Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Berries!

But no baby yet!

I have discovered that our raspberries are now ripe. I am getting overwhelmed with both the mulberries and the raspberries and I should not complain. I have the capabilities to go out and pick berries, wash them, smash them and turn them into jam. I have the know how and the supplies and the materials I need to do so. Regardless of having jam left from last year, I cannot stand by and watch the berries fall to the ground and go to waste. We truly have a bumper crop of berries this year and I am spoiled by the bounty I have been blessed with. Next year, I may not be so lucky and will be grateful that I made as much jam as I did.

I have been walking around the gardens trying to encourage labor to start and since I'm out there, I pick berries. Sometimes the kids tag along, but mostly I am the only one willing to brave the swarm of gnats (keep your mouth closed! I've inhaled my fair share of bugs *hack! patooie!!*) and mosquitoes (*slap!*) and the occasional tick or two (shudder!).

I combine the juices of mulberries, raspberries, strawberries and grape juice and make something I like to call crazyberry jam. I made it last year when I was down to the last of the mulberries and didn't have enough juice for a batch of jam, so I added a few strawberries-- still not enough. Added raspberries-- still needed a little more. Added some bottled unsweetened 100% grape juice to get the amount I needed, and crazyberry jam was born! It was the first jam to run out and we literally went through more than a pint a week until it was gone.

Now I am purposely making crazyberry jam and preserved 12 pints Monday night. Already used up 1/2 a pint today alone. The girls are asking for jelly sandwiches and toast with jam and jelly sandwiches and jelly sandwiches and did I say jelly sandwiches? If you have a mixture of berries, go ahead and mix it up a little to make your own version of crazyberry-- I use 3 1/2 cups of combined juice, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 box of pectin (I use Ball brand), and 5 cups of sugar. I'll be making more tomorrow!

I am smashing the berries as I go, straining the seeds out and then storing the juice in 1/2 gallon jars until I am ready to make jam. I have nearly a gallon of mulberry juice in the fridge and it is an efficient system for me, because I just don't know when the baby will make an appearance. Should baby come tomorrow, it will be easy to pop the jars in the freezer so they don't spoil and I can make jam when it is convenient for me.

Not much going on around here, besides waiting for baby, picking berries and the usual family stuff.


K.L. said...

Sounds like you need to start marketing it. I'd be first in line.

I was so hoping you would have had your baby by now. I keep checking, but you have one stubborn kid in there. Or maybe it is just too comfortable. Good luck with the eviction process, and I hope it happens soon.

Michelle D said...

I wonder if youre selling ur jam? I'd love to try ur jam - im a sucker for homemade jams! LOL

Lantana said...

Try a tablespoonfull of Castor Oil before you go to bed tonight. That does the trick! I did it for 3rd he was 3 weeks overdue!

Warning: The taste of the Castor Oil will not leave your mind for awhile.


Patty Keen said...

Do jumping jacks before bed or better yet ride the swing to tell the little kiddo it's time for him to come out.

It's definitely a boy!

We all are definitely rooting for you, dear friend.

Lantana said...

Farmers Markets are a big thing now, and your jams would no doubt do very well in one of those. I too am a sucker for home made jams. We have quite a variety here in the Pacific Northwest, and I am always stocked well, since I no longer do any canning myself. Good luck on your project and bless you and your new baby!


DJ Kirkby said...

I love this idea of crazy berry jam! I will try it if I am ever lucky enough to have a surpluss of a variety of berries. Thinking of you and your lovely little nesting baby...

CG said...

wait patiently for your baby -- it and you know when it needs to be born. (I had mine at home)

But the reason I'm commenting is that I'm wondering if there is a reason you strain out the seeds? I never do (well, except when I make jelly especially for in-laws who think they have diverticulitis but who really just don't eat anywhere near enough fiber). One of the things I like about blackberry jam is the texture of seeds in it.

If you have a freezer, remember that you can freeze your fruit and make jam when you aren't pregnant, otherwise overwhelmed, and when it is cooler. Also, since you have an electric stove, if you haven't already burnt out an eye on it canning stuff and replaced it and found this out, they do make heavy duty canning burners. We got one when we still had an electric stove and it was a HUGE improvement.

best to you and baby!

jenny said...

k.L., Michelle d, Lantana-- I would love to sell some of my jams at the local markets, but from what I undersand, I need a kitchen inspection and license to sell. I asked the local farm stand about selling mt jams there and they will not sell any for me unless I have that. I'll have to check the farmer's market and see if they enforce that, and if not, I can most certainly set up a table and sell some jams there. I get a lot of requests for more jams from the people I give them to.

My first baby was 2 weeks late and then she was induced. The next two were right on time. I looked up castor oil and I think I'll pass on that! I like how Dj told me I am giving baby that extra special something before he comes out, so I am not in any rush. :o)

Cg-- I love eating the berries straight from the tree, as do my kids, but when it comes to jam, I prefer it seedless. I'm not too crazy for the crunch-crunch when I eat my toast! I also use the jams a lot in cooking bars and cheesecakes and they taste better with seedless jams. I can be fussy that way! :o) So far so good on the electric stove- thanks for the tip!

I had baby #3 at home and I loved it, wish I could do it again, but we are unable to do so this year. Plan to have it as natural as possible at the hospital to make up for it.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi honey
Just came by to say hello. Would you believe it is cold, cloudy and spitting rain off and on over here?! Sigh... Thinking of you and your lovely family. xo

Rosa said...

DO you need a license to sell your jam on ebay or etsy? I've never had homemade jam, I'd love to try it!

When are/were you due? I stop by your blog every so often and keep figuring you would have had the baby by now.

Best wishes for you and baby!

Rosa said...

uh, that was Do, not DO. Does that make any sense?

Sparx said...

I am so envious of your freezer and your jam making and all those berries! And, of course, that you're about to have another baby, you are indeed blessed!