Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackberry Jam

I couldn't seem to find anything to really dig into today, so The Artist found me a job. (That's not entirely true. I've started planning for more fiber art pieces.)

Anyway, the job was to help him pick blackberries. As I've mentioned before, there is a huge patch in the alley, along our neighbor's fence. The patch was larger before some errant teenager went mudding in his truck a couple winters ago, got stuck, and took out our neighbor's back fence and the berries. Our neighbor was successful in getting the kid and his mother to rebuild the fence, in a fashion, and this year the berries have returned in force. The recent heat wave has made them huge, ripe and juicy. We can't let them go to the birds, now can we?

So we pick them, puree them and have them on ice cream. That's OK when we get a basket every couple days, but with the recent warm weather, we were able to find 4 1/2 baskets. Time to make seedless blackberry jam. I hadn't made jam in several years, because I found that I never could use it all up, even when I gave it as hostess gifts. But this time, since I didn't really have anything planned, and the berries were so good, and it was only 2:00, well, I had no excuse to give myself. So, I dragged out all my canning supplies (never very far away, for just such an emergency), put on my apron and went out to pick a ripe lemon from the tree.

In times like this, I really feel badly for East Coast people who don't have a lemon tree in their backyard. You folks actually have to plan to get a lemon to make jam, whereas I have a tree in my backyard. It was the first thing I put in the yard when we moved here, having discovered what a wonderful addition to life a fruiting lemon tree is.

I pulled out an old jam recipe book, a gift from a friend who will undoubtedly get a jar of the jam, and had a ball with my food mill, a sieve, pots, pans, sugar, a wooden spoon, a spatula and a candy thermometer. (Notice, all you foodies - no pectin. I don't like jam with pectin.) It really made a little more than I expected so I have some in a little pyrex custard cup. Oh, what flavor. What texture. What an afternoon. Pancakes for breakfast next weekend!

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