Monday, August 20, 2012

in clover: in a jam

Since my first experience pickling cucumbers two years ago, I have wanted to try my hand at canning jam.  When blackberry season came to the Bluegrass, Michael and I seized the opportunity to make an early morning drive out to Boyd Orchards.  

We drove our 1986 Porsche 944.  My Dad handed this car down to us.  Michael has spent the last two years working on rebuilding the front of the engine and fixing many (MANY!) other issues.  All his hard work has finally paid off.  It runs great!  It was fun to drive on the country roads and even more fun to watch Michael enjoy his accomplishment. I'm really proud of him.  

Boyd’s orchard store is a feast for the eyes and the nose!  Every where you look there is fresh everything.  The day we visited, there was plenty of two of my favorites....peaches.....

and blackberries. 

To make and can the jam, I followed the simple recipe in the classic Ball Home Canning book.  I used the pectin method.  

I have a glass topped stove so Michael bought me a stainless water bath canner made especially for glass topped stoves.  To cook the jam, I used my fabulous Paderno saute pan (Christmas gift from my mother and her husband last year....LOVE it!).  

The recipe was simple and easy to follow.  One jar did not seal properly so I put it in the refrigerator for us to enjoy right away.  It didn’t last long!  

 The jam as it cooked (above).

Jars loaded in the canner (above.)

I did make one mistake.  I sent my dad a short video of the canner “bubbling” on the stove because he shared with me his memories of my grandmother’s canner “bubbling and rumbling on her stove.”  When he called to ask me about my jam experience, he asked if I skimmed the foam off the cooked jam.  I had because the recipe told me to do so.  When I told him that I poured the foam down the sink drain, he let out a loud groan!  I had discarded, according to him, the BEST part!  He said the foam is kind of like cotton candy, only grainier, and that my grandmother always gave it to him as a treat.  She was careful, he told me, to also “accidentally” include some of the cooked jam as well.  Ah well.  I will have to have a “do over” next year. 

Boo, with cooling jars.

I enjoyed a nice outing with Michael, supported a local business, the kitchen smelled great, my kids enjoyed snitching blackberries off the counter and I have a nice little stash of homemade blackberry jam....and I have scratched another experience off my “really want to try this” list.

I have been thinking (a lot) about eating more mindfully.  When I began buying organic and higher quality local food for my family, the price forced me to be a bit more mindful.  It is much easier for me to waste orange juice that cost me $3 a gallon than it is to waste orange juice that costs me $6 for a half gallon.  (What I had forgotten was how much better it REAL orange juice tastes!)  To offset the expense, we drink more water.  We should have been doing that anyway.  

One thing is for sure....when I make food from "scratch" like this jam,  I am far more likely to savor it more. 
peace and all good, 



  1. I am awed by all you can do, you know. My mom always made blackberry jam and I remember the "foam" part too! I know next year there will be foam for all. Ha

  2. Thank you, EJ. I would like to be an artist, like you!

  3. Rev it up, Michael! And a PB&J sounds good about now! JanE

    1. Oh my goodness, Jan E....I just saw this comment! Don't know how I missed it!

      Come over anytime for a pb&j!


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