Making Blackberry Jam
Blackberries grow in hedgerows across Ireland from May to autumn and picking them has been an enjoyable late-summer past-time for generations. They are a wonderful source of free Vitamin C, and delicious in desserts such as tarts, crumbles, crisps and puddings.
Although nothing quite beats fresh berries, in order to enjoy them through the winter they can be made into jam, compote, cordial, syrup, and even wine!
Sugar is the active preservative in jam. The proportion of sugar to fruit is usually 1:1. Blackberry jam needs lemon juice to be added to release the pectin from the fruit. Different fruits have different amounts of pectin content. Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that forms the gel in jam when heated. Apples are naturally very high in pectin, so making apple and blackberry jam means you shouldn’t need to add lemon juice. Pectin is most concentrated in fruit when it is underripe. However, unripened fruit lack flavour. The best time to use fruit for jelly/jam is when it is just ripe.
Making blackberry jam
The following guidelines work as a template for making all kinds of jam. Try blackberries and you may become hooked on the taste of homemade jam:
- As with most types of jam, a weighed quantity of washed, prepped fruit is simmered in a wide pan until soft.
- Off the heat, an equal quantity of warmed sugar is added. This is then returned to a gentle heat and stirred until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- The heat is increased to a boil for approximately ten minutes, until the setting point is reached. The setting point for jam is 105 degrees Celsius, 221 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Jam should be decanted into warm, sterilised jars and labelled.