A couple of weeks back, we saw rows and rows of bushes in our backyard bearing tiny red fruit. They looked like blackberries but I wasn’t sure. Finally, P tasted one and confirmed – blackberries, yes. And so many of them. Unexpected bounty from the backyard that literally sprung up overnight. Each day, we picked bowls and bowls of ripe blackberries. Sprinkled rock salt over them, threw them in salads, ate them plain.

Blackberry Bushes

And then one day, I made a batch of blackberry jam. This has to be the simplest recipe ever.

4 cups of blackberries
1 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the blackberries and sugar in a thick-bottomed steel pan. Don’t worry if the fruit-sugar mixture reaches up to the rim. It will cook down to less than half of the original volume. Turn on the heat. The fruit and sugar will begin to break down, reducing in volume, bubbling merrily. After it has liquefied completely, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer.

The mixture will first gain a sauce-like consistency, and gradually start thickening. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. At this point, you can spoon out a little bit, lay aside to cool, and taste for sweetness. Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture achieves a jammy level of thickness. Add the vanilla extract. Stir well.

Simmering Jam

Cool. Store in a clean glass bottle.

Spoon the jam into a bowl of yogurt, slather on toast, eat straight from the bottle… 🙂 For a spicy kick, consider adding red pepper flakes as the fruit-sugar mixture cooks down. Another option is freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!