A Very Berry Good Time

Summers are always hectic and it’s been a while since we went berry picking.  Strawberries were numero uno on my list this summer but, alas, strawberry season came and went without us picking any (but the few meager ones from our own bed).

I was determined to not miss the rest of the berry seasons.

We have a U-Pick farm just about two miles away.   After we both got home from separate business trips on a Wednesday, we got up at the crack of dawn the next day to go pick blackberries before heading off to work.  The blackberries at this place are always ginormous so it didn’t take us long to pick.   We picked eighteen quarts before rushing back home to get ready for work.

12 of the 18 quarts

I spent the next few evenings making blackberry jam and freezing whole berries.

The following Saturday we returned to pick blueberries.  They had a new variety that was the size of a quarter but we found (after sampling a few) that the smaller berries really had more flavor.   We picked about fifteen pounds of blueberries and I spent the rest of the weekend making preserves and freezing.


I used a few new blackberry recipes and a couple of old standards.   I’m listing links in the order I made them.

  1.  Blackberry-Lime Jam
  2. Blackberry Bramble Jam from Jam Session by Joyce Goldstein  (The addition of a fresh bay leaf adds a brambly flavor.)
  3. A Blackberry-Blueberry morphed recipe based on “Blackberry, Plum, Mint and Black Pepper Jam” from Jam Session by Joyce Goldstein.  (This jam had amazing flavors with ingredients like mint, apple juice, lemon juice and the black pepper.)
  4. Blackberries in Framboise from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (This recipe yielded almost 6 pints of berries and 3 pints + of syrup that I also canned up.)
  5. I also froze a lot whole and then repackaged them in three cup seal-a-meal bags.

Berry Melange (or how I morphed Goldstein’s “Blackberry, Plum, Mint and Black Pepper Jam”

Now, on to the blueberries.

  1.  Blueberry Spice Jam
  2. Blueberry-Orange Preserves from Minnesota’s Bounty  by Beth Dooley
  3. Blueberry Syrup
  4. Blueberry Butter

Again I froze some whole berries.

After the pots and pans and canner and supplies were put away and the kitchen was cleaned up, I had 63 jars of various sizes stacked around the kitchen.

I’ve got a bunch of Christmas presents stored away in the pantry.

We traveled back from south Texas last weekend and it was all I could do not to stop at the peach stands.   I need some time to recuperate!  🙂

The recipes that I tried from both cookbooks (Jam Session and Minnesota’s Bounty)  are excellent.  I would encourage you to check out them both.   Goldstein’s recipes are inventive.  Dooley focuses on fresh and local ingredients.

A couple of season’s ago I made Dooley’s Cranberry-Apple Chutney.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney over Humboldt Fog.

Totally divine!


I’m linking up with Foodies Reads and Novel Foods.


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My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
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SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
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The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
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