Do you remember when I made blueberry gin cordial? And took it to a music festival and fell in a ditch? Well, what do you think became of the blueberries once they were fished out of the gin (and I was fished out of the ditch)? I made them into jam, of course!
Now, one of the first rules of booze is this: if you have a drink that contains pieces of fruit, don’t eat the fruit. Never eat the fruit. That innocent fruit has been soaking up more booze than a Scot at a wedding (I speak from personal experience), and is now utterly lethal. If you eat that fruit, it’s like having a tequila slammer you can chew. Never, ever eat the fruit.
That said, I couldn’t possibly have thrown these gorgeous, boozy blueberries in the bin. Look at them – so plump and purple. Dangerous little jewels, they were, and all the more dangerous for looking so tempting. They smelled glorious, too – sweet and full of juniper. It took absolutely no stretch of the imagination to see that they would be the perfect jam fodder. They were also puggled (or, if you have a less imaginative language than Scots on your side, drunk) enough to keep in that jar, in the fridge, for a couple of weeks without any further preserving. I did think I heard some singing from them but I may have been imagining it.
I added some fresh, non-boozy blueberries to them, to boost the amount of end product and to temper the alcohol levels. I put all the berries in a pot with a generous measure of that old favourite, jam sugar, and simmered until the berries had started to burst and release lots of dark indigo juice. Once this had happened, I poured the contents of the pot into jug and blitzed with a stick blender until mostly smooth, with occasional unexploded blueberries. I returned to the pot and simmered until thick and very syrupy, then poured into a clean jar to cool down.
I would like to give you the proper recipe for the jam, but I’ve had ‘lost envelope syndrome’ again and don’t know exactly what I put in there… However, here is my best guess to make one 500ml jar:
- 450g blueberries from gin cordial
- 150g fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp blueberry gin cordial (or plain gin, or water)
- 1 cup jam sugar
Put all the ingredients in a large pot over a medium heat and cook, stirring often, until greatly reduced and very liquid, about ten minutes.
Pour the contents of the pot into a tall, glass jug (do *not* use a plastic one) and blend with stick blender – or place in a blender jug and process, but check what your blender’s maximum temperature capacity is.
Return to medium heat and simmer, stirring infrequently, for another ten minutes, until thickened and jammy, Remember that it will thicken as it cools. Pour into a glass jar to cool before storing in the fridge.
The resulting jam combines the sweet-tart flavour of blueberries with the sugary taste of a cordial, plus the mildly astringant, floral fragrance of a good gin. It’s unlike any mass-produced jam or marmalade, and it’s probably not for kids… Even though you do cook out the alcohol, I can’t help but feel that some remains in the end result. Toast and jam for breakfast might be ill-advised with this particular jam.
In light of the development of this recipe, I will revise my wisdom about boozy fruit thusly:
Never eat the fruit, unless you turn it into jam first. And even then, don’t eat it for breakfast.