We LOVE foraging at this time of the year and them returning home and baking blackberry or plum cakes and making easy jam. This year we are having a go at this easy blackberry and apple jam recipe. The thing about jam making – is that many people think it is terribly complicated – they worry about getting the consistency of the jam “just right” and because of that frequently, don’t even have a go. Remember: homemade jam tastes DELICIOUS and yes, it is great to have a perfect consistency, but equally, if it is a little runnier, so what? So long as it tastes nice, right? The blackberry and apple jam recipe shared here, resulted in a lovely consistency. But I have to confess, I think it was fluke just as much as anything.
The consistency of jam is affected by the pectin contained in fruit. Unripe blackberries have higher levels of pectin that ripe ones. A cooking apple has more pectin than an ordinary apple etc. So there are some variants right there. Under cook your jam and it won’t set. Overcook your jam and it wont set. ARGH. So. I say. Ignore all that, follow the BASIC rules and go for it. Experiment! See what happens, I am sure that the resulting jam will taste nice whatever the consistency and you will have taught the children a great new recipe, as well as the wonders of foraging and making your own jam.
Note: when cooking with kids it is extremely important to observe Kitchen safety rules. Boiling jam is VERY hot and only an adult should pour it at any time. Make sure the children stand at a safe distance when you do this so they don’t accidently get splattered. Children can help wash, cut, chop and pour cold ingredients into the cooking pot. They can also help with the sieving (see below). Anything to do with the hot jam, should only be done by and adult.
Easy blackberry and apple jam recipe
900g of blackberries
350g of apples (we used one from the garden and 2 granny smiths we wanted to use up, cooking apples are ideal)
1kg Jam Sugar (which has a higher pectin level than preserving sugar, which has more than ordinary sugar – ordinary sugar is great for Lemon Marmalade, as lemons have high pectin levels)
This made around 5 and a bit 4o0g jars of blackberry and apple jam.
Note: you can even out the apple/ blackberry ratio if you “like more apple bits”. You just need to make sure that your sugar/ fruit ratio stays roughly 1:1. You can also add a little lemon rind to increase the natural pectin levels if you wish, which means you need less sugar.
Try and make your jam as soon as possible after picking blackberries. Freshly picked blackberries can go off quickly as “picked by children” often means they end up a little squished etc.
Thoroughly wash your blackberries, getting rid of any bits and pieces and small bugs.
Place in a pot with a little water (1/4 of a cup or so) and bring to the boil for 10 minute or so. Cooking them thoroughly.
Take off the heat and squish through a sieve. Yes, this is a little laborious, but it will make your final jam taste much smoother and nicer! If you like “the bits and seeds” of course you can skip this step. If you do skip this step, you may want to add a little more sugar – make the fruit/ sugar ratio roughly 1:1 – i.e. 1.3kg. By sieving it, I am assuming I am “loosing” approx 200g of fruit.
Peel and chop your apples.
Place chopped apples, the strained blackberries and the sugar in a large sauce pan. Gradually heat until the sugar dissolves and then bring to the boiling point.
Boil rapidly for approximately 5minutes. (If you are super keen to get the consistency right, you can place a dish in the freezer BEFORE yous start, take the dish out of the freezer once you reach this step, add a little jam, the dish will cool it quickly. And if the jam looks stiff/ wrinkles when “poked”, you have the right consistency… I find this a faff and don’t bother!).
Carefully, pour into sterilized and warmed jars.
Keep in store cupboard for 6 months or once opened stored in the fridge. Enjoy! And congratulate yourself and the kids for making your very own Blackberry and Apple Jam recipe! Yum.
I think these make great little gifts too! Who doesn’t love some Blackberry and Apple Jam for breakfast?!