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pelo amor das amoras

‘For the love of wild blackberries’ does not have the same ring to it, does it? I’m not even sure that they are blackberries, as the dictionary calls them mulberries but they are nothing like the mulberry tree that I used used to climb and pick the fruit of when I was a kid in Sydney.

So please advise, horticulturists, what are these called in English?


This is the time of year in my village when this plant, all year round a painful and invasive nuisance, finally pays back. It’s luscious and intense fruit makes fantastic jam, and I love jam. The amoras season also marks the start of several months of picking, being followed by the grapes, then the olives, oranges and then finally in November it will rain figs. When the figs stop, the rain will start, and it wont stop raining until may.


I really like making jam, but I only recently discovered that other people like my jam too. It makes me especially happy when my jars of stuff are enjoyed by portuguese friends. Normally my giveaways are just too weird for them, but jam seems to fit in with a normal portuguese jam-freshcheese-biscuits afternoon snack or dessert. And I’m only too happy to find a new way to eat jam.

cake and jam

Amoras Jam

For 1 jar of jam, I use approximately;

1 jar fruit
1/2 jar white sugar
juice of half lemon
1/3 jar rosé wine

I like my jams a bit runny, full of chunky fruit and not too sweet. The wine gives the jam a bit more complexity and depth.

I boil it up ferociously until a mass of bubbles have collected high above the surface of the fruit – it looks like boiling toffee. It usually takes about half an hour and I could let it go for an hour, but no more. I don’t bother to skim or even test for setting, but I do wash and boil the jars, dry them, fill them warm and then boil them again.

Apart from having jam on toast (especially good on portuguese breads), I also eat it with plain yoghurt for dessert, pile it on ice cream and serve it with fresh cheese, portuguese style. It would also be unforgettable with pannacotta (similar to leite creme in portugal) or on a cheesecake. Or a pavlova! Oh meu amor!


  1. Isabel September 4, 2009 12:57 am Reply

    It looks delicious, your jam. I’ve always thought that doce de amora is the most versatile of jams, too. Also, I think it is particularly pleasant a fruit that is really, really wild, it makes you revert to hunter-gatherer type.

    Here is your botanical riddle solved:


    Click on amora-silvestre and Morus and voilà!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 6th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    But what do you, Isabel, call it it english? Would you say it was a wild mulberry. I suppose it depends which english one speaks – I have this plant refered to as bramble berry, and I’ve no idea what that is…

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Isabel September 6, 2009 6:30 pm Reply

    Bramble berry sounds good to me. What do you call those pesk, thorny plants that grow in bushes in abandoned or unkempt land, don’t you call them brambles? So, when they have fruits, they are bramble berries, I suppose. For us, amoras are from silvas only, and although we have amoreiras, I have never heard of their fruit in Portugal. For us, amoreiras are for silk worms, like in the Jardim das Amoreiras in Lisbon, next to the old silk factory founded by the Marquis of Pombal.

    [Reply to comment]

  3. tNb September 6, 2009 10:03 pm Reply

    Inspired by your post I immediately went out and picked as many blackberries/brambleberries/mulberries as I could find — off to make some jam and nurse the millions of scrapes and scratches on my legs!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 8th, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Tango, my forearms look like I’m into self harming. I’m sure there are thorns still embedded in there somewhere. Do you have these berries in canada?

    [Reply to comment]


  4. gin September 9, 2009 11:34 pm Reply

    Mary and I had a BIG discussion about mulberries vs blackberries.
    Mulberry- Morus nigra= gargantuan tree always in the neighbours yard, never your own,
    Blackberries -Rubus fruticosus=nasty prickly weed, beauuudiful fruit, noxious weeds list of most local councils in Oz.
    I remember having street fights with mulberries stolen from the Starkey’s (the ‘bad’ boys in the street)!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 10th, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Wow! That’s 3 sisters with 3 different mulberry memories. And from the feedback I’ve had, they seem to feature in other people’s childhood’s too. So it looks like mine here are blackberries, and mary was picking blackberries, and you and I were picking mulberries, because mulberry is a tree and blackberry is a bush… I wonder if the boys had berry games too?

    [Reply to comment]

  5. Chris September 11, 2009 11:30 pm Reply

    Blackberries grow on brambles, mulberries grow on trees. These are definitely blackberries, although some are still red they will go black and swell as they mature more. Lovely sounding recipes Emma.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 20th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Blackberries they are then! Thanks everyone for your feedback. Now I wonder if there are mulberry trees in Portugal. But what I’d really like is some blueberries…mmmm

    [Reply to comment]


  6. tNb September 12, 2009 6:15 am Reply

    We definitely have blackberries in Canada … raspberries, gooseberries, red currant berries and saskatoonberries too. Yep, it’s like a berry wonderland 😉

    [Reply to comment]


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    [Reply to comment]


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