Hi all volunteers
There are plenty of early blackberries about it seems and it looks as though we should be able to have an inaugural pick on Sunday August 7 at 7pm. We’ll meet at Mayfield School, High Lane, Hanwell, W7 3RT and set off about 7.15.
We will almost certainly pick again – but we’ll decide on the exact date after this Sunday. We’ll bring some tupperware to collect the blackberry donations for WEN, but bring your own, too, so you can take some home.
Let’s hope the weather stays fine!
I kid you not! The following day after the blackberry picking event I noticed 3 small bites on my shin and ankle. Two days later my ankle had swollen and I mentioned it to the GP as I was there with my son. Started with steroid cream and antihistamine tablets. Thursday evening/Friday morning large rash on shin and ankle, visited the Doctors again and now on high strength antibiotics for 10 days! It is so ITCHY too!
Next time it’s long socks and jeans all the way.
Further to my last post I am hoping the blackberries are still OK. With the rain we have had they may have gone mouldy! Lets hope there is still enough for us to pick tomorrow.
I went along today to have a look at the blackberries and could not believe my eyes, literally hundreds of bushes with ripe blackberries and a lot more still to come – I ran out of time as I had my young son with me today so could only pick a few tubs. We also found a damson tree overhanging the river so I managed to pick a couple of kg.
So with this in mind I am looking for volunteers to help me out to pick more for Abundance so we can make some lovely jam – anyone that volunteers gets a jar!
I drove today and the entrance nearest to the field at around 7.15pm on Tuesday 17th August. This is on Bridge Avenue where it meets Brookbank Avenue. From there it is a short walk around the field to the blackberry bushes.
Please let me know if you are interested in coming along. I will supply containers.
We have loads of locations plotted now – Apples, Blackberries, Damsons, Elderflowers, Pears and Plums, so go to this location to find them.
I will be out to a couple of locations this weekend to hopefully pick a lot of blackberries to make jam – has anyone picked any yet locally by the way?
2kg of frozen blackberries [no need to defrost]
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
300ml of water [can add a little more, for example, 100ml if the mixture is looking too thick]
Could use up to 1.2 kgs sugar [depends on volume of mixture- use 250gms sugar to 250ml of mixture]
• Put two small places or saucers in the freezer. Put the frozen berries in a large pan with the water and lemon juice
• Bring to the boil and gently simmer for about 15-30 minutes or until the fruit has softened.
• Measure the fruit mixture and add 250gms sugar for every 250ml of mixture.
• Add the sugar and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes till all dissolved. Return to the boil and boil vigorously, stirring to ensure it is not sticking on the base of the pan.
• Remove any scum that has formed after the first 5 minutes with a large spoon.
• When the jam falls from the tilted wooden/melamine spoon [metal spoons retain heat] in a sheet/ large mass, without dripping, start testing for setting point.
• If set, turn off heat, remove any remaining scum from the surface.
• Spoon immediately into clean warm jars and seal with lid if a pulpy jam. Otherwise let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes to allow the fruit to settle evenly [See separate Jam notes].
• Leave jars to stand, cool and set without moving.
Makes between 2-3 litres
Two Abundance volunteers – Sarah and Elizabeth had a very successful session on Saturday 9th September – 16 jars of blackberry jam plus a taster jar from just over 2kg of blackberries. We were worried we wouldn’t have enough blackberries this year to make any real quantity of blackberry jam but we still have around 2kg left over and another volunteer, Gill is going to try blackberry and lime jam – sounds delicious and I assume the lime will offset the sweetness, ideal if you find jam a bit sweet and cloying.
Sarah and Elizabeth used 6 tblsp of lemon juice to ensure a set. They also found the jam set in about 5 minutes. Admittedly they used very little water to stop them burning when breaking down but it gave a good consistency of fruit to liquid. They also used jam sugar [ie sugar + pectin] covering all bases to ensure a set! Less water was used (300ml) because they cooked the blackberries from frozen which added some water.
Sugar quantities were 200grms sugar to 250ml of blackberry mixture.