Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thorns and Sweetness

This picture of Blackberry Jam and recipe are from

Blackberries are producing like crazy this year thanks to all the rain and humidity. I have to be really fast to beat the birds to the day's bounty.

I transplanted a few blackberry bushes to this home in 1997 and I'll never be without them again (both by choice and thanks to birds).

I had planted them under windows as they did in Victorian times. They were used as prowler deterrents. Little did I know they were also house painters, husband weed-eater guy, and running children deterrents. By the time I could admit to my error, they had been seeded throughout the property and I was able let them go close to the house.

Blackberries and raspberries are much easier for me to grow than blueberries because of the walnut trees. Although my blackberries are from some long lost strain (more wild than hybrid) they suit my taste just fine.

Blackberries aren't easy for a small property because of the spreading by birds and every branch that hits the ground roots. They spread quite readily and pruning is a fight with thorns every time. I'm a lackadaisical pruner so mine thrive in spite of my efforts.

Some of the new hybrids have more controlled habits and the size of the berries are much larger. Flavors vary somewhat from tart to sweet and from seedy to meaty.

Here's Paula Deen's recipe for Blackberry Jam. Always good but I must admit I go outside in the morning - pick a cup of berries (what doesn't go directly in my mouth) and have them on my cereal. Good stuff.

Blackberry Jam
by Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine July/August 2010

Paula says the secret to the tastiest canning boils down to one simple rule her Grandmother Paul taught her…use only produce just picked from the field.
Support your local farmers and your pocketbook this summer by buying your produce when it’s at the peak of freshness and coincidentally most affordable. Following Paula’s simple recipes and canning techniques will guarantee you some of your own “Summer in a Jar” come December.

Blackberry Jam Yields: 6 (½ pint) jars

5 cups blackberries, washed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin6 (1/2 pint)
Canning Jars with lids

In a large saucepan over high heat add blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir frequently while bringing to a rolling boil.
Stir in pectin and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam from the top if necessary.
Sterilize jars and lids directly before using for 10 minutes in simmering water or in the dishwasher. Remove one at a time when ready to fill.
While blackberry mixture is still hot, ladle into the hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings.
Process in a boiling water bath (making sure water level is 1 inch over the top of the jars) for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on the counter.

Courtesy of Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine July/August 2010

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