This jam recipe uses the darkest, richest fruits of the hedgerow, in France it has been known as ‘Humeur Noir’ I like to think of it as magical and black, like the mythical Witch of the Elder tree.
• 1kg Damsons
• 750g Blackberries
• 400g Elderberries (stripped from the stalks)
• 100ml water
• Juice of 2 lemons
• 2kg sugar
Wash all the fruit. Remove the stones from the damsons, (this is really easy if they have been frozen and then thawed). Now put all the fruit in a large pan with the water and lemon juice. Simmer gently for 30 minutes until all the fruit is soft.
Put some clean jars and their lids on a baking tray in the oven at 120oC. This will sterilise them in the time it takes to finish the jam.
Add the sugar then bring to the boil, stirring, boil rapidly for about 10 minutes, or until setting point is reached. When you have a good set (around 104 degrees C) turn off the heat and leave uncovered for 5-10 minutes – this will allow the fruit to be distributed evenly through the jam. Now pour into the sterile jars and put on the lids as soon as you can.