Thursday, 28 July 2016

Summer Berry, Mint and Arbikie Kirsty's Gin Jam

Over the last few weeks berries have been a huge part of our daily diets. This is all thanks to the bumper harvest of soft fruits that we are having. So far we have enjoyed fresh strawberry and mint porridge, homemade cordial, berries with meringues and plenty of berry topped cakes! Having the extra berries this year has even got me making preserves again so as to not waste any.

I recently made a softer jam to what I usually make. This was inspired by a River Cottage Fridge Jam recipe that I had found in my trusty River Cottage Handbook about Preserves. These are a treasured collection of books that I have found to be full of information about preserving foods, growing vegetables, using herbs, keeping chickens and of course contain some fantastic recipes!

I decided to make a fridge jam as they contain about half the sugar of regular, thick set jam. So it is simply a healthier option for a jam. But fridge jams are also fantastic additions to bakes and desserts like trifle! Yes, I will be using some in a cake, so keep an eye out for a future fridge jam cake recipe!

This jam also has an optional added extra. This recipe made three jars of jam. I made two plain summer berry and mint jam but with the final jar I added something special to give the jam an added kick of flavour. I added some of the deliciously floral Arbikie Kirsty's Gin that we found while on our last holiday in Aviemore, Scotland.

On one of our journeys we discovered a quaint little shop that has whiskey and gin from floor to ceiling. The Whiskey Castle at Tomintoul became a favourite shop to stop by. It is like no other shop, you immediately feel at home and in the company of friends it is so welcoming. While you are there if there are any drinks that you would like to taste, and they have a bottle open, you are welcomed to try it. It was here that I spotted Kirsty's Gin from Arbikie. It was a new distillery to me and as it had my name I just had to taste it. I immediately fell in love with the floral notes of lavender that come through. All of the botanics that are used in Arbikie Kirsty's Gin have been grown on the estate. It is grown, distilled and bottled on the one estate and is a true farm to bottle product. Even the water that they used is mountain filtered water that has come directly from their underground lagoon! We love finding products that are more unique and away from the mass produced products that you can find anywhere and everywhere and Arbikie is just that. Arbikie also produce Potato Vodka which is Scotland's first potato vodka, Chilli Vodka and they even have some Arbikie Whiskey that is currently sleeping in a variety of bourbon, sherry and red wine casks!

Back to my jam recipe with an added kick. The gin goes perfectly with the soft, summer fruits and makes this homegrown jam extra special!

This is what I did...

Summer Berry and Mint Jam

Ingredients makes 3 medium to large jars

1kg mixture of strawberries and raspberries
500g of jam sugar with added pectin
120mls Arbikie Kirsty's Gin
6 mint leaves


1 - Wash and trim the berries

2 - Halve and quarter the strawberries and place two thirds of the berries in a large preserving pan and mash the fruit to break them down and release the juices

3 - Add the remaining third of the berries without mashing up, these will be the whole juicy pieces of fruit in the jam!

4 - Add the mint leaves, sugar and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly until the sugar has fully dissolved and is boiling vigorously

5 - Leave to boil for 5 minutes before stirring

6 - Leave the jam to cool for about 10 minutes before placing in 2 hot, sterilised jars

7 - To make the jam with an added kick stir in the Arbikie Kirsty's Gin before filling the final jar. If you want to make all three jars with the gin simply add 120mls per jar to the fruit mixture.

If you are a gin fan, you are sure to love this gin as much as I do. I will admit to having a new favourite gin and of course it has a good name!

Enjoy x

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Disclosure: I have mentioned Arbikie and Whiskey Castle simply because it is a product that I have bought and love and the shop is a great little place that should definitely be checked out if you are in the area! I have not received any products or payments for the post!

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