Lucy Schaufer’s Blackberry, Bay & Lime Jam
Cookbooks for me are like old pals. When you need advice and inspiration, you pick one up, flip through the pages, and suddenly you’re hearing new stories or being reminded of things you already know, yet through a new lens. You feel rejuvenated and ready to face life. And the kitchen. You’ve been given permission to play and imagine your own flavours. This jam was created last summer during the Wild Plum Arts Made at the Red Houseartist residencies - I went out into Britten and Pears’s garden, picked some big fat blackberries, ripped a few bay leaves off a bush, and thought...lime. That’s what this needs: lime.
600g cane sugar
1 lime, juice and zest
1 bay leaf per jar
Pick through the berries removing any stalks or leaves. Place them in a preserving pan with enough water to almost cover the fruit. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the fruit is soft. While the fruit is simmering, warm the sugar in an overproof bowl in a low oven, 140ºC (275ºF). Grate the zest, juice the lime, and save for later.
Remove the sugar from the oven. Put your clean jars and lids in the oven for 15 minutes at the reduced temperature of 125ºC, then turn the oven off. Add the sugar to the berries and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of the whole lime. Bring the jam quickly to a rolling boil over a medium-high heat and continue to boil until setting point is reached.
Test for setting point by either the thermometer test (104.5ºC), the cold plate method, or flake test. I tend to use both the thermometer and flake test. Using a metal spoon, if the jam remains suspended on the side of the spoon, a good unctuous drip, it’s ready. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes. At this point, push any scum to the side of the pan and remove with a metal spoon.
Add the zest and stir gently. Ladle the jam into the jars, up to the brim. I use a jam funnel which makes filling the jars much easier. Crack the bay leaf to release the oils and push it into the center of the jar, submerging completely, then seal with twist-top lids. (You can use waxed discs and cellophane covers secured with rubber bands). Ready to eat - though the longer you leave it, the stronger the bay flavour. Too long and it might taste like licking your grandpa’s barber chair. (Yield: 4-5 170g jars)
You can substitute bramble berries - just add a little bit more water. If you prefer a smoother jam without as many seeds, you can always sieve the fruit after boiling before adding the sugar.