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August 25, 2017

Forage for Jam

Forage for Jam

Elderberries via Flickr

Make your own jam with wild fruit

Autumn is arriving making it the perfect time to forage for fruit. It’s so easy to make your own jams and jellies at home, and by preparing it yourself you can make it exactly to your liking. Here’s our guide to easy foraging and what you can do with your finds.

Disclaimer: Before eating anything you find make sure you are 100 percent sure what it is. Some berries are highly toxic— if in doubt, leave it out.

Blackberries

These dark berries are an easy find when it comes to foraging. Blackberry bushes grow wherever they can—on the side of roads, in bushes and in the woods—just keep your eyes peeled. As a rule of thumb, the more plump blackberries are usually sweeter, while the ones with smaller bulbs are more tart. Blackberries are perfect for eating on their own, in a crumble or pie, or in a jam. The best time to pick them is from August to September.

Raspberries

People are often hesitant when it comes to distinguishing the difference between wild raspberries and unripe blackberries. Try picking it—if it is soft then it is probably a raspberry, and it will have a hollow cavity where the stem used to be. Raspberries aren’t as common in the wild as blackberries, so you may not find enough to make a jam, but they are great on their own or to have with cakes.

Damson

Damsons are a species of plum that grow on small trees and are blue with yellow-green flesh. They are about two to three centimetres across and are slightly oval in shape. They can be confused with bullaces which are more round in shape but can still be used and consumed in the same way. Damsons are great for making jam—or even damson wine!

Elderberries

These little berries are often overlooked when it comes to foraging, which is a shame because you can find them practically everywhere. Search for them on the boarders of fields or near rivers—if in doubt, go where you would expect to find blackberries. Elderberries grow in clusters on purple stalks and are very dark in colour. They are not good for eating raw but make a wonderful jam or sauce.

With anything you find in the wild, make sure to wash it first. For jams, add sugar and pectin (or jam sugar) and heat on a quick boil. For crumbles, simply add the fruit to your usual apple crumble recipe to give it a different flavour. Foraging for your own fruits can be wonderfully rewarding, and if stored correctly you could be eating them for the next few months.

Find out how to make your own crumble from fruits you have found on Celebrity Angels.