Do you know about English hedgerows?
Well, let me tell you. They are wild, living fences. A border line between properties, a windbreak between fields, a haven for small creatures, a closely planted, semi-impenetrable mix of shrubs and trees entangled and entwined together. Here in Oxfordshire they usually contain sloe, elderberry, crab apples, damson plums, roses and other lovely edible plants like bramble berry, blackberry and hawthorn.
Wouldn’t it be a shame not to use all this bounty for some seasonal jams?
I thought you’d agree.
It’s been such a late summer that this year the sloes, hawthorns and rose hips aren’t quite ready, so I made the jam from huge, sour windfall cooking apples, elderberries, damson plums, bramble and blackberries.
It’s really easy and here’s the basic recipe:
Quarter apples, put in a little water along with elderberries and damsons and simmer for a few minutes.
Pulp these fruits thru a sieve, or food mill, throw out the pits.
Add some blackberries and bramble berries.
Usually I go for equal measures of pulped fruit to berries, this year it was 2lbs pulp plus 2 lbs berries)
Add the same amount of sugar, this year it was 4 lbs sugar to the 4 lbs of fruit.
Boil to jam point. (You know how to do this don’t you? Cold plate, drop a little jam, does it wrinkle…good, it’s done)
Ladle into hot sterilised jars…seal
There you go.
Oh, clean up is easy…lick left over jam from the stirring spoon, pot, fingers…you get the picture.