And I love ’em so I’ve been out picking with the girls. We’ve been out picking in the evenings as a family and we’ve been given other peoples excess pickings.
Wonderful. I can’t have too many blackberries and neither, it seems, can my daughters.
I’m keen to exploit as much and as many of summers fruits as possible to liven up winter.
Last year I made raspberry and strawberry jams with home grown berries and was hugely impressed by the taste in comparison to average shop bought stuff. So I’m on it this year.
Most of the original recipes use sugar or honey but I’ve discovered that it works just as well without a sweetener as long as your fruit is in tip top condition.The recipe I used was:
500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
You throw all except the honey in the pan.Preheat the oven to very low – 60C/gas mark ⅛ is good, though the lowest setting you can manage is fine. Cook gently, partially covered at first, until soft and pulpy, about 20 minutes. Then you’ve got to do a bit of a work out by rubbing it through a sieve or mouli into a bowl. Then you mix in the honey.
Divide it between two baking sheets lined with grease proof paper or foil, spreading out the purée thickly with a spatula until the sheets are covered with a smooth, even layer about 5mm to 1cm deep. I found that if I did it too thin it became crispy and brittle. The recipes recommend baking for 10-12 hours but I found I could bake for a few hrs and then just turn the oven off leaving the leathers inside over night. Either way leave until it is completely dry and peels off easily. Roll up in greaseproof paper or clingfilm, store in an airtight container in a cool place and use within four months; or freeze it, well sealed, for up to a year. A year!! How ace is that!!
Ive used up my berry stash for the minute but the hedgerows are still laden with fruit so I shall be making some crumble and maybe some blackberry vodka in the coming weeks.