A couple weeks ago I was invited by Stocker Farms to come out and pick some of their Early Blues variety of Blueberry at their Mountain View Blueberry Farms, before they opened to the public. So I called up my friend Cristie (the Master Mixologist behind ThirstQuest) and asked her if she’d like to head out in the early morning to go pick some blueberries with me. We headed out early, while the morning mists were still rising from the farmlands and fields in the Snohomish River area. We arrived and we picked. And we picked and we picked. Between the two of us and a couple hours of picking we ended up with 18 pounds of Blueberries.
We also decided to head over to Stocker Farms Red Barn to pick up some Sunflower Honey and check on what other local produce offerings they had in store for us. Mounds of Sweet Bing Cherries, glowing Golden Rainier Cherries, 1/2 flats of mixed Raspberries and Blueberries and punnets of the most delicious little Strawberries I’ve tasted all year. So it wasn’t enough that I had 9 pounds of Blueberries, I had to pick up some Strawberries and Raspberries as well.
So when I got home and started looking at all these berries I started wondering what could I do with them all. Pancakes, Cobblers, Crisps, Muffins, Scones, Ice Cream, Syrup, simply fresh out of the bowl… there were many days of berry enjoyment ahead to be certain. The only problem with fresh berries is that they do not keep forever, and once a few days had escaped me I found that I still had an abundance of berries at hand and something needed to be made before they turned into penicillin.
That’s when it hit me… JAM! Why didn’t I think of this before!? I’ll make a bunch of berry jam and mix all the berry together for a taste that will be an explosion of summer sweetness in your mouth. So I took my Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries and prepped them for the pot. Now I’m an old fashioned girl, I like to make my berry jams without Pectin. Why? It’s because my Great Grandmother did it that way and her jams were spectacular. The fruits were thick and caramelized with deep layers of flavor. And it couldn’t be easier, no fussing with adding in things at the right time or risk screwing up your entire batch. Just add everything in a pot, stir, boil down and stick it in a jam pot. Done and delicious.
Summer Berry Jam
- 4 Cups Berries (Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry – any combination)
- 3 1/2 Cups Organic Cane Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/2 Lemon
- Pinch of Salt
Prep your berries by washing them. Hull and quarter strawberries, others leave whole. Put them into a large stock pot, add the Sugar and Vanilla and stir them all to combine. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot and toss the squeezed lemon in with the berries, add cinnamon stick and pinch of salt. Stir again to combine, the berries should start releasing their juice and making the Sugar wet.
Place the pot on the stove set at Medium heat. Stir it a couple of times, letting it roll to a slow boil while keeping an eye on it just until the mixture starts to foam. Now turn it down to Medium-Low heat and simmer while stirring occassionally. Your berries will go from a stage of a watery syrup like consistency with foam to a thicker syrup with less foam. When you start seeing the foam disappear (about 20 minutes into the cooking) remove your lemon from the pot.
Now you will want to really watch the pot, stirring constantly to prevent it from scorching for about another 20-25 minutes, the stirring also helps to break up the fruit even more. The surface of the jam will go from a glassy shiny surface to a satiny sheen on the surface, this means you are close to finished. You can test the gel of your jam by putting some of the juice from the pot on to a saucer and sticking it in the fridge, take it out after a couple minutes and if it looks like jelly or jam and you can drag your finger through it and it doesn’t run back together you are finished. Another method is to put a metal spoon into the juice and pull it out and if the mixture slowly sheets off the spoon leaving a thin covering of juice behind, rather than just quickly drizzling off leaving a bare spoon… you are ready.
Total cooking time is about 45-60 minutes depending on the juiciness and types of berries you mix together.
You can put the jam up into jars and use a water bath method to preserve it longer. It keeps well in the fridge or freezer as well.
Berry Picking News Flash
Mountain View Blueberry Farms is open to the public starting today with their Big Blues ripe for the picking. Blue Rays and Concords!
Keep kids with you at all times
Gates open at 8am, do not arrive before 8am – gates close at 5pm
Closed on Mondays – Open Tuesday through Sunday
617 E. Lowell-Larimer Road
Snohomish, WA 98296
(360) 668-3391 for recorded message
Images by Kelly Cline ©2010 All Rights Reserved
All content, text and images are ©2010 All Rights Reserved and may not be used or reposted without express written consent.