Blackberry season is once again upon us. So right out of the gate hubby and I went out and picked, and picked and picked. Last year I made the mistake of only making about 14 jars of jam. I figured that’d be plenty! But when you share the love and give some away you end up with a lot less than you thought you would. That being said my first batch was 28 jars! I a couple of days I will pick a smaller batch for a Blackberry Ginger Jam with Orange Zest.
Picking blackberries means donning ‘the gear’. For me this is jeans, long sleeve t-shirt, thick apron, gloves, clippers, a hook made out of a coat hanger to pull those out of reach clusters to me, a big hat (which has almost made me lose an eye on several occasions. You can’t see what’s coming above you as you’re walking along and BAM a branch whacks you on the head, or a rampant berry vine slithers up under the brim of you hat and sticks you in the eye. Hats can be very dangerous), boots and an assortment of profanity. Because no matter how careful one is, you will be ‘bit’ by the thorns numerous times. Even with long sleeves my arms look like I have the pox. You will sweat profusely, be investigated by lots of bugs and for me a curious doe wanted to know what I was doing, that is until momma ‘huffed’ and he took off. The more you pick, the sweeter you smell as sugars are released and this time of year the wasps just love you. I have learned not to swat at them just let them hover around. We don’t want a repeat of the 2012 incident. You may wonder if it’s all really worth it? You bet it is! There is nothing more tasty than opening a jar of ‘summer’ when it’s cold and snowing outside.
Now it’s game on! This year will hopefully bring a new level to my blackberries. I’ve done martini’s, jams, BBQ sauces, pies and cobblers. It’s now time for something new. I shall attempt Blackberry Wine! And this is where patience in both harvesting and fermentation will test my limits. I need almost 30 pounds of blackberries for 5 bottles of wine. And since there is no way to pick 30 pounds on my property in one day, I shall be picking every few days and freezing them till I get what I need. Thank goodness we’ve really gone thru that side of beef we bought over a year ago or I’d be in the market for a second freezer! Summer brings so many wonderful things. If you don’t have room for a garden do check out local Farmer’s Market’s. You will be treated to some of the best produce you’ve ever eaten!