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This recipe for blackberry preserve couldn't be easier. The fruit is boiled with sugar and then strained in a process that takes less than two hours. The resulting jelly is dark, fruity and softly set. Enjoy it spread on warm buttered toast or scones. It is also good served with roast poultry and game dishes instead of apple or jellies. Store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place to enjoy a supply throughout winter.
Makes: 1kg jelly
Once strained, the jelly starts to set fairly quickly so you will need to have everything ready for potting it into jars.
It is important to use the right pan. Choose a large, wide pan. The mixture should not come any higher than half way up the sides. A wide pan helps the liquid to evaporate more quickly and reduces the likelihood of the syrup boiling over.
Prepare the jars so that they are ready to use as soon as the jelly has reached setting point. Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Ensure the jars are clean and free from cracks and chips. Place the jars on their sides in the oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off, leaving the jars inside until the jelly is ready to pot.
Use preserving sugar. It has larger crystals which dissolve slowly. This minimises scum and results in a bright, clear jelly.
Store the jelly in a cool, dry place away from direct light, which will fade the colour. Unopened jelly will keep for up to one year. Once opened, store in a fridge for up to 4 weeks.
Large, heavy-based pan or preserving pan
Measuring jug and spoons
2 or 3 saucers or small plates
Large metal sieve
Large heatproof bowl
Large metal spoon and ladle
Preserving jars with lids, or jam jars and jam pot covers
This recipe was first published in August 2003.