Thursday, June 24, 2010
Blackberries! No jam
On a recent visit to my sister's home in Georgia, I joined her as she walked her miniature dachshunds, Cinnamon and Ginger. We decided to venture beyond her well kept subdivision to explore an abandoned housing project. One of several near her neighborhood north of Atlanta which bit the dust during the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, the project area is huge. At one end a construction pond has morphed into a marshland replete with cattails bursting in the summer sun. At the other end we found a trove of wild berry patches. Blackberries, I'm almost sure. It was early in the day before the summer heat had taken hold but we had nothing to hold the easily available pickings and decided to come back later.
We did that, dragging my just awakened daughter Katie with us. Actually Katie and I got there first. Laura came later with the dogs which she tied to a small tree in the midst of one of the blackberry patches. It was mid morning and hot so we didn't stay long. Among the three of us we gathered at least 12 cups in a short time. They sat on Laura's kitchen counter for a day. Then she rinsed about half and froze them. I rinsed the rest and brought them back to Tennessee with me.
The berries were extremely tart, but I dumped them in a pot thinking I'd add gobs of sugar and make a little jam. Big Oven has a simple recipe. After the berries had cooked down quite a bit I plopped a sample spoonful into a bowl and added sugar. After mixing this up I tasted some and found the sweetened berries had a good musty flavor.
But... The berry seeds were so big and so many that the texture was just unacceptable. I didn't know what to do.
I finally strained the cooked berries and got a little more than a pint of thick bitter juice.
I know dark berries have great anti-oxidant qualities so I'm drinking the stuff. Instead of adding sugar to the bitter mix, I add a couple of tablespoons of berry juice to 8 ounces of apple juice.
It tastes fine and I think it's healthy, too.