prickly on the tongue
and they taste a bit like wine.
i roll my sleeves. hair gets pinned back.
i wash, tumbledry
some burst in my fingers.
this is fine; they’re destined for jam.
with a bit of lemon
rogue splatters, inky purples.
bubbling, spitting, hissing
jam begins to gather on the spoon
it’s ready when it quivers, holds together
and i jar it, let it cool
and then slather it over heavily buttered toast.
Yields: around 1 cup of jam (the recipe doubles easily)
Lightly adapted from The Homemade Kitchen
Why I love this recipe: this recipe requires no special canning equipment or pectin, and relies on just the natural thickening powers of the blackberries and sugar. A little bit of fresh lemon and vanilla bean seeds scent the sugar and the jam, leaving it otherwise purely blackberry.
Variations: use 1 pound of any other berry in place of the blackberries. Instead of using sugar, use honey.
Notes: this jam lasts for two to three weeks in the fridge, but no longer. If you like a citrusy jam, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon to the jam and stir it in before canning.
For the jam:
- 1 lb. blackberries, washed and dried
- 1/4 cup sugar
- seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean, rubbed into the sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Place the fruit and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pot and set over medium heat.
- Bring to a low boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the fruit breaks up into a saucy mash, around 10-15 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and stir in the sugar.
- Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, (stirring often to prevent the jam from burning on the bottom) until the sauce thickens into a jam, around 15 minutes.
- Adjust sweetness if desired, and let cool before storing in a jar.