Thursday, March 22, 2012

Berry Bliss

So much for new beginnings…This years' blogging is off to a not-so-good start, but with a little inspiration and better time management, VOILA! We have a new post!

I have had this blog post brewing for some time now and am dying to share this very easy, anyone-can-do-it jam recipe as well as these fun pictures I took in December. Yes, you heard right, these photos were taken in December! I have however, resisted the temptation to scrap the idea all together, as Autumn in sneaking up on us and the idea of a summer berry jam seems kind of, well, out-dated.

In December, every December, I get this home-sick longing to just be at my parents' old house, just breathing in the familiarity and reminiscing back to my childhood in that beautiful house with all its' creaks and its' magical big garden. As I’ve mentioned so many times on this blog, the thing I love most about those times is how my family gravitate towards the kitchen and what to eat for the next meal becomes the order of the day (excuse the pun). Not only that, but there always seems to be some mini harvest of sorts, be it potatoes or artichokes or berries…

So, I’m going to be very honest with you. My mum and I are very similar in the fact that we like unfussy cooking and recipes aren’t taken too seriously, but rather used as inspiration – we really do believe that almost every recipe can be improved and added to. So when I called her to ask her for the recipe of her mixed berry jam, the one we made only 3 months ago, her answer went something like, “Oh, a recipe? It’s about 800g sugar to 1 kg of mixed berries”. And that was that, need I say more.

This leaves me with the sad conclusion that no jam you or I for that matter, make will EVER be the same as last years summer berry jam. I must say, that does put a smile on my face because I’m sure the next batch will be pretty awe-inspiring with some orange zest added to it…
Mixed Berry Jam

Jam is one of those things that might seem a little daunting to try for the first time and it’s also something you need to get a FEEL for. So, I think it’s going to be easier to resign yourself to the fact that there will be at least one batch of jam that you will not be entirely happy with. Cooking jam too long will give you a very sticky thick jam, perfect for jam cookies and a jam that’s too runny? Well, I’ll leave you to be creative with that one…

Note: This recipe has no pectin or gelatin as we simply used a few handfuls of berries that were less ripe. You might have to add pectin if your berries are shop bought.


1 kg mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)

800g white sugar (this can be reduced to 500g for a less sweet version)

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Put the berries in a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar as well as the lemon juice over it. Leave it to rest for about two hours.

While you are waiting you can start preparing the jars. Now, keeping in mind that I like to take the shortest and  easiest method when cooking, do the following: Heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Rinse your jars and place them in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until dry and very hot. Remove them with tongs. Boil the kettle and pour hot boiling water over the lids and allow them to stand in the water for 5-10 minutes.

Put the berries in a big pot and place this on a medium heat. Bring it to the boil and boil it for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. A light coloured foam will appear on the surface, gently spoon this off. This will ensure a clear jam. After 30-40 minutes the jam should be thick and reduced. Spoon a little bit on a cold plate and leave it to cool to check the consistency.

Gently pour into hot jars and seal with hot lids. Be sure to wash your hands and not touch the inside of the jars or the bottom of the lids.

Store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: 4-6 medium sized jam jars

1 comment:

  1. the greener the fruit, the higher the pectin content, so you need a good ratio of green opposed to ripe fruit. If the jam is too runny - simply boil again and reduce further! Or use as Ice cream sauce...