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How HOT is this summer?
At Brazen Spices we like it hot – but 47 degrees? Maybe not. Hope you’re all coping with the heat.
The best thing about summer is Blackberry Season. In fields across the east coast of Australia, those prickly clumps of blackberries are beginning to fill with plump juicy berries (incredibly, that’s despite the heat!) If you live near any such field you’re in luck but you feel like foraging, best to dress up in jeans, gumboots and long sleeve shirts. It’s a tough business, but worth it!
We thought we’d share a recipe for Spiced Blackberry Jam. A simple, make-it-at-home recipe that stands above the rest for the richness and warmth of the extra spice flavours we’ve added.
I find blackberries with their bold, sweet, tart citrusy flavour pairs really well with lemon and spice. This means making a spiced jam with them is a breeze as the lemon adds pectin that aids setting and the spice cuts through much of the sweetness to bring the blackberry flavour to the fore with the warmth of the spices and the sweet flavour as a secondary.
450g raw sugar
1 whole star anise
½ small cinnamon stick
1 cardamon pod
Small slice of ginger
Slice of orange peel
Juice of 1 lemon
Square of muslin cloth big enough to loosely hold the spices
Tie up the spices in the cloth making sure it is tied very well – if they get loose it’s a pain to fish the spices out of the jam. Give the spices enough room to swell and move around in the little bag you tie. If they are all jammed together tightly the flavours will not infuse as well as they should.
If you picked your blackberries give them a good gentle rinse in a large bowl of water to remove any impurities or bugs that may have inadvertently come home with you.
In a suitable sized pot place the blackberries and the spices into the pan with a ¼ cup of water, cook over a medium to low heat until they begin to break down, release their juices and are tender.
While the blackberries are cooking prepare your jars. You will need a minimum of two empty jars with lids. Ensure they are clean. Warm in an oven on about 100 degrees C.
Now is the time to decide whether you want your jam to be chunky or smooth or somewhere in between. If you like it smooth, push the blackberries though a food mill and discard the pulpy seed bits that are left. Personally, I like it as an in-between jam and like to mash up the blackberries a little but still keep it rough.
Remove the spices, (and return to the berries pot if you milled them), add the lemon juice and the sugar and warm gently to a slow boil just above simmer. You want to avoid boiling this rapidly. Slow gentle steady heat will give you the best jam, it takes a little patience. Skim off any foam that may rise to the top as it bubbles away.
Let this boil gently for approximately 10- 12 minutes.
Do the fridge test. Place a small amount of jam onto a plate and put it in the fridge. Leave for a few minutes and then remove. Tilt the plate and the jam should crinkle. If the jam is still runny then place back onto heat and boil gently for a further 2 minutes. Test again. Remove the pot from the heat while testing.
When you have achieved setting point you are now ready to place your mixture into your jars and place lids on. Allow to cool.
The next day the jam should be set and ready to eat. Your jam will store for around 6 months in a dark, cool cupboard, but should be refrigerated after opening.