Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blackberry jam

This is the simplest jam recipe, and it keeps the natural fruit flavor and texture. It took one hour from bush to jar.

You will need:
Fresh blackberries (or other fruit)
Sugar with pectin added
Jars and lids

I found sugar with added pectin here in France, and the general rule is that the U.S. has way more "convenience" goods than we get here, so am sure you can buy it there. The one I used has a sugar-cane base. Pectin is what makes your jam set, so it's pretty vital.

Sterilizing jars: Wash jars and lids well. Place the clean jars in a large pot with water covering them. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. While the jars are boiling you can prepare the jam. Turn the water off on the jars and allow them to remain in the water while you finish preparing the jam.

Using my magic jam sugar, the following recipe made two jars:

4 cups rinsed blackberries
1 1/2 cups magic jam sugar (80 percent the weight of your fruit)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or kirsch (optional)
Big dash cinnamon (optional)

Making the jam: Dump all ingredients in a large, thick-bottomed pot (each too much jam and you'll become thick-bottomed!). Over medium-high heat, stir the mixture until it begins to boil. As it cooks, more liquid will come out, so don't worry if it doesn't look like jam yet. Boil gently, stirring and scraping the bottom well, for seven minutes.

When the jam is ready to pour into the jar, remove the jar from the water with tongs, allowing the hot water to drain back into the pot. Fill the jar with jam, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rim with a clean towel. Twist the lid on, then turn the jar upside-down for five minutes to sterilize the lid. Flip the jars back over to cool completely. Once cooled, the lid should be tight and flat, which means it is properly sealed.

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