There are blackberries abound here in London. Along the riverbanks, lining the footpaths, twirling and twining in the underbrush. And, they are ripe and ready for the picking.
I have been walking around the city with my eyes to the edges, the peripheral view, scouting & taking stock. Last weekend I hit the jackpot – a brier of blackberries in beautiful sunny spot with big juicy, perfectly formed berries laden on the vines.
I find it remarkable just how many things grow here, flower and produce fruit. It is so pleasant to see apples, pears and plums dangling from the tips of branches hanging above concrete, iron and brick. It is a simple pleasure but softens the hard corners of such a big city.
Making small batch jams are great because they are the perfect place to play and experiment with flavors without requiring large amounts of time or ingredients. So, I wanted to share this recipe as more of a guideline, a jumping off point for flavors. This is a quickly made jam or compote using honey, sugar & vinegar as the preservatives. I chose rich dark spices to compliment the sweet deep flavor of the berries and fresh thyme to elevate the brightness of the fruit. The jam brings a little of the city’s bounty to my table and is delicious spread on thick slices of toast, stirred through a breakfast porridge or topping yogurt. It is equally delightful dolloped over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served alongside a creamy goats cheese or paired with a nutty gruyere. It should keep nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
4 pints of wild blackberries (washed and picked through)
1 small black cardamom pod
peel from 1/2 medium orange, excluding white pith
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c honey (more or less to your taste)
1/2 C water