The hedgerows snaking alongside the lanes and paths close to my borderland garden have been brimming with blackberries this summer. My partner and I have enjoyed spending time ambling along picking and eating copious amounts. Mostly we have eaten them mixed into fruit salad; we have also made bramble jelly and then looked for something else to try.
As I have just bought a book called The Hedgerow Handbook by Adele Nozedar (http://adelenozedar.com/books/the-hedgerow-handbook/) which includes a recipe for blackberry chilli syrup it seemed like a good idea to try it. I made it slightly differently from the recipe as I did not have the same chillies, have never heard of pomegranate molasses and also I had a lot more blackberries than the 100 grams called for.
Here is what I did:
- 350 g blackberries, washed and picked over
- 400 g granulated sugar
- 450 ml water
- Juice of one lemon
- One orange coloured chilli of unknown name / variety grown in the garden from a plant given to me (it was about half as big as an average red pepper in size).
Cut the chilli into very small pieces and add (with seeds) to the water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and continue to boil for about twenty minutes. The recipe says to stir regularly but I went into the garden and no harm was done.
In the meantime I cooked the blackberries in a very small amount of water just to soften them and then sieved them. This is a bit of a fiddle but worth it not to get the pips in the syrup. I strained the syrup to remove the chilli bits and then mixed in the puréed blackberry mush. Then it was just a matter of pouring it into sterilised bottles.
The syrup is delicious, fruity and with a bit of a chilli hit, but not too much. This is of course as much down to luck as judgement as I was just experimenting. We had not cooked with the chillies at all and had no idea of how hot they might be.
It was so good that I did something similar substituting blackberries with elderberries a few days later but we have not sampled that one yet. One thing to note with elderberries though is that they stain instantly so beware!