A good blackberry jam can sweeten your day. I am not talking about a “Blackberry” mobile broken into million pieces, and no it’s not my sarcasm for once. There is an actual blackberry fruit, sweet and luscious, a nature’s gift. Blackberries commonly grow in colder climate areas such as central Europe and we collected our blackberries in our garden in Austria.
Blackberries mostly turn from small green fruits to full black berry fruits during august. If the berry vine plant grows in the sun, the fruits turn out sweeter. This year my parent’s blackberries turned out rather medium sweet and for that we can blame the weather pattern, which has just been awful for a while!
The weather has been an eternal autumn with frequent cold rainy days in Austria. Heck the whole august was just raining cat’s and dog’s and in between the monkey’s had a few weddings (It’s a saying in India when it rains but the sun shines) but we only saw real sun (with 20 Celsius!) only on two days. Europe is not the only one having unusual weather patterns these days, just look into the news and you will learn about massive flooding and eternal droughts. It’s as if our weather is upside down or as some would coin it these days, climate change. If the weather is changing, it can only be called climate change, or what do you think?
How is climate change connected to today’s blackberry jam? You see homegrown blackberries and other fruits need the usual same old weather pattern to grow the way they should so that we can harvest nutritious and tasty sweet fruits, but if the weather goes gaga, the problems start to pile up in time. If it’s unusually cold and it starts to snow in the middle of may in Europe, plants freeze and die. If it’s suddenly too hot and it doesn’t rain during the monsoon months in Asia, plants will suffer and die. You get my point.
Of course scientists have a solution for this, they call it GMO (Geneticaly modified organism). Take as an example here the tomato. Tomato variations are analyzed in the lab, the scientist pick the best traits from each tomato type and create a new super tomato that can withstand harsh weather conditions and altitudes. Now this sounds like a gem for today’s world and it would if there wasn’t a problem with that.
Because of stronger quicker growing plants, plants that take over the regular organic Non-GMO plants due to their super strong living traits (cross contamination danger), the “ancient” or original plant variations slowly start to die out. That means for example before we used to be able to buy and grow 10 different tomato variations, nowadays we are stuck with 1 or 2.
In India right now this is the case and I don’t want to judge or anything, I do understand the need for strong reliable plants to feed the masses, but when we end up having only one option of tomato type to buy in the market, and which on top is tasteless and doesn’t even smell like a regular organic tomato, I kind of end up wishing each time for the old times when tomatoes were just shapeless beautiful red fruits in different sizes and variations.
I don’t know how you feel about all this. I know, I prefer eating and tasting food that is rich in nutrition and flavor. I like to discover different fruits, vegetables and plant types. I like to taste the smaller but intense forest blackberries and the blackberries in our neighborhood which taste different again. And most importantly I enjoy using quality produce in my cooking and baking because we are people who have been growing up with home grown and home made food. To go backwards now would not make sense and to preserve what is good in live has turned into a priority.
What do you think? Do you want to taste food with all your senses or do you just want to fill your stomach?
I know we are not always fortunate. Organic produce is often way more expensive but if we can choose…. but if only we could choose.
Now to the Blackberry Jam Recipe, homemade with organic homegrown non treated berries, without preservatives and without pectin, just pure fruits and quality sugar to preserve the jam the natural way.
- 1000 grams (1 kilogram) fresh Blackberry fruits
- 750 grams regular crystal sugar
- A few drops of Rum to disinfect
- about 3-4 Jam jars and lids (300-350 milliliter)
- Wash your blackberries and pick out any impurities. Natural blackberries usually don't have insects and worms in them (compared to raspberries) so the washing should be quick. Weigh the berries and place them into a big cooking pot.
- Add the whole sugar amount to the berries. Mix the content well.
- Keep the pot with the fruits on the stove, cook on slow heat for about 45 mins, while stirring at times, until you can see a rolling boil. At that point the jam should be ready and you can take it from the heat. Test if the jam is set by dropping some on a cold plate, the jam is ready if it doesn't run. If it runs, keep for some more time to cook on low heat and repeat the test until you have the correct consistency.
- At this point you can either mash the cooked blackberries quickly or keep them in whole pieces. If you mash them, and you don't like the seeds, you have the option too to strain the jam. I did not strain since we enjoy the seeds in the jam.
- Before you fill the jars with the jam, drop little rum on into the lid. That will help in keeping the jam germ and mold growth free.
- Fill your clean jam jars with the blackberry jam, close well with the lid and turn the jar upside down. Keep them upside down for a few hours and then store them in a dry and cool place and keep away from direct sunlight. If you live in a humid tropical climate, please store the jam in the fridge.
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