I made strawberry jam for the first time in July this year and although it didn't quite set properly the smell and taste was enough to have me hooked on jam making! I tried making raspberry jam next and bought the berries directly from East Scryne Farm, just outside our town. This time the jam set perfectly and I decided to enter it into the local Flower Show. I was very surprised to find it came 2nd place and this really encouraged me to carry on preserving!
Over the next few weeks I made redcurrant jelly and another batch of raspberry jam. Some were given away to friends, others I have kept aside to remind me of the warmth of late summer when it's cold and dark in the winter months. The young plum tree in our garden produced an abundance of juicy plums for the first time this year. As soon as they were ready they went straight into the pot!
At the moment I am regularly out foraging for brambles (in Scotland we call blackberries brambles). I pick brambles from many different locations which gives a bigger range in taste and sweetness levels and also ensures I leave plenty for nature to enjoy. When I get home they go straight in the freezer and when there are about 4-5kg I will turn them into bramble jelly.
I have been making bramble jelly for about 10 years and it's something I anticipate with excitement every year. Throughout the summer I check on all my usual patches to see how they are developing and look forward to that first taste of bramble jelly. I made redcurrant and bramble jelly last week which was a good combination of flavours, producing a sweeter jelly than brambles on their own. I think I have about one more week to go out foraging before the brambles are left for the birds to finish off and it will be bramble jelly time again!