Monday, March 1, 2010

Blackberry Jam: A Story of Being Cooked.

The Day We were Put in a Jam (as opposed to a pickle)
Once upon a time, on an island known as Tasmania (famed the world over for apples, cheese and beer) we were growing happily on a thorny bush. One day, when we were big and black and round, a person - you know her as Kathy - came along with an old icecream container and started to pick us, one by one. Plop! Into the container we would go. Some of us were spared the container only to suffer the horror of being put into Kathys mouth and eaten. The indignity of it was almost unbearable. We are only grateful that her niece was absent, otherwise it is doubtful that any of us would have made it into the bucket at all.
Crammed together in the container, we were carried back to Kathys lair. We were tipped into a strange container with holes in it and water was poured all over us. Those of us who had been in the sun only moments earlier were shocked by the coldness that was now bringing our core temperature down to dangerous levels. This was nothing to the torture that was about to be thrust upon us.
We were scooped out of the strange, holey container and thrown into a solid metal one. A white, sand-like substance was tipped on top of us. Then it started to get hot. At first it was pleasant, but as the temperature rose, our comfort level dropped, and we started to sweat. The sand-like substance started to turn into a clear liquid, stained red with our juices. The temperature continued to rise. Some of us were beginning to loose our grasp on reality. A few of us broke down. Literally. 
The temperature was so hot now that we were bouncing and bubbling without control - a foaming, purple mass. Just when we thought we could stand it no longer, the heat subsided. Then, we were falling. We found ourselves in clear containers. We quickly realised that we were trapped, for discs of metal were used to cover over our only possible exit. What is our fate going to be? Is there any hope of rescue?
(A story of jam making, as told by a talkative and rather dramatic blackberry.) 

Three Minute Berry Jam
This recipe is suitable for all sorts of berries, including raspberries and boysenberries.

2 and a 1/2 cups of berries
2 and a 1/4 cups of sugar

Put the berries and the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil briskly three minutes. Pack and seal.
If the fruit is very ripe, a further minute of boiling is desirable.
The jam will appear lightly set at first, but it thickens after a few days of storage.
Due to the quick cooking time, the fruit does not breakdown a great deal. If you want less lumps, use a potato masher to squish and squash the fruit. Do this before bringing it to the boil.
Makes about 2 x 350 millilitre jars (that is, two medium sized jars).

For sterilizing jam jars, go here.
By the way, the blackberries are still imprisoned in the jars... I will rescue them one day. Too bad their visit to toast/scone/waffle heaven won't last long!


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