The weather so often a topic this summer is finally warm creating an overabundance of ripe summer fruit. Unfortunately the prices at the market haven’t really dropped and fruit remains too expensive to make jam or simple fruit sauce with.
Luckily I live near endless banks of blackberry brambles offering succulent juicy berries for the picking or I should say for the sticking! Ouch those brambles and thorns are mean and at the end my arms and legs look like I was in a cat fight.
The juiciest ones grow along the prison walls where the heat is stored in the high walls andthere is no wind. But we pick many more along the way, walking through the fields with the unmowed grass and wildflowers reaching our waists. Along the brambles it smells of fox and badger but they are resting at this time of day so they won’t bother our quest.
School vacation is unfortunately drawing to an end and every moment I spend with my son Jasper is very precious to me. He has joined me and we chat of previous berry picking adventures while walking in the sun, working together with glove, cultivator, bucket, collecting and snacking on the juicy berries. The sweat is running down our necks and the juices from our fingers and lips. It is glorious and so productive. We managed to pick about 2 kilos in 1.5 hours.
When we returned our hands were red, prickly and scored, and our tummy rumbled for sustenance.
Thankfully I had some great “old” Italian white bread to make one of our favorites: French Toast which we thought would be perfect to soak up some delicious blackberry sauce.
Jasper made the French Toast soaking sauce with 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of milk and 2 tsps of cinnamon sugar,while I washed 2 cups of berries and put them in a pot with 2 TBSPs of sugar, 1 tsp of peach-vanilla vinegar cream, and 1 tsp of vanilla sugar, boiling it up and letting it simmer for the fruity sauce.
Out with the frying pan and vegetable-based frying cream, turn on the oven to 100° C to keep the French Toast warm, set a pretty table and your delicious breakfast will be ready in about a total of 20 minutes.
The mixtures of egg-fried bread combined with the sweet and pungent blackberry sauce is simple, delicious and satisfying, blending perfectly in your mouth! Reminding us of comfort, chilhood and our love of family and nature!
Seeing as we couldn’t eat all the fresh blackberries we picked I made a new blackberry jam creation
Spicy Blackberry Ginger Mint Jam – very different and very tasty with brioche of toasted English Muffins, or on white chocolat pannacotta or or or ……
- 1000 grams / about 2 pounds of ripe blackberries
- 500 grams / 1 pound of jamming sugar 3:1 gelatine included
- 1/2 vanilla bean split open
- 1 pinch of chili flakes – or more if you like racy jam
- 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh mint leaves (about 6 leaves)
- 4 apricots, wash and cut into pieces and add the pits
- 1 tsp of ginger oil
- 1 TBSP of agave syrup if jam is too sour after cooking (optional)
Putting it all together:
Wash and sort and drain the blackberries. Place them in a big pot and add all the other ingredients including the apricot pits which give such good flavor. Stir well and let macerate at least 15 minutes.
Slowly heat to a boil stirring occasionally. When the jam boild lower to a simmer and simmer stirring often for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside covered to cool somewhat.
In the meantime sterilize your jars by boiling them and their lids briefly in a large pot of water. Remove from the water with tongs and place upside down on a tea towel covered tray – remove the lids and place them next to the appropriate jar.
Set up your food mill over a clean pot or bowl, insert the finest blade. Carefully pour or ladle the warm jam into the food mill is several sessions making sure to remove the apricot pits as you find them. Mill the jam so that ony the seeds and vanilla pod remain in the strainer.
Stir the finished jam and add the agave syrup if it isn’t sweet enough. If the jam is to cool – carefully heat it again but do not boil. Turn your jars over and using a jam funnel fill the jars right to the top, screw on the lid tightly and turn the jars over and let the them cool upside down on their tops before refrigerating. Store right side up in a cool and dark place.
Voila!! Delicious jam with a perfect consistency, just lightly spicy on the tongue and tangy with the mint and ginger. If you tasted it with your eyes closed you couldn’t guess the ingredients except for the blackberries but the exotic mixture explodes on your taste buds.
I am including this recipe in the Herbs on Saturday August challenge hosted by Karen Burns Booth from Lavender and Lovage as well as the for the Simple and in Season August Challenge hosted by Ren Behan from Fabulous Food