Sunday, August 9, 2009

ER Jam Session

It's 1:30 a.m. and I just finished making a batch of ER jam. Yes, emergency jam. The strawberries we bought just two nights ago needed to be used "stat!" (right away), and the blackberries that we picked this morning were so ripe they were falling apart while we were picking them. Oh, and it was a scorcher today. Surely, the kitchen (and I) would get over-heated during this whole thing, so I waited until late at night to start. The fog never came in, and it never cooled off. Bad weekend for this venture, I'm afraid.

Overall, it went pretty well. Most of the delays and hitches were due to my attempts at coordinating everything this first time out (in other words, my not knowing what to do). Who can you call after midnight with jamming queries? There is no 24-hour jam-support hotline that I know of (unless you have a Mom who is a jam-making night-owl). I just did my best and prayed it would all work out and not end up being a colossal waste of time, money, fruit, water, utilities, and oh yeah, sanity. In the end, the lids all "pinged", signaling a good seal. The next day all the seals passed their test and were holding tight. All was right with the world. Except for this darned heatwave.

Triple Berry (ER) Jam
I followed this recipe for Bumbleberry Jam, substituting blackberries for raspberries and doubling all the quantities. The final yield was 4 pints (or 1 quart). I used 1/2 pint jars.

Notes: I had read that wild blackberries had more seeds than proper varieties, so I ran mine through a food mill (medium) before I did anything else. Got rid of most of the seeds and ended up with a bowl of opaque purple slush (some might call this "dye"). Then I picked over and washed the strawberries. I had a little more than 4 cups of them and the recipe called for 2 cups, so I decided to double it. There was certainly plenty of blackberry "slurry" and I had lots of blueberries. The jam came out a little thick, but it's spreadable. The blackberries kind of steamrolled the other berries in terms of color and even flavor, but they all add to the overall taste of it.
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