Recipe: Home-made blueberry jam with spices
It's nearing the end of berry season in Iceland and if you haven't been out to the countryside to pick blueberries and crowberries, this week and next weekend could be your last chance. As soon as the night freeze sets in, berry season is over.
So what can you do with all these berries? Well, the most obvious way to eat them is just to pick them directly into your mouth. Icelanders like to eat them in a bowl with milk and a bit of sugar, or sprinkled on skyr and súrmjólk. They make a great addition to cakes and desserts, syrups for cocktails, you can juice them, freeze them or make them into a jam.
Health guru Solla Eiríksdóttir of the Gló restaurant chain has published a healthier version of berry jam on her website Mæðgurnar which she runs in conjunction with her daughter Hildur.
"In the late summer and in autumn we try to go berry picking at least twice. Once with the little ones to enjoy being outside with them and also by ourselves, when we work harder at picking the berries to collect a sizeable amount for the winter."
"Blueberries and crowberries are well-known for their beneficial properties. They're full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fibre. We who live in Iceland are incredibly lucky to have access to these wild jewels, for no cost."
"We prefer the jam not to be too sweet so that you can really taste the berries. We add spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger to flavour the jam and to diminish the need for sugar. Instead of using refined sugar we like to add sweetness using dates or other dried fruit. In older times sugar was very useful for preservation purposes but nowadays when everyone has a fridge you can get away with using very little sugar."
This recipe uses a mixture of blueberries and blackcurrants.
1 kilo blueberries
1 kilo blackcurrants
750 g organic dates, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice (or 4 cm of fresh grated ginger)
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh chili
Place the berries in a saucepan and simmer at a moderate temperature. Stir occasionally.
Once the berries have reached the boil, add the spices and simmer for 30 minutes.
Put the dates into a food processor with a tiny bit of water so that they form a paste. Add the paste to the jam. Let the mixture simmer for another 30 minutes and stir regularly.