I went back to the nature reserve today.
The way the bushes are at the moment, and with willing small people on your side, you can pick enough blackberries to fill an ice cream tub in under half an hour. It all depends on how many grasshoppers/butterflies/ladybirds you have to stop and admire (turns out my children don't have the same tunnel vision as me when it comes to picking).
We came home and made more jam together. The mantelpiece now has three new jars of disco jam on it. I decided to go for the sparkles again, as this is my favourite decoration so far.
If you haven't tried making jam before, blackberry jam is quick and easy and so a good starting point.
So, have you got your berries? Right, here goes...
1. Weigh your berries and put them into a saucepan with the same amount of granulated sugar.
2. A squeeze of lemon juice at this point helps with the setting process, but isn't essential.
3. Heat and stir until it looks like the sugar has dissolved.
4. Put a plate in the freezer.
5. Put some clean jars into a low heat oven. If you don't have any jars, then do what I did and beg some from your friends.
6. Turn up the heat and boil your mix for about ten minutes. Less time if a small amount of mix, more if you're making tons of jam.
7. Test for set by drizzling a bit of the mix onto the plate. If the mix starts to set, it is ready. If it remains runny after being cooled by the plate, keep boiling it and try again in a couple of minutes.
8. Don't over do the boiling process - you'll end up with thick tar like consistency that is impossible to spread on toast. (I did this last year...)
9. Wait for your jam to cool a bit and then dollop into the jars.
10. You've done it. Give yourself a big pat on the back and enjoy eating plenty of jam on toast. Yum!
And, if like me, you decide to decorate your jars, then please email me a picture and we can all share in your jam making glory here on the blog.