Blackberry and Slow Gin Jam/Jelly

Although blackberries are full of wonderful flavour, they are also full of pips. Turning them into a deep-coloured jelly is a good way to make the most of this full-flavoured hedgegrow harvest.  This preserve is delicious served with richly flavoured roast meat, e.g. lamb.
I like a dab of jelly on a square of cheese and straight into my mouth!

Ingredients

450 g sloes (black plums)
600 ml cups of cold water
1.8 kg blackberries
the juice of 1 lemon
about 900 g preserving or granulated white sugar
45 ml gin
Variation:
Sloes (black plums) are much harder to come by than blackberries and you will usually need to find them growing in the wild.  If you can’t find sloes, use extra blackberries in their place.
One
Wash the sloes and prick with a fine skewer.
Put them in a large heavy pan with the water and bring to the boil. minutes.
Two
Briefly rinse the blackberries in cold water and add them to the pan with the lemon juice.
Three
Bring the fruit mixture back to a simmer and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until the sloes are very tender and the blackberries very soft, stirring once or twice.
Four
Pour the fruit and juices into a sterilised jelly bag suspended over a large bowl.
Leave to drain for an least four hours or preferably overnight until the juices have stopped dripping.
Five
Measure the fruit juice into the cleaned preserving pan, adding 450 g sugar for every 600 ml of juice.
Six
Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the jelly reaches setting point
…..(105 degrees C/220 degrees  F)
Remove the pan from the heat.
Seven
Skim off any scum from the surface of the jelly using a slotted spoon, then stir in the gin.
Eight
Pour the jelly into warmed sterilised jars, cover and seal.
Store in a cool, dark place and use within 2 years.

Once opened, keep the jelly in the fridge and eat within 3 months.

Cooks Tip:
Sloes (black plums) bring a good level of pectin to the jelly.  If all blackberries are used without sloes, select some under-ripe fruit and use preserving sugar with added pectin.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5
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