Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blackberry Blueberry Port Jam

I just discovered a new love.. jammin'.

No, not the Bob Marley kind, although I do love reggae.. but fruit jammin'!

A few weeks ago I signed up for Steph Chows 2nd Annual Jam Exchange. What does that exactly entail you ask? Basically Steph pairs you up with someone else out there in the blog world that also loves jammin' and you make a little exchange: two of their fave homemade jams for two of yours.

I got paired up with Anna from BlondiesCakes.. an adorable blog that you need to go check out. As soon as I got the email with my partner I rushed over to see what kinds of things she was cooking up and man-oh-man did I get excited.. first thing I saw... Peach Vanilla Bourbon Jam.. umm yes please?! I can only hope I'm getting a jar of that!

Through a few quick emails it was quickly determined that when it comes to baked goods (or jam in this case) Anna and I are both booze hounds. OK, not really, but we both apparently were on the same 'jam wave length' as far as certain ingredients were concerned.

I wanted to make sure that my jams screamed Texas and my initial thought went to the lovely bottle of 2008 Sojourn sitting on our counter, a port that MM and I purchased at a local vineyard (you might remember the Carrot Cake Scones I brought to brunch before we headed to Texas Legato in Lampassas a few months back). I knew the sweet after dinner wine would pair perfectly with the fresh blackberries I had waiting in my fridge.

I will admit jam making is a little time consuming and may seem intimidating at first so I highly suggest checking out websites like pickyourown.org, where everything is broken down in easy step by step instructions before getting started.

Blackberry Blueberry Port Jam
recipe from Show Food Chef
24 oz fresh blackberries (about 3 containers- 4 cups), crushed & mushed
8 oz fresh blueberries (about 1 large container-1 cup), curshed & mushed
1 lb 6oz sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup port
In a large pot, add berries and sugar. Stirring often, heat on low until sugar has dissolved.
Add lemon juice and increase to medium heat so mixture comes to a boil. Cook until mixture has reached about 220F.
Carefully add port and return to boil until temperature reaches 222F or perform the plate test*.
*Plate test: Place a plate in freezer for a few minutes..place a dollop of jam on pre-chilled plate- if it doesn't run, then the set is good.
Remove mixture from heat for 3-5 minutes while preparing tops.
Pour mixture into prepared/sterilized jars, seal properly and place in water bath for 10 minutes.*

After 10 minutes remove your jars from boiling water and allow to set overnight.. you'll start to hear the popping of the lids which just means they're sealing properly!

*All the steps for preparing, sterilizing and sealing jars can be found on the side of the box of jars or you can check out pickyourown.org that explains everything you need to know about making your own jams and jellies!

This may have been my first jammin experience, but it will by no means be my last! I've already got a few more concoctions up my sleeve :) I've got jammin' fever!

Happy Baking!
Or Jammin!