we jamming

Seeing as the hedgerows are full of good stuff right now, there couldn't be a better time to make yourself a few pots of homemade jam.


However, if you're a jam novice, our very own jam expert, Erica, has some simple tips for making the perfect blackberry jam.

First things first.

Wrap up warm and find something to put your berries in before you leave the house (like a fetching wicker baskest or a clean tupperware box)


Then locate your nearest local hedgerow, complete with an abundant supply of blackberries (no pilfering off your neighbours' allotment, mind)


Watching out for thorns, carefully select the finest berries for your basket/box.

The ripest, juiciest fruit will be the berries that come off easily. If you have to tug or twist too hard, they're probably not quite ready so you'll need to leave them for another day.

Berry related injuries and stained hands are all par for the jam making course and will make your jam taste that extra bit sweeter. Apparently.


Once you've picked a decent bounty (roughly about 2lbs or 4 extremely generous handfuls), take your fruit home and give it a good wash in a colander.

Weigh your berries and then weigh out exactly the same amount of caster sugar.

Pop the berries and sugar into a large saucepan and add a good squeeze of lemon juice.


It's really important you remember to do this bit as it's the natural pectin in the lemon that makes your jam jammy. Otherwise you'll just end up with runny blackberry juice and rather soggy toast.

Bring everything to the boil, stirring constantly, and continue to boil for about 10 minutes.


To check if your jam is ready, just add a small blob of the mixture onto a cold plate. It should look like jam straight away.


When you're happy with your jam consistency, spoon it into sterilised jam jars, seal with a sterilised lid and remember to write the date you made it on a fancy label.


To get the maximum toast coverage out of your jam once it's opened, make sure to keep it in the fridge.

And for those of you who don't like pips in your jam, just heat the blackberries up on their own with a teaspoon of water till they're mushy. Then pop the fruit through a sieve to remove the seeds and just follow the steps above.