I’m not a berry-picker. That’s my mom. She loves to pick berries. Yet, over the weekend I voluntarily went berry picking, and convinced my husband to come along. Neither one of us thought it was exactly “fun,” but we were anticipating the results of our labors, so we were motivated.
We came home and made jam. Well, first I made blackberries in chambord, a slight variation on a recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (a recent purchase), having become enamored with the photo in the book. I don’t think mine came out as intended, as I wound up with a very large juice-to-berry ratio, but as a bonus I now have a jar of spiced blackberry light syrup in the fridge, for making pink lemonade with or making blackberry vodka tonics. Those are good. Or blackberry Diet Coke, which is OK.
So then we made jam. Only having used some of the blackberries already, we didn’t have quite enough for the blackberry jam recipe, and I had to add blueberries. Darn! Now we have 7 8-oz jars of black-and-blue berry jam.
We still had a lot of blueberries, so two batches of blueberry-lime jam happened next. Phew! After that we gave up and froze the remaining berries, winding up with 2.5 quarts of frozen berries.
As novice jammers, we went through all the mishaps one might expect: jam boiling over in the pot and becoming burnt onto the stove top (ugh!); dropping a filled jar on the floor and denting the lid, and spilling purple-staining sticky jam across the kitchen; dripping/splashing sticky hot jam onto bare skin, not having enough hot jars and lids available for the amount of jam in the pot (recipes have been annotated!). We washed dishes, and jars, and ourselves multiple times. We sweated, it having been the hottest and most humid weekend of the summer so far.
But then we had peach crumble topped with vanilla ice cream and a dollop of black-and-blue berry jam for dessert, and it was impossible to regret the experience!