I made Blantyre jam!

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 22.50.45Looking through my gran’s old cookbook from the 1930’s, I saw a recipe for Bramble Jam and it got me thinking of the 1970’s watching her make endless jars of jam in the kitchen at Stonefield Crescent.

Tonight, I fancied an evening off the computer, so I decided to have a go at making my own “Blantyre Jam”, recording each step in a little video for Blantyre Project. Seeing so many brambles in the Calder in recent weeks, August and September is definitely the time to try this.

Tonight, I have EIGHT jars of Bramble, Apple and blueberry jam, cooling down, which will be fine for up to a year. 95% of the fruit, i.e the brambles were free and picked near the River Calder near Milheugh. It was a new experience for me and I was surprised that after picking the brambles, it could be made in under an hour. Making Blantyre jam from local, freely available brambles has been something i’ve been planning to do for a while and well pleased with the final, tasty end product!

If anybody’s interested, there’s masses of brambles out at the moment in the Calder.ย Grab a coffee. Hope you enjoy my little jam making video.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Anne Cook Oh Paul !!-you talked about my childhood collecting brambles and making jam I was brought up at number 22 just up from yor mum and gran and many a time was spent down over the bridge at thebottomof the Pech Brae onthe road to Dechmont over the dyke picking the brambles !!!–hated every minute of it !!!๐Ÿ˜ 
The Blantyre Project sounds like we both did that!! Thats where we got crab apples for jam too.
Maureen Friery Moran You’re awesome, Paul!
Thea Borland Mcnamee Its the rhubarb jam a love making
Chris Ladds I really enjoyed this – Excellent and very evocative video – very accessible, good narrating voice, great choice of music and fantastic final product! Great you were up Calderwood Linn at the beginning. Brambles are a very interesting topic for me in this area as we have a considerable number of microspecies here. A lot of fruits don’t thrive in our elevated plateau and moisture levels, but berries do well – which probably accounts for all the type of brambles. Best to stay away from the course-leaved types which grow on exposed faces of braes, often north-facing – loads of seeds and off taste. The Glen’s like Calderglen and Milheugh are fantastic! Lots of Blackcurrants growing about Low Blantyre I noticed the other week to! I will be doing a forage soon! ๐Ÿ˜€
Sally Jamieson Where are some of the blackcurrants. I used to sit with my gran cutting the end bits off the blackcurrants before she made her jam. Happy Days.
Chris Ladds Mostly towards the slopes either side of Low Blantyre north of Hamilton Road and towards Redlees, but avoid those on any contaminated ex-industrial ground such as Bardykes where they are abundant as the berries may have leached toxins.
Janet Cochrane Many times I met your granny and you and the dog collecting brambles down the calder
Lillias Addison I remember going with your gran and your mum over to the field across from the hoolets nest where we used to get great brambles and your Mum and I helped pick them
The Blantyre Project loads still down there today. It was an annual outing and the kitchen would be smelling of brambles for days after. Gran would make the jam in large jelly pans suspended from a pole between 2 chairs to let all the excess water drain off overnight. She would be left with large canvas (stained) jelly bags full ready to be put into jars. A way to make the jam thicker. I didn’t do that, but left it runnier, but did try to boil off most excess water.
Steffi Thornton Liz Anderson yummy we should make Jam xxx
The Blantyre Project Do it! There’s nothing tastier and its really easy.
Liz Anderson Used to be plenty up the Brae, your gran and her WRI pals would have made it, plenty of mushrooms up that way too, I had a fantastic, hand typed WRI recipe booklet with loads of fantastic recipes, used to make the tea loaf all the time, but I lost it๐Ÿ˜ข all the recipes had the names of the women who’s recipe it was, a beautiful piece of Blantyre history, gutted I no longer have it!!! X
Carol Boyd I have found that most brambles have little white insects on them which we called mocks.
The Blantyre Project haven’t seen that (thankfully) but of course washing them throughly and boiling for so long means only fruit will end up in the jars. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Carol Boyd Just letting you know how important it is to wash them thoroughly. I used to collect them as I had a neighbour who had them growing wild. I would then make bramble jelly and scotch pancakes and take them up to a rest home at Fairhill. The residents loved them.
James Stirling carol there are mocks in the raspberries,but never seen any on blackberries
Carol Boyd I can assure you they are there. Maybe you ate them without knowing. Lol They hide between the little fruits. When you put the fruit under water they emerge.
James Stirling well carol if that is so,they cant be doing any harm to the body i have been eating them for over sixty years lol
Carol Boyd Me too and I’m still here to tell the tale. They don’t harm you but if there are any left after washing they sure as hell die when they’re boiled. We used to eat them straight from the bush when we were young same with turnips dirt and all. (Tumshies) Do you remember throwing potatoes into a fire we had built outside?? Those were the days. ๐Ÿ˜…
James Stirling remember it well carol ,tumshies and the tatties in the fire and sitting waiting on the billy can to boil ,those were great days
Debbie Miller Oh my Aunty Jean Nimmo always made bramble jam and my Uncle Sam grew all sorts of things in the allotment that ran to the wonderful garden with the railway line behind. Aunty Jean made beautiful things Vivid memories of two wooden chairs in her big kitchen with poles holding the cloth that the jam passed through before she bottled it.
The Blantyre Project that sums up how our kitchen looked every August and September in the 1970s! lol. Good memories.
Helen Grieve A very comforting smell jam simmering in the cooker. My mum made all sorts of jams they lasted the whole year.
Betty McLean Paul you are a man of many talents. Looks so good
The Blantyre Project not sure about that. First time, but it does taste amazing!
Jane Clacy My mother and sisters with all their weans would have a bramble picking day every year down the Calder brings back lots of memories I still make it here
Gail Gillon Have been planning to do this with my grand kids too Paul. I noticed them in July and been meaning to go back. I’m away till Tuesday so hope there’s still plenty!


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  1. Thank you, I just thought it might be a little fun to serve it in my coffee shop for a talking piece this week.

    Kind regards Isla

  2. Hello just love your jam post. May we have the recipe please?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Isla – I would need to transcribe it from the cookbook. Watching the little video above will give you it more quickly. Whatever the weight you use for fruit, put in almost the same weight in sugar.

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