In a Jam?

This August and September we crammed a lot of workshops into a short amount of time. So, you’re going to be reading about our late summer adventures for a little while longer. For our first jam making workshop, we wanted to incorporate berry picking. Akhtar, intrepid urban berry picker, took us to one of his favourite spots in the Clayton Park area.

Picking Berries

Huckleberries

We picked huckleberries. And then headed to kitchen!  Fortunately Ahkar had also pre-picked extra huckleberries and blackberries, so we had lots to make jam with.

After cleaning the berries and removing stems and twigs, we got down to business…

Wild Blackberry Jam
(makes 2-3 250mL jars)

4 cups of blackberries
3 cups of sugar
1 tbsp lemon concentrate

First, clean your berries.
Next, place berries in a large pot (thick bottomed if possible) and mash.
Add sugar and stir.
Optional: let your berries sit in the sugar for an hour to bring out the juices.
Add the lemon juice.
Heat your pot on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until bubbles appear.
Simmer slowly until sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat to high and bring to a “rolling” boil.
Boil hard for ABOUT 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
The jam will thicken during this time.
Test your jam using the method outlined below.
When your jam is at the desired thickness, take it off the heat and immediately pour into hot, sterilized mason jars. Fill, leaving ¼ inch of headspace.
Remove air bubbles using a thin spatula.
Wipe the rim clean of any spills and place warm, sterilized snap lid on top.
Screw on the metal ring and tighten only gently (air will need to escape still).
Place your filled jars into a pot of boiling water and boil for 5-10 minutes.
Remove your jars from the boiling water and let stand as the seal forms.

You can use this recipe for many other types of berries as well (for example, huckleberries or raspberries). You may need to alter your cooking time to get the desired thickness however.

Ta Da!

Notes of Interest:
• Jam in 1 cup/250mL (half-pint) jars needs ¼ inch of headspace.
• Doing large patches means a longer cooking time and can be tricky.
• For a clear colour to your jam, skim the froth off the cooked jam before jarring it. This is not necessary with certain fruit such as blackberries.
• Test the thickness (and readiness) of your jam by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate and leaving it for a minute. Then, push it with your finger. It is ready if it reacts by wrinkling (skin).
• Some recipes suggest adding an apple and using fresh apple juice instead of lemon concentrate.

Yours in Food,

Marla

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