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Make a jam

Preserving is the perfect way to make the most of early autumn fruit, as with this recipe for bramble jelly.

Photo credit: Richard Beaven

Anja Dunk, Jen Goss and Mimi Beaven became friends through their shared passion for preserving nature’s bounty and swapping recipes. In Do Preserve they combine their experience as cooks, caterers, foragers and farmers to present the essential guide to preserving.

Sowing seeds, planting out, harvesting fruit and vegetables, perusing the hedgerows and roadside stalls or local produce markets; many of us have followed some or all of these traditions and rituals for decades. Happily many more of us are following the seasons once again — understanding the value and environmental benefit of seasonality.

To make the most of bounteous harvests when they are upon us we need to store some away. There is so much delight in making a pot of jam or chutney, to eat later or give away as a gift.

There are many ways to preserve — people all over the globe have been doing so for centuries. Our aim is to try and make preserving accessible to all, whether you live in a small urban apartment or a house with a garden. The recipes in our book Do Preserve have been written with everyone in mind — please don’t be put off by images of hundreds of empty jars waiting to be filled. Unless you have a large garden or allotment you are not going to be wondering what to do with 10kg of tomatoes. It is more likely you’ll have a small bag of foraged blackberries or some apples from a friend’s garden and are looking for a few ideas. So let’s start with this one: a classic, seasonal recipe for Bramble Jelly.

Bramble Jelly

We have a tradition in our family: we give jars of this away for Christmas presents and, for ourselves, we open the first one on Christmas Day to have with croissants and bubbly in the morning … at least, we try and wait that long. This is a real waft of summer on a cold, grey morning, on your porridge, toast or with some thick Greek yogurt and nuts as a dessert. It’s a lovely pastime to gather the blackberries on a walk with friends and family.

Makes 500ml (1 US pint)

1kg (21⁄4lb) blackberries

Granulated sugar — for quantities see below

1 lemon

1. Put the blackberries with 2 tablespoons of water into a large pan and cook until completely soft. Remove from the heat and pour the fruit through a muslin (a baby’s muslin square is perfect) tied up and suspended over a large jug or bowl to collect the juice. Do not squeeze the fruit as this will make the jelly cloudy. Leave for at least 4 hours — or overnight if possible.

2. Measure the juice. For every 500ml (1 US pint) of juice add 400g (14oz) sugar; add the juice of the lemon and warm up slowly to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and keep boiling until setting point is reached. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Wrinkle test: When you think your jam is ready, drop a small amount onto the cold plate and allow it to cool. Once cool, push your finger through the jam. If it wrinkles, you have reached the setting point. Photo credit: Richard Beaven

Keeps for one year. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within three months.

Extract from Do Preserve: Make your own jams, chutneys, pickles and cordials. by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss and Mimi Beaven. Copyright © 2016 by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss and Mimi Beaven. Published by The Do Book Co.

Do Books (includes free ebook download) | Bookshop.org | IndieBound | iBooks |

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