A simple preserve that celebrates the sprightly flavour of fresh bilberries. As you’ll know from your purple-stained hands if you’ve ever picked them, the berries can be quite delicate – but this recipe makes good use of any that may have suffered a little in gathering or in transit. It’s also very quick and easy to prepare: for little more than a quarter an hour of your time you’ll get two jars of dark, fruity jam that will bring you a taste of late summer berries on even the coldest of winter mornings. Serve spread on toast, dolloped into porridge, with clotted cream in scones, or to sandwich a sponge cake.
Makes : 2 × 350ml jars
Prep : 10 minutes
Cook : 15 minutes
- 600g bilberries, rinsed
- 400g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Put a saucer into the freezer to chill.
- Put the bilberries, sugar and lemon juice into a large, heavy-based pan and set it over a low heat. Stir slowly but constantly to prevent the sugar scorching on the bottom of the pan. As the heat increases in the pan the sugar will melt and the berries will yield their juice. Continue stirring until the mixture comes up to the boil.
- Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then test the jam for a set by putting a teaspoon of the mixture onto the chilled saucer. After a few seconds, drag your finger through the puddle – if its surface wrinkles and does not run back into the pathway made by your finger, then the jam is ready. If it is still runny, return the pan to the heat and saucer to the freezer and test again in 3 minutes.
When the jam is ready, turn off the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to disperse. Then ladle into warm sterilised jars and seal while still slightly warm.
- Stored in a cool dry place, the unopened jam should keep well for about a year.
Recipe by Wild Food UK; recipe development and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK