Blackberry and apple jam

by Alison, 29/09/2013

Another day. Another challenge. Recently, I added a new skill to my cooking armory, jam making. 

I grew up in a house-hold where it was an annual event as children to visit our cousins and go fruit picking. Needless to say, we were not the most effective task force. Thankfully we could always buy extra. At the end of the day the car boot was laden with long flat boxes, stacked full of punnets of raspberries, strawberries and occasionally logan berries.

These would be taken home and divided up, into those that could be eaten straight away, those to be frozen for during the year and those to be made into jam. I remember the big metal saucepan bubbling with fruit and sugar, the warm syrupy smell, the rows of unmatched jars and the scramble to find the jam pot covers, tops and elastic bands.

So I got a sense of nostalgia as I pull out the old saucepan. One of the many cast-offs I have been happy to receive. 

I decided to make blackberry and apple jam, as I love the combination. Also after some research, I was a bit confused. Some people say blackberries are a low pectin fruit, others say it is a medium pectin fruit. Pectin is a substance found in plant cells which produces the gelling effect in jams. Without this the jam, would just be a juice. Cooking apples are high in pectin, so using them not only changes the flavour but gives you a better chance of having a well set jam.

This recipe is based on the proportions of my mum's raspberry jam recipe however the method I have taken elements from Darina Allen's, Forgotten skills of cooking and a BBC good food post.

This quantity made 4jam jars. I did not use jam covers ect as I still had the tops for all the jars. 

500g blackberries
250g cooking apples (peeled and cored)
750g heated granulated sugar
8tbs water

First sterilise the jam jars. Heat the oven to 180˚C. Wash and dry the jars, removing any labels. Place the jars and lids in the oven for 10-15minutes. 
Place a small plate in the fridge.
Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a saucepan with the water and stew until soft. When soft, turn them into a pulp (i used a potato masher).
Turn the oven down to a moderate heat (i used 150˚C), place the sugar in a stainless steal pot and heat the sugar. It should be warm to touch but still in tact (not melting) when it is done. I heated it for 15mins, turned off the oven and left it in there until I was ready for it.
Place the blackberries in a wide pot, over a low heat and cook until soft. Stir occasionally.
Add the apple pulp and the heated sugar. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Once the sugar is dissolved , bring the mixture to the boil and then cook steadily for about 15minutes. We have a very old hob which heats up slowly and takes a long time to cool down, therefore I had to use two hob rings to quickly move from a low heat, to a boil.
To tell if the jam is cooked, take your cold plate out of the fridge, and place a teaspoon of jam on the plate. Push the outer edge of the jam puddle towards the centre with your finer. If the jam wrinkles, it should set (or that is what Darina promised me and it worked!)
Once cooked, use a spoon to gently skim the jam, removing any scum that has risen to the top. If you cannot remove it all, take a tiny knob of butter (the size of a finger nail) and stir it into the jam. This should remove the last of the impurities.
Pour into the sterilised jars.
Cover and store in a cool, dry place.

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