Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jelly Day

Blackberry juice looks kind of like blood when it's draining from the strainer into a bowl. And the large quart jars are full of the thick, somewhat viscous juice too.

It's not an accidental or an artificial coincidence that I made jelly on almost the same date last year. It is just the way it has worked out. Despite a very late freeze this Spring and a drought this Summer the blackberries came as they normally would. This is because most life on this part of the Earth is well-adapted to big variations in conditions from year to year (and even from day to day because it was 20 degrees cooler today than it was on Monday). No year is ever the same as the last.

Also the big, late Spring freeze killed all the newly emerged leaves on the trees and shrubs like the blackberry canes. Did that spell disaster for the them? No, they sprouted new leaves within weeks. The trees and shrubs "knew" to do this because they have adapted to changes over many millennia and have retained the "knowledge" to replace frozen leaves. Life is resilient that way.

And actually, my blackberry yield has been even greater than last year's despite the bad weather. (But in all fairness several people have marveled at my yield because their own blackberry patches haven't done as well this year. Maybe I have magical powers? ;-) ) Last year by this time I got enough juice to make 14 cups of jelly, but this year I've made 20 cups. There are still berries ripening, and I'll probably pick a few more for pies. But I think I have enough jelly now. ;-)

I think I'll label these "Vicious Momma's Intense Blackberry Jelly" because it is that good. ;-)

I love the sound of lids popping and pinging to let me know the vacuum seal worked. As the jelly-filled jars cool from their boiling water bath in the canner, the change in temperature causes a suction to pull down the lid for an airtight seal. Pop, ping, pop, ping! Music to my ears. :-)

Hey, maybe I should get some kind of carbon tax credit for making my own jelly. No illegals were hired to pick and process the berries. I didn't even have to drive to get them. The jars are reused from last year. I wonder what the total economic cost of twenty cups of store-bought jelly is compared to twenty cups of homemade. Someone should do those calculations and lobby for a new tax credit for homemakers. ;-)

Which brings me to an opportunity to use some pictures I've had a while and wanted to put up here at some point. Back in the WWII era people were asked to do many things to help their country get through the Depression and the War hardships. One of those things was planting a "Victory Garden." Unfortunately, Al Gore might read this and decide to make it one of the sacraments of his Global Warming Religion. ;-)

For instructions on juicing berries see last year's jelly post.

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