The summer isn’t really summer for me without jam making. Usually it’s an afternoon strawberry picking followed by a boil up at home, but this year we’ve discovered that my better half is allergic to strawberries – apparently not as uncommon as you might think – and so strawberry jam is out of the question.
Fortunately we don’t just make strawberry jam.
Yesterday we set off blackberry picking – a favourite autumn pass-time of mine – I just LOVE free food! (Field mushrooms are good too – but I haven’t seen any this year…) Anyway, yesterday it was a few jars of blackberry jam into the store cupboard for the winter, and a blackberry and apple crumble for tea.
This morning I was out again, doing an early morning raid three doors down where the house is rented out and the blackberry bush trailing out from their front garden was just laden!
Yes – I know… it’s in their garden… but is it really scrumping if a) it’s hanging over the public pavement, b) they won’t do anything with them anyway and c) it’s just weeds?? – I don’t know – but I have to admit it’s one of the reasons I did an early morning raid when they were asleep in bed instead of picking them yesterday afternoon just in case anyone leant out of the window and said Oi!)
Today – we went out with the kids to a play area about 20 minutes away and what should there be at the edge of the field but the most heavily laden sloe bush I have ever seen in my life! Now, I love sloe gin, but I’m far too impatient for anything like that – but such a crop of sloes was hard to resist – so I didn’t.
Getting them home I googled Sloe Jam – there must be a recipe somewhere. But was there? No. At least, not one that didn’t involve me going out and buying (YES BUYING) more fruit to go with it. (Cooking apples in this case.) And so… we invented our own recipe with what we had in the house.
So – for those needing a sloe jam recipe (if you happen to find a bush cropping as heavily as I did this autumn)… here it is:
1.2 kg sloes (approx)
400 ml Orange Juice (cheap shoddy concentrate was all we had in the house)
1.2kg preserving sugar (it has to be Preserving sugar NOT jam sugar).
Clean all the twigs etc from the sloes, and then put them in a large pan with the water. Bring them to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes. Mash them with a potato masher. (You may need a bit more water depending on how much evaporates out.)
Strain the sloes in a muslin bag or through a sieve – getting out as much juice and flesh as possible, but leaving the stones and skins behind. (we used both the slow drip and when that wasn’t fast enough for me, the squeezing to within an inch of their life technique).
After that you should hopefully have around 600gm of sloe juice and strained flesh to make jam with. The rest is rubbish – just throw it away / compost it (but be warned – there’ll be a ton of pips in your compost).
Add the sloe juice and flesh, orange juice and preserving sugar to a LARGE pan ( the jam rises while boiling so you need to be aware it might boil over – we used a massive stock pot). Bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes.
After that – just decant the jam into jam jars and hey presto – Sloe Jam (or in this case probably Sloe Marmalade as it’s got the orange in it as well.
Either way – it’s delicious! Can’t wait until it’s cooled down!
Anyway – that’s my “recipe for the day” and “what” you are asking – “does this have to do with murders?”
Oh – well take a look at the straining sloes – could easily be blood…