Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Blackberry Hunt

One of the days we decided not to while away at the seaside, Valeria, Sue and I went blackberry picking along the road above the house. Yeah, above. The land slopes almost vertically from the sea up to the house and continues up to the top of Mt. Pelion. Mountain and sea, sea and mountain. Pretty spectacular for this girl from the Great Plains.

Our plan that day was to collect many more blackberries than usual (usual being pick one, eat one, pick one, eat one…) and to make a big batch of blackberry preserves for everybody to take home. Well, among the 3 of us, we ended up with scores of cuts, scrapes and thorny slivers; about 35 mosquito bites; and a big, big bowl of gorgeous, ripe blackberries. Here's Valeria in mid-struggle.
I thought the yield was well worth it, but poor Valeria who is allergic to a lot of things had a giant, swollen thumb after her efforts to extricate a particularly luscious, particularly high-up blackberry cluster (bunch? What DOES one call a group of blackberries?). Music to pick blackberries by: "Gouge Away" by The Pixies. It's a rough song for a rough job.

Here's Sue with the loot!
So once we got back to the house, administered some first-aid and got cleaned up a bit, we started on the jam. First off was weighing the loot. We needed to know the weight to know how much sugar and lemon juice to add to give the preserves the right note. Here’s the scale contraption we found in the basement which did a fine job once we figured out how it worked. The blackberries weighed in at 2 kilos (almost 5 pounds)!

The ingredients:
2 kilos of blackberries
2 kilos of sugar
juice of 2 lemons

The method we followed was the same as the one for fig preserves (see recipe here). When we were done, we had 11 jars of jam! The next morning, we broke out one of the jars and ate all of it (among the 6 of us) with rich Greek Yogurt! Here’s a photo of some of our jam production 2006.


Blogger Paz said...

Blackberry picking? How fun!


1:47 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

I'm drooling so much I can barely type! Mmmmmmmmm, blackberry jam with nice creamy yoghurt, sounds sooo good!

10:15 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

we have loads of wild blackberries on our property in the early summer, but they're usually quite bitter. i had never thought to make jam. duh!

1:30 AM  
Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

very cool....

birds got all mine ( as they did with the figs too)

2:13 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Paz, It is fun! And not limited to the mountains of Greece, either. I remember doing this is rural Illinois one summer as a kid.

Hi Lotus, Oh, Greek yogurt is to die for! I think they make it out of half & half.

Hi Melissa, You should definitely try it, just with maybe more sugar.

Hi I.W.G. Thanks for stopping by! Sorry about your harvest. Do you live in Italy (or import Italian wine)?

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Ellie said...

I am unbelievably jealous of your bowl of black jewels! Homemade fresh blackberry jam sounds like the ideal breakfast spread!

4:48 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

yum! but what happened to the cobbler?

9:34 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Tracie, How goes it in Ischia? You know, I've never made cobbler. Do you know how? It's basically upside-down pie, right?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Orchidea said...

Beautiful!!! I love this period of the year... This is what I miss from not living at home in Italy.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Orchidea, Thanks for visiting. It's true that you find so many similar things in Italy (especially southern) and Greece. I was on a hike above Lake Como yesterday and I found vlita! (subject of the Sept. 2nd post). I had previously thought it was found only in Greece. One face, one race...and one cuisine?

1:43 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

it's soooooo easy. there are cobblers that are more like pies and cobblers that have more of a bready thing baked in. the one i grew up with was more bready. let me know and i can send you the recipe :)

6:58 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Yeah Tracie!, send me the recipe! My e-mail is:

12:01 PM  

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