Blackberry Picking + Small Batch Artisanal Berry Jam!

The summer of 2020 is winding down and we are preparing to go back to school. In the words of Jerry Garcia, “what a long strange it’s been!” The last 6 months have been life altering to say the least. Being in lockdown in an apartment in New York City because of a raging pandemic was insane but I wrote a new book, spent every waking hour with my husband and son, and was forced to do nothing when there was nothing to do. On some level, I am grateful for that time but as soon as lockdown ended in June, we started taking trips outside of the city. We spent some time out east on Long Island where we hit up the farm stands and got lots of fresh corn and tomatoes and made several trips to the Hudson Valley, one of our favorite areas. This last time, my plan included picking blackberries!

Even though it was just last week (August) it was chilly. We threw on our sweatshirts and headed over to Greig Farm. First, we took in the spectacular view of the mountains, then we walked up and down the neat rows of blackberry bushes and picked them fresh off the vine. We ended up with 2 1/2 lbs!

I went home and tried to make a clafoutis. It was unsuccessful – it is one of those recipes that just cannot be veganized and you know what? I am totally ok with that. I have better recipes in my repertoire like the seasonal fruit galette from my cookbook, Wait, That’s Vegan?! In the book I feature three recipes – apples (get ready, that season is about to start!), strawberry rhubarb and peach raspberry – but just swap in the blackberries as the seasonal fruit and you are all set. 

At this point, I had already used about 4 cups of berries, so I decided to freeze about 2 cups for when I want a burst of freshness in the middle of winter and then made this amazing jam with the last cup. It’s the easiest thing in the world – no canning, no pectin, no fuss. I like to call it “small batch artisanal jam.” See recipe below!

To really showcase the jam, for Sunday brunch, I made crumpets using the famous Warbutons UK recipe which they posted during lockdown. Crumpets are like yeasty pancakes meets English muffins. They are so, so easy to make, but you need some equipment – a griddle pan and crumpet rings – both of which are great investments! 

Like so many of my recipes, this jam is easy and swappable. Use just blackberries or mix it up and add blueberries and/or strawberries and/or raspberries! Whatever you make, it will be delicious and will be gone in no time. Enjoy!

Small Batch Artisanal Berry Jam

Servings 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 overflowing cup berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries, if using strawberries, hull and coarsely chop them)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup good maple syrup (if your berries are not that sweet, use more than less maple syrup)
  • Salt, a pinch

Instructions

  1. Add the berries and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash them up a bit.

  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to the lowest possible flame, mash again, and then cook, stirring often, until the fruit is all broken down and the jam has thickened up, 10 to 15 minutes. It should stick to a spatula and pull away from the sides of the pot. It will continue to thicken up as it cools.

  3. Store any leftover jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to three months.

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