Saturday was hot, beautifully sun-bathingly hot.
And I really needed a good blast of Vit D and to take in some sun-goodness and re-charge those empty batteries so I loved it.
But the forecast was for rain on Sunday so I thought I'd better get blackberry-picking before the rain got to them. And they are pretty much perfect right now and the bushes are full of berries although - as always (why is this?) - it feels that the most perfect ones are just out of reach.
Returned home with scratched legs, sunburnt shoulders and a tub of lovely ripe blackberries.
It was much too hot to even think about cooking yesterday - plus the sunshine and my roof were calling me back - so the blackberries oozed in the weighing scales overnight waiting for the rainy hours on Sunday before they were made into jam.
And this is the easiest jam recipe ever!
Use any fruit really - peaches, nectarines, plums, all berries, apples, and combinations of them all. I've heard that less ripe fruit sets better but to be honest I just use what there is when I notice there's fruit that needs picking.
First, put a saucer in the fridge as you want it cold for testing when the jam is set.
You'll also need to get your jam jars sterilised - either use them hot straight from the dishwasher for those who have dishwashers, or if you don't (like me), wash them in hot water and put in a very very low oven (I used Gas Mark 1) for about 15 minutes.
Then it's onto the jam making.
Weigh the fruit and put it in a preserving pan or stainless steel saucepan with an equal quantity of sugar.
I decided to add a couple of apples that I brought back from my dad's garden last weekend, but didn't then add any more sugar too - there's quite enough in there already I think!
Put the pan over a very low heat and heat gently, stirring now and then, until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn up the heat and boil fairy rapidly, for 20-30 minutes.
Stir occasionally and also skim off some of the foam that appears at the start of the boiling time.
Test after 20 minutes by dropping a teaspoon of the boiling jam onto the saucer that you have in the fridge and after perhaps 30 seconds it will be setting and a sort of 'skin' wrinkle across the top of the jam blob.
If it's not quite ready, put the saucer back in the fridge, continue boiling the jam and try again in a couple of minutes.
To be honest, I'm not all that good at judging this and often leave it just a little too long and it sets quite hard. But it still tastes good. This time I decided it was ready after 25 minutes.
If you have any tips for getting this part right every time, I'd love to hear them so please comment and share!
Pour the jam into the hot jars straight away - I transferred it to a pyrex measuring jug first but still managed to spill a little.
One and three quarter jars filled, and a few hours later when it was cool, a slice of toast and jam to test of course (with a cup of tea - and I very very very rarely drink tea - it was nice).