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Getting Into a Jam July 7, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Farm.
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It’s July now.  That means drought and heat in TN, but it also means that the homestead fruits are coming in. While Joe cleared a path for a new electric fence and Lydia napped, the rest of us picked wild blackberries along the fenceline Saturday.  We’ve got tough kids-  I heard hardly a complaint from them about the plentiful thorns.  Benjamin was very disciplined this year- he put a lot more in the bucket than he ate this time.  I also collected about 8-10 pounds of red plums from our trees.  While Benjamin gave Joe a hand outside, Rachel and I made our first homemade jam.

The plums were small, so half of each was pit.  About 80 plums later, we had the necessary amount of fruit in a pot on the stove.  We added the sugar and Rachel dutifully stirred and stirred and stirred.  When it had reached the gel stage, we put the jam in the hot jars, screwed on the hot lids, and put them in the water bath canner Beck gave us some time back.  As the jars cooled later, we listened for that beautiful pinging that means the lids have sealed.  We ate the jam that didn’t fit in the jars for breakfast Sunday morning.  Yum!

Sunday afternoon, Rachel and I were at it again with the blackberries.  Ten cups of berries yielded 4 more pints of jam, but with nothing left over this time.  That brought frowns from the guys.  It somehow doesn’t seem right to open up a newly canned jar of jam so soon, but I imagine no dust will gather on these.

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Comments»

1. Marci - July 7, 2008

I am thrilled that you have a daughter to do stuff with. How fun and it sure looks like she enjoys it.

2. David - July 7, 2008

I noticed you said these were wild blackberries. I’m wondering how some cultivated blackberry bushes might do here in N. MS? Any ideas?

3. Dreamer - July 7, 2008

We were doing much the same thing at our house this weekend, except this time I decided to freeze the peaches instead of can them. I didn’t make any jam, so it made sense to freeze them for pies. I’m going to get more from a local orchard next weekend too. I wish we had our own fruit trees. Isn’t it fun to spend time in the kitchen with your daughter?

4. Laura - July 7, 2008

David,

I’m no expert on blackberries, but I think I’ve read that they grow on down south a ways. My husband spent his summers on his grandparents’ NW AL farm and they had them there. I would love to plant some thornless red raspberries some day. Our blackberries come courtesy of birds who perch on the fence line and drop the seeds. From there the plants spread like crazy sending runners out 10 feet into our pastures. We can beat them back temporarily, but they are quite hardy and always return.

5. Laura - July 7, 2008

Dreamer,

I agree. It’s a great opportunity to spend time together. I don’t know of any place close by that has fresh peaches or we would do some of those too! We have a great ag-supporting website here (picktnproducts.org) that helps consumers find local growers, but I haven’t seen any close enough. We are planning to go blueberry picking with friends in a week or two. We have several young bushes, but they aren’t old enough to bear much yet.

Hope you and your girls had a good time too.

6. reeska - July 9, 2008

Crazily enough on today or tomorrow’s agenda is for us to make some blueberry preserves. We don’t have any bushes on our property though. I bought some for a decent price at Whole Foods. mmm….

7. Laura - July 9, 2008

Marci,

You are right- I am so blessed! Rachel loves to help me with just about anything. Would you believe she now ASKS to change Lydia’s diapers (and I mean the BAD ones too)?!

Yesterday when we were making another batch of plum jam to give as gifts, Lydia wanted to be on her own stool “helping” too (but away from the hot stove, of course).

Reeska,

I hope your preserves turn out well. I may need some advice in a few weeks after we do our picking.

Yea! for the nearly lost arts we mommies are keeping alive and passing on to our children!

8. Sheryl Anderson - July 13, 2008

I always thought it was so special to spend time in the kitchen with mom. (With as talented as Mom has always been in the kitchen, I wish now that I had payed attention to more than cake mixes and mashed potatoes- HA!) It’s is so valuable for kids to learn “Home Ec.” skills. They will will do so much better when they finally go off on their own, and they will feel more prepared to do so. And they will make great college roommates. I had a roommate who didn’t realize she was supposed to wash her sheets , or that open bags of potato chips under her bed in New Orleans were NOT a good idea.


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