I wanna jam it with you! We're jammin, oh! And I hope you like jammin too...
If you've ever gone to a place with a beach that has even the tiniest hint of commercialism, you cannot escape Bob Marley. I've heard "Jammin" in Thailand, Spain, and Mexico, and people from all over the world knew the lyrics. If you go to a place without a beach, but with men wielding acoustic guitars, then you've probably also got to hear "No Woman, No Cry" (one of my least favorite songs). I would love to be greeted by a woman strumming an acoustic guitar singing "No Lazy Man, No Cry"! I'd empty out my wallet for her! Anyway, I digress...
We're jammin! Or, more specifically, I'm blackberry jammin! Over the weekend, we visited the family. The boy and I have been eyeing the blackberries at a super secret spot for awhile now, and we had a feeling that they would be ripe. We were right! So, we loaded up the boat with four berry pickers (otherwise known as myself, the boy, his dad, and his brother), two dogs (the berry challengers), and off we went!
We picked berries for an hour.Contrary to popular belief, berry picking isn't very peaceful because there is a lot of swearing involved. Or perhaps it was the company I was with and our inexperience at finessing the berries from their thorny bushes. We were far from the idyllic scene of people with their pretty, wicker baskets picking berries and enjoying nature. We were more like the Berry Pirates. Arrrrrgh! However, if we really did have eyepatches, I think our depth perception would be lost and we'd get stuck by more thorns.
Vespa and Mingus both decided, at different times, that berry bushes meant dry land, and they were tired of being sailors , so each of them took a little dunk in the lake. Vespa thought she was being smart, too, by jumping on a log, which promptly sank as she put her dainty little paws on them. And again, I'm kicking myself for forgetting the camera!
What does seven pounds of blackberries that are turned into jam look like? I know that is the question burning inside of you all right now. Allow me to show you.
Adding some heat to make berry pulp.
I prefer to run seedy berries through a food mill. I hate chewing my jam. However, nothing went to waste because all the berry seeds were fed to my worms. (I don't think I've introduced you all to my worms yet.)
After running the berries through the mill, I was left with 9 cups of berry pulp. I added 3 cups of sugar, half the sugar that the recipe called for, so it took me longer than usual to achieve the gel point. Next time, I'll add more unripe blackberries for added pectin.
Ta da! Blackberry jam! The seven pounds of berries amounted to 8 jars of jam, or 4 pints. I wish you could taste it - it is delicious! We're already planning to do another berry run this month.