Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blackberries Everywhere

According to Martha, blackberries peak in June and July.
Not true this year in the Pacific Northwest.
The  season has just started here and the plump
dark bundles of juicy goodness are now bursting off the vines.

I've missed picking them for the previous two years but decided
to "make hay while the sun shines" or in this case, jam.
The sun has been hiding most of the summer so we've
really been savoring these rare days lately.
Can't believe it's already back to school time!
When the kids were small, we'd take a day trip
 to the mountains in Arizona to pick wild blackberries.
We usually only ended up with a handful
by the time we drove all the way back home.
But we had fond memories and stained lips
and hands to prove we'd been there.
This year my son and I only picked
for about a half hour or so . . .
. . . and got this many.
He thought it was hilarious that I belted my bucket in for the ride home.
Safety first! 
Meanwhile, he kept his cuddled up next to his size 13s on the floor.

We ended up with enough to make a batch of freezer jam and a batch of
syrup with just enough leftover to sprinkle on yogurt or ice cream later.
My husband's grandmother made strawberry freezer jam
every summer and we always looked forward to the fresh bright
 taste and color that remains by not cooking the berries. 
I don't know why I haven't made it before now.
The jam and syrup did not disappoint.
It was all so easy!
First you give them a little bath.
We cut the little cores out of the center.
Pretty sure you could skip this step but it was our first time.
They core strawberries, don't they?
This took more time than picking them.

 Next step is mashing them.
This was our weapon of choice.
The recipe says one layer at a time
but we were impatient.
And cruel. Poor berries. 
Add the sugar. 
 And stir . . .
 . . . and stir some more.
 Dump the Sure-Jell
into the pan with water.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Pour the hot Sure-Jell mixture into
the squished berries and mix it up.
 Ladle the hot jam into containers.
Top with lids and let set for
24 hours before freezing.
Probably the hardest step.
Told you it was easy.
Now on to the syrup . . . 
More boiling and stirring 
High tech stirring!
It really went fast. 
Pour the hot syrup into your container and freeze.
Tastes just like the ones we've bought at the store.
Only better 'cuz you get to lick the spoon.
 This is the recipe we used for the syrup.
And what the tool we used for juicing looks like now.
Just a pretty pink memory.
And here's the recipe for jam in case you get the bug.
Tonight I made strawberry jam as well. In honor of Grandma.

Martha offers tons of recipes for blackberries. You can check them out here.
Happy what's-left-of-summer!

1 comment:

PDX said...

Yummm . . . looks delish! : )