Friday, 11 September 2009

savoury blackberry preserves

I love blackberries, and we were out on the beach picking them. A lot of them. Lots and lots. While picking, I ate as many as possible. Usually I try to stick to the general rule of "don't eat anything larger than your own head", but I may have eaten more than one me-head worth of blackberries. However, since blackberry season is tragically short, I think an exception was in order. Plus, we were on our bikes all day, and you need energy, right? Upon arriving home with 4 L of blackberries, I made blackberry soda bread, and a few wee little adorable pots of blackberry jam (mostly for guests and gifts), but to be honest, jam doesn't really float my boat. I like all of my sweets to be in the form of actual fruit and/or chocolate. At this point, I should confess that my house is where jam comes to grow very interesting mould and then die. However, I do love berries with a wild passion, and miss the saskatoon berries that I grew up gorging on. Recently, I've been into making savoury dishes of things that are usually sweet (at least in western cuisine), and have pretty much fallen in love with this idea. This is a sauce that's good on rice, especially with marinated and baked tofu, or chickpeas and rice, or an omnisub such as that slightly bizarre yet yummy vegan duck that is *actually shaped like a duck* at the Chinese supermarket and travel agency near my place... Either way, there are lots of jam recipes out there for those with a sweet tooth. Here are some blackberry preserves for the rest of us:

2L blackberries (I only know this because we picked 2 1L containers)
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
dash salt
1/2 tsp spanish paprika
dash chili flakes (I used about 1/2 tsp)
1 whole lemon, chopped, peel and all.
1 bunch coriander chopped (about 1.5 cups).

Combine everything except the coriander in a pot and simmer until the berries start to disintegrate and the lemon has lost all hope of remaining recognizably a lemon. Add coriander and simmer another few minutes. Pour into sterile jars and preserve using your favourite technique, or let cool and pack into freezable containers for the freezer. British freezers have a capacity of approximately 1 pint of very specific geometry, and I need that space for my cube of frozen edamame, so I went for the preserves. Here is a good explanation of making preserves if you don't know how.

music for berries with a hint of nostalgia: all you can eat, by kd lang.

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