Well we did it: we made jam. We ate a lot of the first batch we picked, so we stopped by Sunsmile Farms on Friday and did their u-pick thornless blackberries. The kids were able to pick more that way! Then we mixed in our wild blackberries (which still taste sweeter, if thornier), and away we went. I've never canned before, except helping and observing my mom and Ginya when I was little, so this was new to me. The making of the jam itself was simple: we let the berries macerate with sugar and fresh lemon juice for a couple of hours, and then boiled it over low heat until it gelled (which took at least four times longer than the eighteen minutes the recipe said, and maybe even longer--I wasn't watching the clock exactly). The canning part came next, and that was a mystery to me, so I was going slowly and reading the directions very carefully.
We had a bit of leftover jam on vanilla ice cream last night, and it was delicious, and then this morning we opened our first jar and had it on bread for a quick breakfast before heading out to the Nevada County Fair. Yum! It was nice and thick and perfectly gelled, so I think it worked. The kids and I had lots of fun, and it was a great way to slow down our busy fair week.
This first picture is of the berries sitting in the sugar and lemon juice. Don't you just want to eat them now? The next picture is of the finished product, cooling on the counter. Then we finish with a picture of a sleepy looking Jack slowly munching on his bread with jam.I thought I got a better picture of him, but this is all I could find when I uploaded the photos this evening, so sleepy picture it is. This was definitely a cooking experiment worth repeating!