Where do you pick your blackberries from?

It seems as if this year so far there has been a bumper crop of blackberries and plums, as well as some early apples. I picked my blackberries from Gunnersbury Park and was fortunate enough to be asked to pick some wonderful plums from an allotment, but where did you pick yours from and what interesting things have you made so far? Fill out the poll below and tell us!

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Apple juce, pears, quinces, damson jam and more in the making

This is the busiest time of year for Abundance with so many fruits being picked. We’ve just taken delivery of our second batch of apple juice. Different apples this time and the juice tastes fruity and dry – very refreshing. We’ve got to get it labelled and then it will be ready to sell.

We picked a mass of damsons a couple of weeks ago at a site in Northolt and we now have some 30 jars of spectacular looking damson jam. Damson has one of the most intense of fruit flavours so this should be something to savour.

The kitchen is starting to take on that autumnal aroma of vinegar! It’s chutney time again. We’ve got pears in and ready for the ever-popular pear and ginger chutney. We have a goodly supply of quinces which may be turned in to quince cheese or maybe in to chutney – we shall see what works best.

damson Jam 

4lbs (1.8kg) damsons

Quarter pint (145ml) of water (you do need to add water if fruit is frozen, or partially frozen)

4lbs (1.8kg) sugar

Juice of one lemon (not in this recipe, I added this in myself)

  1. Wash and wipe the damsons.  Pick over to remove stalks
  2. Put into a pan with the water (I actually didn’t put the water in at this stage as I wanted to see how much juice the damsons generated first) and simmer gently until the fruit is soft, occasionally pressing the damsons against the sides of the pan to break open and release the stones. Alternatively de-stone the fruit prior to adding to the pan
  3. Remove the stones (I would suggest you let the damsons cool down first)
  4. It now says on the recipe to test for pectin.  I admit missing this stage out and added the juice of one lemon when I added the sugar
  5. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.  DO NOT BOIL. This should take around 5 minutes
  6. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes (I timed it and it was 10 minutes) until the jam sets when tested. Be careful as the fruit will bubble furiously.
  7. Remove the remainder of the stones as they rise to the surface
  8. Remove the scum with a spoon, add a knob of butter after taking the pan off the heat
  9. Leave the jam to cool for around 10 minutes, this way you avoid the fruit settling at the bottom of the jar
  10. Pot and seal into sterilised jars while still warm

Makes around 6lbs (2.7kg) of jam