I foraged blackberries and apples and made a jam or butter that is sweet, rich, and delicious! Skip to the recipe? click here, or read on to learn more about how I foraged before you dig in! Foraging is fun, if a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you are doing it all by yourself on public paths and in residential areas. I like it because it’s free entertainment, free food, and you often meet people.
Chat with the locals while Blackberry Foraging
At first, I was intimidated while picking blackberries on the public path. I didn’t see any other foragers, and I worried that it was somehow illegal or that people thought I was taking berries away from the wildlife or locals. As I did it more, I found that my worries were unfounded, and I even met multiple chatty neighbors near the path as I picked. Some people said “Good Job!” others I offered a taste of my bounty. As far as the air bound wildlife is concerned, tons of this year’s berries have shriveled and dried up now, in early October, uneaten by me or the birds.
Nostalgic Apple trees, but no one eats the fruit!
Historically, before the vineyards, we had fragrant apple orchards everywhere. Some of the old trees remain but there are a lot of new apple trees to commemorate the past. I picked apples right on the property where the owner planted espaliered apple trees (espalier means they are pruned to grow flat against the wall).
On these decoratively espaliered trees, I noticed that some of the early apples rotted without anyone taking notice so I figured it was pretty safe to pick them.
On another street nearby, a neighbor hung a sign from their small but abundant apple tree, encouraging folks to pick them. I took advantage of this as well.
Apple Blackberry Butter? or Blackberry Apple Jam…
Jam or Butter? I don’t know. In other years, I have made apple butter with the excess apples I harvested. This recipe resembles this smooth and creamy butter more than the jelly-like jam. I cook it down for a very long time to get to that apple butter consistency instead of adding pectin to solidify it. Since apples do have some natural pectin, they help as well.
Also, I experimented and discovered that keeping the peels in adds depth to the flavor and consistency!
Recipe – Blackberry Apple Jam
You will want to have a slow cooker and an immersion blender. This recipe is very low on sugar compared to usual jams. If you love your jams very sweet, you can double the sugar or give it even more. Taste as you go to get an idea of what you like.
- 4 cups Apples rinsed, cored and cut into cubes, but not peeled
- 8 cups Blackberries, rinsed
- juice of two lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- Place apples and blackberries in slow cooker on low. You can fill it up to overflowing as long as the lid fits on there. (I have a very small 12 cup cooker, so you can do a lot more with a bigger one – just make sure it is about 2/3 blackberry to 1/3 apple ratio).
- Drizzle lemon juice over the apples and berries.
- Place the slow cooker on low and cook for 3 hours or more.
- Stir everything up with a spoon. If the blackberries have not released a lot of juice, wait another hour before stirring.
- Cook another 3 hours until the apples have cooked down to a saucy texture, and stir using your immersion blender. Blend until it is a thin syrup.
- Add the sugar and blend some more to make sure the sugar dissolves.
- Keep cooking, and testing until a little bit before it gets to its thickest stage. The final jam/butter should not have any runny juices when spooned onto a plate.
- Then, press it all through a wire sieve to remove the blackberry seeds. Put it in a separate bowl as you go, and then put everything back into the slow cooker and finish thickening.
- Keep cooking until you get to the right consistency. The jam/butter will be approximately a quarter of the original amount of fruit.
- Once it is done, you can spoon it into a jar and keep it in the fridge. It is great on a peanut butter sandwich, spooned over yogurt, or spread on pancakes, toast, or muffin!
- I like to preserve jams in jars, so if you are so inclined, I suggest using the smallest jars. It makes a great gift and so fun to bring it out when the weather gets colder.
Free! Lemons, blackberries and apples were foraged and free of charge.
Purchased jam jars and sugar.
One review from my mom, who loves this on her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.