One thing leads to another. Inevitability. So, when I checked the Kilruddery website, immediately after my August visit to the house and garden, I discovered that a berry foraging and jam making session led by Ed Hick was scheduled for Sunday the 21st September. And as I thought it was the type of event I might enjoy I promptly booked a place.
The berry foraging and jam making event started at 11am last Sunday. Sadly when I woke up that morning the sky looked dubiously grey but thankfully by the time I arrived at Kilruddery the weather had changed and it was cheeringly warm, sunlight filtered through the ancient trees, and gossamer clouds danced across a blue sky. In short: perfect berry picking weather.
About twenty people attended the event. We started off in the old grain store, one of Kilrudderry’s many quirky and interesting outbuildings, where Ed Hick showed us examples of what he wanted us to collect namely: blackberries, hawthorn berries, elderflower berries and rosehips. He then sent us out to roam the grounds and we spent a fruitful (pun intended) hour filling our containers with hand-staining fruits and trying to avoid clumps of stinging nettles.
When we returned, laden down with fruits, to the grain store we were offered a reviving cup of tea or coffee. Then Ed started to make the communal jam from our offerings. He began by putting some water, the rosehips, the hawthorn berries, and some unpeeled and un-cored chopped up cooking apples into a saucepan. The mix was simmered until the apples began to disintegrate. Ed strained this concoction and the resultant syrup was later added to the jam. He said the syrup would add depth of flavour.
The jam making proper began when the blackberries and elderflower berries together with an equal quantity of sugar were placed in a saucepan and brought to the boil. Interestingly Ed used a mix of sugars: jam sugar, muscovado sugar and a Mexican sugar with an unpronounceable name, apparently using a mix of different types of sugars adds extra layers of flavour. The aforementioned syrup was added to the jam when it began to boil. Once the mix had come to the right temperature (this was checked with a jam thermometer) Ed bottled it straight away.
The filled jars were divided out among the group and each of us went home with two jars.
This week I have been scooping spoonfuls out of one of my jars to use as a topping for my breakfast porridge and it is quite simply the most flavoursome jam I have ever tasted.
18 responses to “Berry Foraging and Jam Making”
What a great way to spend a day.It reminds me of a walk recently when we picked sloes and came home and made sloe gin. Unlike you however, we have to wait until Christmas for the sloe gin to mature whereas you get to eat the jam immediately!!
Hello H, I have never made sloe gin. There was much talk about it at the foraging session and one recommendation to try it mixed with apple juice. There are apparently no sloes in Kilruddery. My jam will be long gone aeons before Christmas and you will still have your sloe gin to look forward to!
Thank you for your comment. Bx
Delicious and lovely to know you picked the ingredients yourselves! What an enjoyable way to spend a morning.
It was good fun. The jam is truly delicious the added extras such as the syrup and the different types of sugars really enhanced the flavour.
What a great day of foraging and jam making. I love it, and really love the method used to make the jam. Must try.
I am so sorry for the delayed reply – it’s Sunday evening and I have only just got around to catching up with replying to comments. The berry foraging was great and having tasted the jam I’d now say that making the syrup was worth the extra effort as it did add a great deal of flavour.
What a fun and delicious event to attend. I would have loved it and I could have learned one or two things about making jam! 🙂
I love your photo with the berry and the snail on top! Too, too cute! 🙂
Hello Francesca, I am so sorry for the delayed reply, I have had a busy week. I hope you and Stefano are well. I loved that little snail too, I have never seen one quite that small. I know he didn’t go into the jam! I just hope that someone put him back outdoors. 😉
Making jam is definitely a fruitful adventure in cooking. 🙂
Thanks for your comment Karen. And yes it was a fruitful culinary adventure. 😉
Yum yum! We made elder berry jam and lot of apple jam. Unfortunately we haven’t found good blackberry hedge yet and I burned rosehip! May try hawthorn next:)
Hello Tomomi, you have been busy on the jam making front. I hope you find a good area for picking blackberries. 😉
You find the best and most interesting things to do in your area! This sounds like a delightful activity and you have something tasty to show for it… 🙂
It was a great day. I am lucky that there are often interesting events or festival which are held not far from where I live. 😉
Great pictures! What a great way to spend the day.
Thank you. It was a fun day.
What an absolutely wonderful event! I’ve been waning to try my hand at jam making for a while but I’ve always been a little bit intimidated. I love your picture of the berry with the snail on the top, how cute 🙂
I really enjoyed the jam making session and by a country mile the jam I took home was the best I eve tasted. The tiny snail was so cute, I have never seen one quite so small. I didn’t watch to see what happened to him so I just hope someone put him back outdoors where he belongs. 😉