In today’s post, I am going to do a quick round up of our recent jam making activities, as evidenced by the picture below. I’ve already talked about a couple of the varieties that you can see here, but we have had a good jam making run and produced several types this year. I still have some blackberries and more damsons in the freezer so we won’t be short of preserves this season. We hope to have another jam making session before Christmas, if only to clear space in the freezer. As I have already mentioned, preserves can make great gifts so that is another incentive to get jamming before the festive season. There was a nice feature in (I think) the Irish Times Magazine on Saturday from Clodagh McKenna, giving her recipes for apple chutney and a blackberry and apple jam. I can’t now find the link, but I’ve added the apple chutney recipe I found on Clodagh McKenna’s website. I am keen to try out the chutney but I prefer to make blackberries into a jelly rather than a jam so I’ll stick with a recipe from last year.
I think that overall, our favourite jam this year was the rowan and apple jelly that we made for the first time this autumn. It was so tasty that we have already opened the last jar (although in fairness our first batch was not a large one). The beautiful colour and tangy flavour made it a winner on buttery toast and we are already looking forward to foraging for rowan berries next year. The next in appeal would probably be the lavender and apple and the rosehip and apple. This is again partly for the lovely clear colours and because of the flavours of these unusual types of jellies.
I think that there has been a particular pleasure in trying to make (and eat!) preserves that are not readily available commercially. That was our reason for tackling an elderberry preserve too. There was also the satisfaction of first making use of some flowers for cordial, as we have featured in an earlier post, then harvesting some fruit later in the year. Sadly, we couldn’t forage berries from the same patch that we used for flowers since the council, in its infinite wisdom had despatched workers to cut all the elder bushes hard back. It seemed a strange time of year to be doing that job and I don’t suppose the local bird population was very impressed either. Still, not to be defeated we foraged a bit further afield and came home with a few clusters of glossy black berries.
Here are links to recipes that we found to try out: On Lavender and Lovage.com, we found an elderberry preserve recipe. Then on The Cottage Smallholder.com, we spotted this rosehip and apple jelly recipe.
I cannot say that we managed to get perfect results the first time round, but we were very pleased with our endeavours. We’d love to hear about your jam making exploits and about any favourite recipes. Do drop us a line!