A Blackberry & Damson Hedgerow Jam Recipe

Blackberry & Damson Hedgerow Jam

If you are a fan of our blogs, you will have seen our recipe for a delicious blackberry & apple crumble, however between August & September the blackberries are the best they could possibly be, which is perfect for a delicious blackberry & damson jam recipe. The tartness of the damsons combined with the sweetness of blackberries makes the most delicious jam and perfect on top of a slice of soft, fresh farmhouse bread or baked into a cake. This recipe is perfect for any beginner forager and it includes just 3 ingredients. The more confident you get you will be able to add even more berries to this recipe, such as sloes and hawthorns to make the ultimate hedgerow jam, but until then, here’s our recipe:

Foraging Identification:

It is extremely important that you know what you’re looking for when foraging and identification must be taken seriously before trying any wild foods. Ensure to dissect it with a foraging knife and compare the berry to images/ videos from a reliable foraging source. The key things to look out for are colours, textures and the inside of the berry to make sure it matches your reliable and accurate source. It is also important to identify the tree it is growing from. When picking the berry, also pick a piece of the bark it’s growing from and the leaves surrounding it to make sure it matches your resources. Fortunately in this case, damsons and blackberries are a beginner’s favourite and are pretty difficult to mistake for something poisonous but always follow the forager’s rule: “if in doubt, leave it out”.

We can highly recommend “Wild Magic” by Fern Freud as an excellent and reliable resource when identifying your wild, foraged foods. Fern’s book is packed full of information, images, diagrams and is the perfect size to carry with you on your foraging adventures.

What to look out for when looking for damsons:

Damsons are part of the plum family and you are looking for a round plump, purple berry that is slightly smaller than a plum but bigger than a sloe berry, which is about the size of a blueberry. See the difference below between damsons (left) and sloes (right). The leaves are a deep green and oval shaped, with a slightly cerrated edge.

What to look out for when picking blackberries:

These beloved favourites always taste best when they’ve been in the sun. So, if you get a bright sunny day choose the ones that have been soaking up the nutrients from the sun and preferably high up, away from potential dog wees. If you’ve found a hedgerow abundant in blackberries, then feel free to do a taste test! They taste best when they’re ripe, so if they taste slightly bitter then they are not quite ready.

Method for Blackberry & Damson Hedgerow Jam

  • When you return home from your forage, identify your fruits once more and then wash your fruit and weigh it. To wash blackberries thoroughly, soak your blackberries in water with salt for approximately 10 minutes. The salt will extract any tiny bugs or worms burrowed inside your blackberries. NOTE: damsons have a stone inside them, which you can either cut out yourself or to save you time and save as much flesh from the fruit as possible, simply scoop them out of the pot as they rise to the top during the boiling process.
  • Now that your fruits are clean, it’s time to start cooking! We suggest using 75% of sugar to the weight of berries you have collected. Jam sugar is often recommended, however granulated sugar is perfectly fine to use as well.
  • Start by switching on your hob on a low heat. Place in the damsons and blackberries with the sugar to your pot and stir.
  • Once the berries start to melt, keep stirring for approximately 20 minutes until all the sugar crystals have completely melted.
  • Once there are no more sugar crystals, bring the jam up to a boil and stir the bubbling jam for approximately 5 minutes and scoop out all the stones from the damsons that will have risen to the top. Then, it’s time to do the jam wrinkle test!
  • Take a small dollop of jam with a spoon and put it on a cold plate. Wait a few seconds for it to cool and push the little dollop with your finger, if your jam is ready it should wrinkle. If it doesn’t wrinkle and it’s still very wet, keep the jam on the heat for another minute or two and test it again until it wrinkles.
  • Whilst your jam is boiling away, sterilise your jars in another pan of boiling water (this is very important and you must never pour hot jam into a cold jar, otherwise it may shatter the glass).

Once your jam has reached its point, carefully ladle your jam into a sterilised jar and complete by spreading on some softly toasted, crusty bread with butter or why not give as a gift? There’s nothing like giving a thoughtful homemade gift that you’ve foraged with your own bare hands. Just warn the recipient that there may be stones from the damsons and to be careful, especially if children will be enjoying it too.

To view our full range of foraging baskets to help you collect your wild treasures, view our collection here.

To view more of our recipes, click here.

Comments are closed here.