Adventures in Foraging

Over the weekend we finally managed to go foraging along the fields close to home. Luckily I packed two containers and carried a cotton bag.

Foraging Blackberries and Rowan

The results were

600 gr of wild blackberries

and

250 gr of rowan berries.

Unfortunately someone had foraged the rowan trees before us and did everything my granddad taught me not to do. They picked the trees completely empty and did not cut the berries with a sharp knife or scissor but tore them off. A lot of torn off berries littered the ground underneath the trees.

We luckily found some trees they did not damage and took just enough berries to experiment with making jam.

So for the Blackberry Jam

when using 1:1 gelling (jam) sugar you need as much sugar as berries

600 gr blackberries (washed … pick out a panicked spider that somehow ended up in there, poor wee thing)

600 gr gelling sugar

Mix this all in a big bowl with a wooden spoon and let rest for about half an hour

(I know the instructions on the sugar do not tell you to do this but it brings out the juice, you do not need to add water for cooking and besides this is what my granny recommends so I am damn well doing it.)

Then pour the mess into a big pot

Use hand blender and mix

Cook for 4 minutes

Fill in thoroughly cleaned canning glasses

The Rowan Berries

I got the recipe from http://en.heilkraeuter.net and amended it a little (yup I know there is only one batch of recipes I follow on the dot and these are granny’s Klöße (potato dumplings, which I will post in due time)).

200 gr rowan berries

200 gr golden delicious apple

400 gr gelling (jam) sugar

1/4 cup of water

peel & cut apples mix with rowan berries and water

simmer until apples and berries are soft

use hand blender and mush the mix

add gelling sugar

simmer for another 4 minutes (or whatever the instructions on the sugar)

fill in thoroughly cleaned canning glasses

The Canning

I tend to collect glasses from pickles and jams I buy in the super market

Initially washing them in the dish washer

But before using these glasses (or in fact newly bought jam glasses)

I boil water in my kettle and pour the boiling water into the glasses and over the lids (and canning rubber bands if you use the clip lids with rubber band)

Use a freshly washed cotton kitchen towel and dry the glasses and lids properly

When filling the jam make sure that:

  1. there is at least 0.5cm space left to the rim of the glass
  2. you use a clean kitchen towel to wipe the drops of spilled jam from the rim of the glass—take particular care that nothing is on the parts of the rim that connect directly with the lid

Then use your biggest pot (unless of course you have a special canning cooker) put a cotton kitchen towel into the pot

Fill water in the pot about 3 inches—the water may not cover the lids of the glasses

Put the glasses into the pot on top of the towel

Tip: The cotton kitchen towel prevents glasses from breaking while being canned.

Bring water to boil and then turn heat down and simmer

Now depending on what you are canning … if it is just jams in average sized glasses my granny says 40 minutes are enough to vacuum seal the glasses

A great indicator are the reused jam glasses that have the “safety” lids. These are the lids that have a bobble in the middle which is indented as long as the glass is still unopened and pops up once you open the glass. I love listening to the glasses cool down when one after the other the lids making popping sounds indenting and therefore indicating the canning worked.

Do not use lids that have rust, discoloring or any other damage on them.

Use the out most rigor in cleaning any utensils used in preparing the canning goods and for canning

My rule of thumb: if in doubt boil the heck out of it!

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