Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Early Autumn Canning

Bolinas blackberry jam

I have never canned before, and I'm not sure you could say I've even canned now, even though I helped make all those jars of jam.
I watched an expert farm-wife and maker-of-things stir, taste, and test the cooking blackberries, and asked her a lot of questions, and I screwed lids on. Vital, I tell you, to the operation! It was a group effort, with my mom and her three friends doing most of the work (after my mother had collected ten pounds of blackberries by hand from roadsides and secret caches). But broken down, one person stirred, another poured, another cleaned lids, and another placed the closed jars of jam in the water bath. It is going to be delicious -- just juice and tart skin with a bit of sugar (not too much!), some lemon juice to help preserve the fruit, and some activated pectin.

The jam cooking on the left; frozen berries about to go on the stove on the right.

But the final product sure looks pretty, doesn't it? My next task is finding/making labels! I may well fall into the hole of etsy again. I do love a good pun, so these cards might be great. Or these straightforward labels? Or design my own (maybe)? 

Just a few days after I helped can for the first time, I met the founder of Punk Domestics, and he clarified some of my confusion about the risks and rewards of canning vegetables, rather than fruit (short version: the results of pickling veggies are tastier than those of heat or pressure canning, and safer too). I sense some adventures with mason jars in my future.

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