A Woodland Walk for Brambles

About a week ago we went for a woodland walk down to the Mill Dam which is on the edge of Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy. I went armed with a plastic box, just in case I found some ripe brambles/blackberries.

Mill dam

It wasn’t long before I found a nice fankled clump of them, I’ve dug up quite a few which have been growing in my garden because if I left them they’d take over in no time, but I’m glad to see them out in the wilds.

bramble walk 1

As you can see from this photo there were still a lot which weren’t quite ripe enough for the picking, they’re probably just about perfect now if you fancy picking some for yourself.
I heard a racket in the trees above and discovered that it was grey squirrels racing from tree to tree. I had no idea they were so noisy, but maybe they were trying to knock down the acorns to add to their stores, they succeeded anyway as it was raining acorns.
bramble walk 2

I picked over 2lbs of brambles in no time. When I got back home I had to look up some recipes to see what I could do with them.
abrambles 1

In the end I didn’t do anything exciting at all, just added them to apples and boiled them up with sugar to make jam. I do have big pans which are the perfect size for jam making but they’re old aluminium pans and they are now recommending that you don’t use them for acidic fruit as the aluminium is not good for you and possibly contributes to your chances of getting dementia. The acid doesn’t half clean the aluminium well though – I know from past experience! I used my wok as the important thing is to have a pan wide enough to get a good boil going.
brambles 2

I used ordinary eating apples and I don’t know which variety they were but they give the jam a slightly spicy flavour, as if I had added ginger or nutmeg to the mix. Jam should be 60% sugar to make sure that it does preserve the fruit and I used my sugar thermometer to make sure that it would set well, getting it to a temperature of 105 oC. I made four jars of jam and as I made some lemon curd a few weeks ago too that’s enough to keep us going for a while as we no longer have ravenous boys at home to feed.