Mmmmmmmm!

You may remember back in the spring when I bought a bunch of balckberry plants off the internet and stuck them in the ground at the allotment, rhapsodising about the heavy cropping that would ensue in just a few months?

Well, have a look at the photo of my breakfast at the top of this post: salivate as you watch that thick, glossy blackberry jam melt over the piping hot, fresh-baked granary toast! Marvel at how rich nature’s bounty is! Perhaps even feel a little jealous as you sigh “Damn you Drooling, you live a life I can only dream of!”

Next, guess what? There’s absolutely no connection between the two paragraphs above.

Yes, I’m afraid that once again Mother Nature has flipped me the finger. I spent hours comparing tasting notes for a myriad different blackberry varieties before carefully making my choice – two heritage varieties, chosen specifically for their rich flavour and plump berries.

Said bushes were planted and have had hours of attention lavished on them. They look quite happy and have repaid me by producing – oooh – at least 7 or 8 berries so far. And that rich flavour? Best described as “vinegary, with subtle undertones of bleach”.

Not a great triumph. However, just next to the carefully tended blackberry bed is a large, heavily shaded patch of my plot which I have left fallow. I strimmed it back in the spring and then pretty much ignored it, casting a blind eye while head-high brambles shot up.

“Next year’s project”, I thought. And then the brambles all started flowering, and before I knew it I have so far harvested just over 3 kilos of gorgeous-tasting blackberries.

Go figure.

It would be churlish to complain, and I shall try to ignore the lesson screaming to be learnt here: “just ignore everything and you’ll be much better off. ” I’m not sure the rest of the patch would benefit from quite such a shabby approach to vegetable husbandry.

For the time being though, who’s complaining?

Blackberry jam

Equal parts blackberries and jam / preserving sugar

1 lemon

Put the blackberries and the sugar in a saucepan with the juice of the lemon. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir regularly. Not sure if that makes any difference but it is wonderfully soothing to do so.

When the jam has set stick it in jars. To test if it has set, pop a saucer in the fridge. Drip a spoonful of jam onto it and wait a few seconds. Push the jam with your finger and if it’s ready you’ll see some wrinkles on the jam.

Before sticking the jam into the jars I boil them for a few minutes in a big saucepan.

Not sure that’s the most scientific or effective way of making jam, but it tastes delicious and I’m still strong enough to knock out this post after a couple of weeks of eating it…

On the ipod while being a domestic goddess: The Jam / Greatest Hits. You didn’t think I was going to miss that opportunity did you?

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