Blackberry-Honey Syrup or Jam
12 cups blackberries
the zest and juice of 1 large lime
1 cup water if making syrup
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar

Blackberry-Peach Jam
8 cups blackberries
900 grams (2 pounds; 6 medium-large) peaches
2 cups sugar

Rinse and pick over the blackberries; drain them very well. Put them in a large pot and add the zest and citrus juice, if using. If you are making jam, do not add water. If you are making syrup, add the 1 cup of water. Heat the berries gently over medium heat, stirring frequently, and bring them up to a steady simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until all the berries have broken open. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Put your jars into a canner and add water to cover by at least an inch. Bring them up to a boil. I add my ladle and funnel to the top to sterilize them as well.

Meanwhile, press the berries through a food mill - I find it best to not put in more than 1 cup at a time - and strain them into a maslin pan or other large heavy bottomed pot. Discard the seeds. If you are making the Blackberry-Peach jam, blanch and peel the peaches, and chop them, discarding the pits.

Add the sugar, or sugar and honey, or sugar and peaches, to the strained berries, and bring up to a boil. Boil until a thick syrup, if making syrup, or until it runs from a spoon in a wide ribbon if making jam (probably about 20 minutes).

When the jars come to a boil, boil them for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water but keep it boiling. At this point I have taken to dropping the rings and lids into the boiling water while I fill the jars - they should boil for about 1 minute and you could also do them in their own pot of water.

Fill the jars with the jam or syrup. Dip a bit of paper towel in the boiling water and wipe the rims of the jars to make sure they are clean. Top them with the lids and rings, and tighten to be just snug. Return them to the boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool (if you can, in the canner but otherwise remove them to a heatproof board), test the seals, label, and store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Keep refrigerated once open.

Last year at this time I made Corn & Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese, and also Cherry Tomato & Shallot Bruschetta.

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