Monday, August 24, 2009

Blackberry and apple jam

As you know, we have been making our own bread from some time. For breakfast, we enjoy home-baked bread, toasted with a good helping of one of our home made jams. With the arrival of the first ripened blackberries we are busy picking them regularly from the hedgerows along the Camino de Santiago (St James' Path) near home at La Pasera.... we have started the jam making season.

The first batch of blackberry jam is already cooked and bottled up. Our jams are made using fruits and sugar, there are no additives or preservatives. To make the jams, we add sugar to the fruit in a ratio of 500g of sugar for every 1kg of fruit, 250g of apple per kg of blackberries was also added this time, in total we used 2.5 kg of fruit. Once the jam has been boiled and cooked we test it to ensure it sets before it is put in the jars. In previous years we have sealed them and used a bain marie to create a vacuum to help preserve the jam. A reduced amount of sugar in our jam recipes makes it healthier (if you do not end up eating more of it!) but requires extra care to preserve it.

Last year we discovered that in Spain many people use wax to seal and preserve the jam once in the jars. This year we are giving it a go for all the Jams, as last year we experimented with a few jars and it seemed to work very well. In addition to blackberry and apple jam, we will also make jam with a local small and very tasty peach, figs, plums, greengage, quince, raspberry and orange. Fig jam is an all time favourite followed by orange jam (that also goes extremely well in a chocolate and orange cake we sometimes bake). It is a big job to make all the jam but we think it is worth the effort, it is so much better that commercial jams often made with added preservatives, colourants and a greater proportion of sugar, besides they do not taste as good as our own....

La Pasera seen from the bottom field:

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