One of the beauties of living in Sonderborg is that you are so close to nature. You are essentially living in a small city right in the middle of a rural area. This makes the possibility to enjoy the produce of the land so much easier. There is always a stall selling strawberries, or potatoes, or eggs, or tomatoes, or a whole lot of other things by the side of the road, ready for you to stop by and grab something for your dinner.
Another thing that I have realised is that I really don’t need to go very far to get access to this produce. It’s been a pleasure getting to taste the produce grown by my own colleagues. Chickens once a year from one, promise of lamb sometime in the future, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, plums, apples. These are just some of the things I have either bought from or been offered by my colleagues.
I have been trying for a while now to weasel myself an invitation to one of their houses to learn about different ways to use the produce; in Denmark you are not ‘friends’ with your colleagues, and an invitation home is limited to ‘friends’. And finally, after a lot of hints and overt ‘suggestions’, I got an invitation – to make brombær (blackberry) jam with Jutta.
Making the jam is actually much easier than I thought. First you pick the fruit from the trees. Jutta and her husband own land on which quite a number of blackberries grow, so that was easy. We picked over 2 kg, and only stopped as it started raining. Having picked the fruit, you wash them, weigh them, and put them in a big pot with a little water. Get the mixture to boiling, add 500g sugar to every 2 kg of fruit, and boil for 10 minutes. After that add a packet of melanin and 2 tsp sugar to the mixture and boil for 2 minutes. And that’s it! The instructions are also on the melanin packet, so do follow those rather than these if you want to be sure.
Besides making the jam you also need to prepare the jars for the jam. The jars should be rinsed with hot water, then rinsed again with something called Atamon and water to help ‘disinfect’ the jars. Leave to drip dry, and the jars are ready to be filled with the jam. You also add 1 capful of Atamon for every litre of jam you have. Once the jars are filled, close them quickly, wipe the surface, and they are ready for labels. In less than 2 hrs of work we made 8 jars of jam. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon?