Blackberry is such a common fruit we often take it for granted. Blackberries can be found in hedgerows, woods and roadside verges across the countryside. However, they aren’t restricted to rural areas and are regularly spotted along the canal towpaths and in wastelands in towns and cities alike.
Blackberries are normally at their best at the end of August to September. Legend has it that if picked after the end of September, they are best to be avoided, as the devil is said to have peed on them. I’m not sure this is true, but by October as the rain returns, the damp weather will have certainly ruined many crops!
Collecting blackberries is on our agenda every year. This year we chose a nice, sunny day. We geared up with Tupperware containers and headed to our local Ecclesall Woods in Sheffield.
We have been going blackberry picking since we moved to Sheffield in 2012. I remember when our son was in a pram, we parked him nearby and did the harvest. Now, he joins in. He actually enjoyed it this year – how many more years will that last? He was proud that he filled the whole tub and got quite competitive with us. Nevertheless, he had purple lips in the end which made me smile. 🙂
We have our secret spot in the woods. Here the thorny bushes are overladen with large, juicy berries. They are plentiful but the bramble thicket is so impenetrable in places that many of the largest fruit remains tantalisingly out of reach. Luckily there are still many berries within reach. Moreover, it seems that few other people are picking them so it takes only a couple of hours to pick loads!
It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to forage 5,35 kilos! That is quite a few blackberries. Let’s put that into a perspective. At present, Tesco sells 150g for £2.00, £13.34 per 1 kg. So our harvest totals to whopping £71.37! How amazing is that? Definitely worth, even taking into account the scratches and nettle stings.
Moreover, we are big fans of blackberry jam, and every year I make it. It is a very simple process. The part which takes the longest is actually washing the fruit! You just mix it with jam sugar, boil for a while and ladle into the sterilized jars. Job done.
For labels, I use free label maker www.jamlabelizer.com. It’s amazing, it has a few free designs as well as some paid ones. I stick the labels onto the jars with milk. Yes, you heard right, MILK. It works!
Overall, I made 22 jars of blackberry jam. One was already open and in the fridge (not on the photo below). Not bad for under 2hours of foraging in beautiful ancient woodland. It was a brilliant day enjoyed by us all. Happy memories.
I even managed to make a blackberry crumble as well which was greatly received by all pickers involved. Yum!
Blackberry Jam Recipe
Finally, I have put together my Blackberry Jam recipe. Enjoy and let me know if you made it in the comments. 🙂
SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND DELICIOUS BLACKBERRY JAM RECIPE.
- 1.8 kg Blackberries
- 1.5 kg Jam Sugar
- Juice of 1 Lemon
Pop a couple of saucers into the freezer to chill.
Put the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice into a preserving or large pan. Place over a low heat and simmer gently until all the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put a teaspoonful of jam onto a chilled saucer for 1 minute. Drag your finger lightly over the jam. If it wrinkles, it has reached setting point. If it doesn’t, boil for a couple more minutes, then turn off the heat and try again with another chilled saucer.
Skim off any excess scum, then stir in the knob of butter. This will help to dissolve any remaining scum.
Leave the jam for 15 mins before ladling into sterilized jars – this allows the fruit to settle so it doesn’t sink to the bottom.
Seal and Label.
Store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 months. Refrigerate jars once opened.
Wash them in hot, soapy water, then dry in an oven heated to 150C/130C fan/ gas 2 for at least 10 minutes.
Always ladle the jam into jars while the jars are still warm so they don't crack open.
I used this free Jam Labelizer for creating amazing labels.
TIP: Did you know that you can use milk to stick the labels on jars? Yes, just brush a bit of milk onto a paper label and stick on. It works!