Did you know that it is currently the most wonderful time of year? No? Well it is true you see. Yes, we are quickly edging towards the end of summer however the beginning of the much longed after Autumn months are just around the corner. The weather isn’t too warm, nor is it too cold, the much wished for rain has returned in fits and starts and you will have seen all the trees, bushes and hedgerows bursting with ripe, juicy ready to be picked treats.
The one indicator that my favourite time of year is slowly approaching is the arrival of the blackberries. I see the little green fruits appear on the bushes everywhere, in my garden, at my local park, on the roads as I walk home, and I wait and wait until the little green berries start to change to a slight blushing red colour to the most juiciest dark purple / black colouring. And then I pounce.
The reason I love them so much is mainly due to the childhood memories that they hold. I remember picking them in our garden as a small child from the cutting my grandad had given us from his own garden in London and eating the berries before twisting my face at how sour they were! I would then run back up towards the house with my bowl full of treasure for my mam to bake alongside apples in a pie. I also remember being sent to the back of my nannas garden when we were small as we could fit our little hands through the gaps in the fence and forage for berries from her neighbour’s garden, and again our haul was often added to some homemade bake.
So, a few weeks back in the scorching sunshine I decided that I would add to those memories by taking Little Legs to our local park where we stumbled upon the biggest blackberry gold mine I have ever come across! We spent a good hour wandering through the park looking for the biggest, the best and the juiciest looking blackberries we could find. We were also hot and itchy from the nettles and exhausted from our climb up the blackberry covered hill but excited, for our Tupperware box full of blackberries would soon be in a pan being turned into homemade jam!
Now I have never made jam before in my life. I have watched my mam make strawberry jam on occasions where we have gone strawberry picking and got a little carried away with filling the little basket they give you, but that is the extent of my jam knowledge.
I crazily decided that I would turn my hand towards my first attempt of jam making on the Saturday night after a long, tiring day at work. I put on a playlist inspired by The Four Seasons (I had just seen the show based about them at the theatre royal) and danced around the kitchen, Heineken in hand waiting for our little haul to boil down in the pan I had placed them in. They quickly did, and after deciding to make seedless jam I poured the contents of the pan into a muslin cloth over a bowl and squeezed all of the hot blackberry juice goodness out and after making the kitchen worktops, floor and my hands look like they wouldn’t be out of place in a murder scene, I returned the blackberry juice back to the pan and added the sugar and lemon juice and brought the pan to a boil, and continued to follow the recipes instructions.
I managed to get two good-sized jars of seedless jam from our blackberry pick, one which has almost already been devoured in the space of three weeks! So much for the two jars lasting me until next year’s haul. However! I have caught the jam making bug and I think rhubarb and ginger jam may be the next on my list to make seeing as we have two large rhubarb plants taking over the garden now! Let me know what jams your currently making or what ones I should add to my list to make.