Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fruits of My Labor

I love to garden, but it's been quite a while since I've had a big enough garden to raise enough to have surplus to "put by".

Without planning ahead, I decided this year that I would go berry picking. There are a number of patches of wild black raspberries at my workplace, and there were a fair number in the back yard this year as well. The yard berries would have been enough to have on ice cream every night, but I spent a few afternoons adding to that by picking berries after work. My canning book told me I would need 3 quarts of berries to make enough juice for one batch.

Last weekend I cleaned and cooked the berries, and added some blueberries from the store as well. I strained the slurry through a jelly bag suspended over a large bowl, and ended up with enough juice to make two batches of jelly.
It took a little work to hunt for the right jars and lids in the basement, and clean out the big boiling water canner and utensils. But as I worked I remembered just how much I enjoy it. I canned the first batch of jelly last weekend, and finished the second batch today. These will make nice Christmas gifts, if I can bear to part with them! This jelly is sweet, but has that tart bite that wild berries are know for. My favorite combination!

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