Blackberries always signal to me the slow drift of summer towards autumn. The light mellows, the evenings gradually draw in and I start my month-long hand-scratching obsession with blackberrying.
I couldn’t possibly give away my prize locations (we all have them!) but Lower Failand has a plethora of richly hung hedgerows that will soon be dripping with ripe fruit ready to be turned into crumble or jam. The best news for us Nordic walkers is that our poles make the perfect picking prop. Flick the All Terrain paw back on your Exel poles and you have an outstanding hook to grasp those tantalisingly out of reach branches.
It is also a relief to be using the stored jam pots that I’ve been accumulating in my jam cupboard (yes I really do have a cupboard dedicated to jam making!). I used to lovingly, but rather painstakingly, make bramble jelly but last year a friend gave me the recipe for a ridiculously easy blackberry jam and I thought I’d give it to you. This recipe makes about 5 Bonne Mamam sized pots:
1kg blackberries and peeled/cored/diced apples (I used about 2/3 blackberries to 1/3 apples but it wasn’t an exact science)
1kg jam sugar
1 lemon (juice of)
Put the blackberries (minus mouldy ones, bugs and greenery), diced apples, lemon juice and water into a large, heavy based saucepan. Heat, then simmer for 15 mins or so until the berries and apple are soft and squishy.
Mash them with a potato masher to break it all down a bit more.
Add the sugar and quickly bring to the boil, stirring all the time until the setting point has been reached (if you don’t know what this is just look it up on the internet).
Pour into your prepared (sterilised and warm!) jam jars and pop the lids on. That’s it – now you just need to make the scones to go with them!
Continuing the blackberrying theme, there are some rather good poems on the subject (Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney to name two). Nordic walking, blackberrying, scones, jam and poetry – sounds good to me!