We Be Jammin'

Thursday, July 28, 2011
No doubt, you've surmised that it's berry season here at Of Woods and Words. Or, as I like to call it . . . "the most wonderful time of the year."Nearly every evening for the last week, I've headed out with my berry picking bucket (aka, a lidded Tupperware container) and have been steadily amassing berries. With two gallons of berries in the freezer, one pie made, and a batch of blueberry vinegar steeping away in the corner, it was time to focus berry picking efforts on restocking the jam pantry.   

Although there are berries galore in the woods, this year, as my scrapped-up shins can attest to, you have to work a little harder to get them. Last year the berries seemed to favor easily accessible open fields. This year, they've tucked themselves away at the top of granite cliffs and in crevices. They're as big and juicy as ever, but sometimes I feel like I could use shin guards. . . or climbing gear. It's been handy to have various watercraft at our disposal to use in this year's berry picking adventures. This is probably just classic, "the grass is always greener on the other side" but I swear the biggest, best berries live down the lake, where you have to paddle or motor to them.   

We took out the canoe on a nearby creek on Tuesday. We found a sandy beach, a ton of berries (and people . . . ah, wilderness!), and towards the end of our time out, we meandered down the river until we reached some rapids. We forded the river, which forms the border between the U.S. and Canada, and found the mother load of berries. With no container on me other than my camera case, I quickly filled up the case with big Canadian blueberries in about five minutes. Best use of my remote area border crossing pass ever.

This past Christmas, I received not one, but two water bath canners. (One got returned . . . there may be no such thing as too many blueberries, but there is such a thing as one too many water bath canners.) I'm feel blessed to have so many people who encourage my berry-picking obsession and on Tuesday evening I got to test out the canner for the first time. There were some nasty smells for a while as the water heated up and the canner burned off some paint/finish fumes.
But in the end, it did a great job of transforming this:

Into this:
Five pints of blueberry/raspberry jam.

Last night, I put up another three pints of straight-up blueberry jam. I've become enamored with the blog "Food in Jars" which could mean very good things for our winter pantry and very bad things for my social life/writing life/anything but domestic goddess life. More canning adventures to come soon!


  1. I canned some rhubarb jam in May and it's almost gone (husband eats it with a spoon *eyeroll*). Jealous of your wild berry excursions!But I have to ask.... how do you NOT get eaten alive by mosquitos? Do you just deet yourself from head to toe?!

  2. lovely! i have pushed canning off but great canning plans have consumed my schedule for next week!

  3. Yum! I love a good jam... even worth the scary smells, right? The boyfriend vaccuum seals and freezes fruits for us for the winter

  4. YUMMY! This looks delicious. I love homemade jam. I have wonderful memories with my parents and brothers of picking wild blackberries and then making jam and of course turn-overs with the berries!!!
    Loved this post today!

  5. I can't believe you're in water up to your waist in real clothes. I am not really sure that I could do that. Of course, if I lived up in the woods, I bet that would be a little different story.

  6. Ada, I miss you!! And your jam!!

  7. oooohhhh--- I love the idea of making jam!!!!!! I need to do this! (even if i don't have anywhere to pick berries)

  8. Ada, all looks so very wonderful. Yummy. Thanks for pointing me into the direction of food in jars! Wish I could have gone into the water with you. All for berries and more berries!


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