I love unsweetened, natural yoghurt laced with deep-crimson streaks of my homemade forest berry jam. This isn’t the type of preserve that you spread on toast because this jam will run straight down your elbow. This is the type of preserve that you find glistening in the triangular corner of Muller Fruit Corners yoghurt. It’s typically Danish, and often set on the breakfast table with ymer or yoghurt.
I use my ancient pot for making this jam because the berries stain everything, including your wooden spoon. Don’t’ use your favourite wooden spoon for stirring this because it will be forever and after purple.
I use fresh berries during late summer when the hedgerows are heavy with free fruit, but for the rest of the year I use frozen berries from the supermarket. The frozen supermarket berries are a combination of raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, loganberries and blueberries. I often add a handful of fresh blueberries at the end so that there’s some whole pieces to sink your teeth into.
This recipe makes enough to fill one 500ml jar, plus a bit extra to fill a custard dish for instant gratification. I also sterilise my jars in the oven, and add a bit of “Torsleffs Atamon” which is a Danish preservative.
Note that this is sugar-free because my husband cannot eat jam with sugar. The sweetener that I use is liquid, rather than granular, but certainly the latter is perfectly acceptable … as is sugar, of course.
Hedgerow Berry Jam/Preserve
500g frozen Mixed Red/Blue/Purple Berries
1 small nob unsalted butter
Juice of one large lemon, plus water to make 100ml (or just enough to peek through the berries – but not covering)
50-60ml Certo liquid or 10-15g unsweetened pectin powder
1 teaspoon liquid sweetener (or sugar to taste)
1 teaspoon Atamon preservative
Add together in a pot the berries, water/lemon juice, and slowly bring to a simmer until they’re thawed (if frozen). Stir as little as possible. Move the pot by hand to swish the liquid through the berries. Bring slowly up to a boil, skimming foam as it appears. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Now add the nob of butter, which reduces the foaming while it simmers. At this point, place a small plate in the freezer so it will be good and cold for testing the gelatinous stage of the jam later on.
Add the sweetener, stir carefully so the fruit isn’t broken up to much, and then taste. It shouldn’t be overly sweet. It’s best tart to counter the creaminess of the yoghurt. Add the pectin, stir thoroughly, simmer 1 minute. Test the jam on the plate cooling in the freezer. Drop a glob of jam on the plate, wait a bit, and then run your finger through it. It should be firm-ish and a slight wrinkly skin should form. If it does, add the Atamon, stir. Take the jar out of the oven and pour the jam into it. Seal and cool.
I keep our jam in the fridge … mostly because I’m short on cupboard space.
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