Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's that time of year again. The time for preserving the abundance that Mother Nature provides for us.

So far I've made crushed strawberry jam (Mike doesn't like it if there are whole strawberries in it), Elderflower and Gooseberry jam, raspberry jam and blackcurrant jam.

Crushing strawberries
Waiting in the wings we have: 

Blackberries for bramble jelly now and rosehip and blackberry sauce later 
Pear and Onion chutney
Victoria plums, ripening nicely now.  Some for plum jam , some for freezing for scrummy spiced plum crumble in the depths of winter and some for plum ketchup
Dark purple plums

Blueberry and Vanilla jam

I had a reasonable crop of blueberries this year so decided to experiment by adding vanilla to my jam as I'd seen some in a market store recently.

Oh my goodness, it is sublime so I just have to share the recipe!


900g blueberries
700g sugar (I used ordinary granulated sugar)
Juice of 2 lemons (they help the jam set)
Pinch of salt
Vanilla pod, split lengthways


Put the blueberries in a non-metallic bowl with half the sugar, all the lemon juice, the salt and the vanilla pod and give it a good mix.  Cover with cling film and leave to stand for a few hours to draw the juice out - I left it overnight.

Pour the mixture into a preserving pan. Add the remaining sugar* and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. I use a wooden spoon to stir and you can feel the grittiness of the sugar and when there aren't any sugar crystals on the back of the spoon it's pretty safe to assume it's  dissolved.

* The sugar will dissolve quicker if you warm it in the oven beforehand. I always put it in the oven on a low heat for about 20 minutes at the same time I put my jam jars in to sterilise and warm through.

Gradually increase the heat and boil the mixture rapidly, without stirring, for about 10 minutes or until it reaches setting point - the jam thermometer should read 104C or you can use the cold plate method I wrote about in another recipe.

Remove the pan from the heat and skim off any scum using a long-handled metal spoon. Discard the vanilla pod and allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes which helps prevent the fruit form rising to the top of the jars.

Pour the jam into the warmed jars, secure the lids and leave to cool before labelling.


I used it to make some blueberry muffins - gorgeous!

Tinker's find

I was busy taking photos of flowers on our walk round the garden this morning when Tinker drew my attention to something.

I've found something interesting for you!

It took me a while to spot what it was as it was so well disguised but then I spotted this beautiful spider:

No comments: