Do You Know The Blackberry Muffin Man?

I recently picked another quart of blackberries from my garden and decided some fresh blackberry muffins would be a nice treat. Actually, half of the QA department thought it was a good idea and why would I object?

I found this recipe from an Oregon blackberry grower—how could I go wrong? I actually saw the same ingredients, ratios and method on several websites. Well, they all got it right. These are easy, quick and delicious.

Although the blackberries were fresh from the garden I froze them for a couple of hours. This kept the blackberry juice from diffusing out into the muffin batter. I also cut them in half to help the dispersion throughout the batter.

BLACKBERRY MUFFINS
INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BATTTER
• ½ C all-purpose flour
• ¾ C sugar
• ½ t salt
• 2 t baking powder
• ⅓ C vegetable oil
• 1 egg
• 1 t vanilla extract
• ⅓ – ½ C milk
• 1 C fresh frozen blackberries or fresh (cut in half)

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
• ½ C sugar
• ⅓ C all-purpose flour
• ¼ C butter melted
• 1 t ground cinnamon
• Optional – ½ t ground cardamom
METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F .
  2. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add egg and enough milk (⅓ – ½ cup) to fill to 1-cup line. Add vanilla and almond extract (if using) and whisk to combine.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in blackberries.
    To Make Streusel Topping:
  6. Mix together sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cardamom with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  7. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. When muffins are done, cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Small Batch Berry Jam

Confession here: I like seeds in my berry jam. I don’t know why, either some trauma forced on me by my older brother, or perhaps faded memories of my mother making jams or even some totally unrelated reason. The point is my berry jam must have seeds. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find blackberry jam with seeds? Raspberry? No Blackberry Jamproblem, but find a jar of blackberry without that insidious word “seedless” on the label? Good luck. Either you spend an inordinate amount of time searching your supermarket, or go to a farm or specialty market and shell out twice the cash. I look for BOGO’s on berries. It’s like getting jam free, almost.
Or….
Google (the worlds 42) “small batch jam” and find 461,000 results in 0.44 seconds.
I read a lot of them and boiled it down (bad pun) to this:

  • Measure equal weights (not volumes) washed berries and granulated sugar. Obviously for sweeter jam add more sugar, tarter, less. Duh.
  • Mash berries in a saucepan, heat then add sugar in small aliquots. Use a large enough saucepan or you will end up washing two of them. Been there, done that, no t-shirt.
  • Cook at a moderate boil until the temperature reaches 220 deg. and it begins to thicken. Cook less for thinner (think dessert topping) or more for thicker.
  • Skim the light colored foam off the top as it boils.
  • While it is cooking put a canning jar (about a pint size for a pint of berries, go figure) filled to about an inch from of the top with water into the microwave and cook until boiling vigorously.
  • Pour the boiling water out into a small bowl containing your canning lid and funnel.
  • Wait a minute. You aren’t really sterilizing because you will just keep this in the fridge for quick use.
  • Pour the still very hot jam into the jar using the funnel, put on the lids, screw on the top and you are done, except for the clean up. One pan, one spoon and a funnel.
  • Total time, less than 30 min.