Today’s a recovery day for me, so I’m off from work. Not exactly sitting around watching Hulu in my bathrobe – at least not today, anyway.
Early summer in the forest, all the berries are ripening all at once and demand to be picked and preserved for the long wet winter. Saturday morning I went out and picked raspberries and blueberries, which went right into the freezer. Last evening, after supper, B and I moseyed around the upper end of our road and up Lester Creek Road a bit and picked thimbleberries, early huckleberries, some blackberries and some amazing salmonberries – including a bunch of purple ones (they’re so sweet!). We picked just enough for a batch of “bumbleberry jam” – which is a mix of wild berries.
This morning, after B went to work, I went out and picked an additional 3 pounds of wild blackberries (brambleberries, for those that know about these things). It’s great having berries growing adjacent to our compost pile! I barely left the yard to pick all the blackberries (on the right).
It’s supposed to get pretty warm today, so I wanted to get all the picking out of the way before noon. As it happened, before noon I made a batch of currant-orange jelly (with currants from our own red currants bushes plus a little orange juice from the fridge) and then made a 5-pint batch of “bumbleberry jam” (named for the bumblebees that visit the brambles while I’m picking). The currant jelly jelled really well and it has a mild slightly orange flavor and just sweet enough with one cup of sugar for the batch. The bumbleberry jam has a slightly sweet complex flavor that sings of sunshine and fresh air.
Then I measured out the blackberries for the last batch of jam and found that I was short a cup. On went the cap and right glove (to hold the bramble vines out of the way while I pick with my left hand) and with the 1-gallon picking bucket looped over my arm, I browsed around the edges of the yard and picked a cup in just a few minutes – then decided that I’d better get the raspberries picked before it got any warmer out!
So, an hour later, raspberries are picked & sorted and laid out on cookie sheets in the freezer. Saturday’s batch are tucked into quart-size zip bags and back into the freezer. Four more! We’ll have lots of raspberries for our morning hot cereal this winter!
I’m taking a bit of a rest before I make the third batch of jam – this one 100% blackberry. Here’s what the jars look like so far, for my morning’s work:
Pretty good haul for a couple that eats very little jam! (And yes, I’m off to take my nap now. . . .)