Wild Blackberry and Lemon Zest Jam

fresh picked wild blackberries

Beyond Nurnberg’s Walls
Is a walnut tree
And a plum that neighbours

A blackberry

Whose fruit lie sweet

Amongst the thorns

A reminder for history
Which still yet mourns

That joy can come

From where there is pain
And though winter’s long
There’ll be spring again

This blog may not be the best venue where a budding young poet such as myself should be expressing himself, but I could not help but share my feelings when visiting Nurnberg for my brother’s wedding. As it once was the centre of Nazi Germany, I don’t want to delve into the history of this beautiful city, since poetry, politics and pastries don’t mix. Instead, I just want to encourage you to go there, when it’s blackberry season.

wild blackberry and lemon zest jam with German bread

As my poem suggests, a bike path led me to the outskirts of the city, where I happened upon a wild blackberry bush. The berries were sweet and just slightly sour, bursting with color and flavour. After having my fill, and more, of fresh blackberries, I decided to make some blackberry jam, as a gift that I would leave to my kind hosts.


For this recipe, I used jam sugar, which is used in the ratio of 3 parts fruit to 1 part sugar. By using jam sugar, you can substantially cut down the amount of sugar you need for jam, resulting in a fruitier, healthier jam. The added pectin in the sugar allows the jam to set more quickly, so you do not need to overcook the fruit. This means the fruit flavour is not killed by heat or excess sugar. However, I don’t think jam with this little sugar lasts too long, but I can’t tell you how long it will store, as mine disappears very quickly.

600 g Blackberries
200 g Jam sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon

Put a plate in the freezer. Crush blackberries and stir with sugar and lemon rind in a pot and place on medium heat. You can add lemon juice if you feel it needs it, but tate it first. Crushing also becomes easier when the berries get warmer. Bring to boil, stirring the mixture. After around 10 minutes, get that plate out of the freezer and put a spoon of the jam on the plate. This is a good trick to see if the jam has set. If the jam doesn’t appear runny, and you can draw a clean line with your finger across the jam, it’s all good and ready. Pour into your sanitised jars, and the jam is ready to eat once the jars cool down.


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