Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bionic Raspberry Chronicles II - The Jammening

Note the consistent distribution of seeds
The quest for the world's simplest jam recipe continues, though it may have reached a conclusion here:

1) 6 cups of raspberries* and 3 cups of sugar.
2) Mash 'em up and boil them hard for 5 minutes and soft for 20.
3) Seal them in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

It's a bit sour, tbh. Most raspberry jam recipes - and most berry recipes in general - are more on the order of 1 part berries to 1 part sugar.  But this one boiled up just fine and gelled just fine** and it tastes really freaking good on a fresh Bisquick biscuit.

So now that we have passed proof of concept I'll probably can another 8 or 12 half-pints tomorrow.  Because, yeah it's good. And because man cannot live on apple jelly alone, or so I've read.

* the original recipe calls for 5 cups of "perfectly ripe" raspberries and 2.5 cups of sugar, but whatevs. Canning is a rather forgiving science so long as you don't double or triple the batch.
** Though one of the 4 half pints didn't seal I suspect that's on me and not on the recipe.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bionic raspberry chronicles

Someday, Lad,
all this will be yours...
We always had a raspberry patch when I was a kid.  I remember* it being a 10'x20' area filled with singular, spindly stalks, attached to one side of the 'real' garden, that produced berries that I don't remember ever actually eating. But I must have eaten some of them, for I've always wanted raspberries here.  I just could never grow them.** Until last year.

Over the years I've bought and planted a number of raspberry plants, usually on a whim, and usually within a year or two of tearing out the dead stalks of the last raspberry plants that never produced anything for me.

Two years ago I splurged and purchased four at once, which I planted in a circular raised bed in back.  Three of them promptly died. No surprise there.  But like Swamp Castle, the fourth one stayed up. 

It was just a spindly little thing at first. No fruit, but transplants seldom produce their first year anyway. And I was just glad the pathetic thing survived the summer.  I was sure it would not survive the winter. But it did, and how.  Last year it went crazy, overrunning the whole raised bed, crowding out everything else in it but a couple of ragweeds.  No berries in evidence again, but now that I had a raspberry plant that seemed well-adjusted to the yard I could be patient.

This year it's back, twice as big, and sending suckers everywhere. I've already dug and replanted almost a dozen of them along one fence line that I hate to mow, and they seem to be taking to the place like crazy.  And wow do I have berries.  I picked just over a quart in about 20 minutes this afternoon, and it looks like in a few days I'll have at least another.

Which is all I need to make this really simple raspberry jam I found last week. Given the volume of strawberry-honey I put up last week and the leftover apple, cherry, and blackberry in the pantry, if I can get a case of raspberry half-pints, I might be done with jam for this year before the summer even officially kicks off.

Which reminds me: Five Boy's Mom, if you need some tomato plants, I have a dozen foot-tall plants here that I can give you tomorrow.  I have about 30 planted and have no room for any more. Leave me a note if you're interested.

* This doesn't mean that's actually how it was, only that this is how I remember it.  My mom's memory is sure to differ.
** Thus they joined rhubarb, blueberries, and a few others in the Might-Have-Been club.