Easy Apple, Blackberry & Cinnamon Jam
This is the first year I have tried making jam, and I have been amazed at how easy it is. You don't need any fancy equipment or ingredients - although a thermometer does - it’s essentially just foraged fruit and sugar.
This Apple, Blackberry & cinnamon Jam recipe based on my easy blackberry jam recipe, but half the blackberries are replaced with chopped windfall apples. Apples take longer to prepare than blackberries as they need to be peeled and chopped, but they don't take much longer to cook.
Make sure you weigh the chopped apple after it's been cut and peeled. You'll probably need around 6 windfall apples, depending on the size of them. Cutting the apples into 1 cm cubes means you'll have small pieces of apple in your finished jam.
I like to add cinnamon to my Apple and Blackberry Jam as it gives a lovely warm and spicy flavour. Two level teaspoons of cinnamon gives enough flavour without being overpowering, but if you're not a fan of cinnamon just leave it out.
Easy Apple, Blackberry & Cinnamon Jam
Time: About 55 minutes start to finish
Makes around: 1.4kg
Calories: 48 tablespoon
500g windfall apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes (weight after peeling and coring - see notes)
500g foraged blackberries, washed
2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 kg granulated sugar (not jam sugar)
Juice of 1 lemon
Half a teaspoon of butter (optional)
You'll need to sterilise some jars ready to store your jam. For this recipe, use 3 x 450g glass jars with lids or the equivalent weight with smaller jars. Wash them well in hot soapy water (or put them through your dishwasher) and then dry them in a hot oven (around 200 C / gas mark 6) for 10 minutes. Oven drying the jars will sterilise them so your jam won't go mouldy. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven until you are ready to pour jam into them. You want the jars to still be hot when you pour the hot jam into them so they do not crack.
Put 2 or 3 sauces or small plates in the freezer ready for testing the jam later to see if it has set. Get a heat proof mat and oven gloves ready for handling the hot jars later on. That's all the preparation done.
Put the chopped apples and water into a large deep pan over a medium heat. Warm for just three minutes before adding the blackberries and cinnamon. Stir and warm the fruit for a further 4-5 minutes or until the blackberries have released their juice. Don't mash the fruit with a potato masher like in the blackberry jam recipe as the apples will get too mushy, just stir. The mixture will get quite sloppy, but that's OK.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir over a low heat with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. It is very important that all the sugar is dissolved before you move onto the next step. If you can hear gritty noises when you stir it's a clue that the sugar has not dissolved.
Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture is on a rolling boil (this means it's constantly bubbling). If you have a thermometer you will see that this is 104-105 C. Please be careful as it's very very hot! Keep boiling for 15 minutes at 104-105 C (or rolling boil). Don't lower the heat, as the rolling boil is the 'setting point' which will cause the jam to set.
After 15 minutes you can test the jam to see if it has set. Put a teaspoon of your hot jam onto one of your cold saucers from the freezer. When it is cold run your finger through it. You will know if it's set as you will see a little channel on the plate where you have run your finger. It will be jam-like consistency. If it's too runny, boil for a few more minutes and repeat the 'plate test' until it has set.
When you are satisfied the jam has reached the setting point, turn off the heat and quickly stir in half a teaspoon of butter into the jam. This will cause any white 'scum' on the surface to dissolve. (Some people spoon this off but I don't bother, I just use the butter trick and the jam is fine). Use your oven gloves to place your jars onto a heat proof mat or surface. Pour the hot blackberry jam carefully into the warm sterilised jars (please be very careful - use your oven gloves) and screw on the lids tight. As the hot jam cools it will suck the lid in and make a seal (like jars of jam you buy in the shops before they are opened).
Once open, eat your jam within 8 weeks and store in the fridge. Unopened jars do not need to be kept in the fridge, and, provided they are sealed properly, will last for up to 2 years (although the flavour sometimes alters over time). Enjoy your jam spread on toast, spooned over rice pudding or dolloped onto scones.