Monday, 1 August 2011

In Which There Are Blackberries

It was very hot over the weekend, and I ended up sleeping badly (not helped by the delightful neighbours who decided to re-ent their favourite rugby passes at top volume in the street until 2 a.m.)

I walked into town on Saturday morning (where I ended up accidentally spending £40 in the bookshop, which I ought not to have done..) and noticed on the way that there were a lot of ripe blackberries in the hedges, although it's pretty early for them to be ripe, so |I decided to get picking.

I managed to get about 3lbs on Saturday (and then a further 2lbs on Sunday) and spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning making some of them into Bramble Jelly - I ended up with 5 jars of jelly (made using 2lbs of blackberries and about 1lb of bramley apples) and I have frozen the other 3lbs of berries, so I should be able to make some more next weekend, when I have time. I'm also considering getting some local honey, and trying a batch using honey instead of sugar (or perhaps part and part). From what I've read, it looks do-able, but may have an effect on how well the jam sets, so a bit of trial-and-error may be needed...

The nice part is that there are a lot of blackberries which are still green, and other brambles still flowering, so there should be berries ripening for several weeks more, and the opportunity to make rather more jelly than I managed last year (when I only made one lot, at the start of September)

I'm also pondering whether to try making some rosehip jam or jelly. I am reasonably confident I can accurately identify rosehips.... In fact there seem to be some ripening alongside the blackberries.

The downside of jam-making is that all these fruits will insist on ripening just when it is really hot, and standing over pans of boiling fruit and sugar is least appealing (at least marmalade season comes in January, when boiling stuff for hours at a time has its own appeal!