In a bit of a Jam!

If you’ve read our posts on natural make-up and remedies you’ll know we like natural things!

We like discovering new places and getting out and about in London, but we also have our little traditions. One of these said traditions is the perfect combination of getting out and about and natural things in London’s open spaces. What is it you ask?

It’s going Blackberry Picking for & with Bruffin (our some times guest reviewer), we have been doing this for many, many years and this year is no exception.

But what do we do this for? Well we take what we pick and make it into Jelly or Sorbet.

Let us take a moment to explain the difference between Jelly and Jam: 

The term “preserves” is often used specifically to refer to what are technically “conserves” or “whole fruit jams”, where the product is made simply by throwing the fruit into sugar syrup and simmering it until it has the desired texture. So, you may see “strawberry preserves” right next to “strawberry jam”; the difference, if any, will be that the preserves will have larger, more recognisable pieces of the fruit while the jam will likely have started with crushed or pureed strawberries Typically, jam has chunks of fruit left in it while jelly does not.

So we thought we would share with you the process and also the recipes. All credit for the making of goes to Bruffin as she is the true mastermind of the whole cooking section.

But first the picking;

London is full of green spaces, parks and even woodlands and if you know what you are looking for, there will be something for you to forage. You can find all manor of goodies like Gooseberries, Apples, Plums, Strawberries, Raspberries as well as wild Garlic and Mushrooms. but for now as it is one of the most fruitful plants is a blackberry bush, but these prickly, painful plants is what we aim for every year.

At the end of July to the middle of August (depending on the weather) the berries should be ripe enough to pick. You will know this by sight,

Green = Not ripe

Pinkish Red = Still not Ready

Dark Red = Almost There (and a few of these can be picked)

Black = Juicy and ready to pick 

When you find a bush, you pick, get scratched, get a few thorns in some uncomfortable places! Pick some more and fill as many boxes as you can. We normally take the empty  ice-cream cartons and fill them to the brim. We estimate we can fit 2.5 pounds of Berries per box.

Once you get home (after going to the pub for a well earned beer as a reward!) You go through the boxes, picking out the leaves, stems and burrs. With this done you weigh your berries.

You need 4 pounds (1.8Kg) of Berries at a time.

Wash the berries in running water, (Carefully so as not to loose too much of the juice). Take a large heavy bottomed large saucepan (or if you have one) a Preserving Pan. Smear the inside with butter to prevent burning. 

Now before you do anything, place a saucer in the freezer. At the same time, place your freshly washed Jam Jars in the oven (to sterilise) 

Place the berries in the saucepan

2 pounds (1kg) Cooking Apples Roughly Chopped – Leaving the core and Skin on)

2Pints (1ltr) of Cold Water 

Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for about 1 hour, until all the fruit is soft.

Next take a Straining Bag – and position a large bowl.

Gradually spoon the mixture in, then allow it all to strain through the bag.

Next take a measuring jug and pour the juice in, to measure the quantity.

For every pint of juice, add 1 pound of Jam Sugar (use this as it has pectin in it other sugar doesn’t).

Add the juice of one lemon.

Next put a Jam Thermometer in the juice and bring to a full rolling boil. When the liquid is at Jam temperature. Take the saucer from the freezer and dollop a spoonful of the jam on the saucer. Return it to the freezer for 3-5mins. Take the mixture off of the heat.

Take out the saucer and run your finger through the mixture, if it wrinkles (the mixture, not your finger) then it has reached setting point. Carefully remove the jars from the oven and place on a heat proof surface.

Funnel in the juice while it is still hot. Fill close to the brim. Place 1 waxed Jam Cover (shiny side down) on top. – Make sure there are no air pockets by pushing the cover gently to the surface of the jam to create a sealed top and stopping the possibility of mould forming.

Take 1 transparent film Jam Cover over the neck of the jar, place an elastic band around the neck and screw the lid on top of the jar. Leave to set and cool in a cool, dark area. Don’t be shocked to hear the jars popping, it’s just the mixture setting.

When you come to using the Jam/Jelly if you find any mould on top, scoop it off and throw it out, the rest of the jar will be unaffected and fine. If however if the mixture is still runny, then you need to reheat, bringing it back to rolling boil and follow the process through again. But you will loose some of the quantity in reboiling for the second time. 


If you aren’t a Jelly/Jam lover but like the idea of the picking and making something, you could always make Sorbet. Here is the recipe; 

560gr Blackberries

600ml Water

1 Juice of a lemon

 100-200gr Cane Sugar (quantity subject to taste).


Rinse the Blackberries and combine in a blender with the water and lemon juice.

Puree until smooth, then press the mixture through a fine sieve to retain the seeds.

In a pan whisk together the juice and sugar, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Let it cool for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, transfer to a container and place in the fridge to chill completely. Place the mixture into a shallow pan and freeze for about 1 hour, then blend in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into a container and return to the freezer.

Serve, when frozen in a bowl, with fruit or alone. 

Well there you go, our first recipe on Climbing Moss, thank you to Bruffin for sharing her trade secret!

If you try this recipe then let us know how you do, do you have any recipes to share, maybe we can feature your formulas and ideas. 

Also remember to check out our Pinterest for our ‘Food, glorious food’ as well as all the other boards. 

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