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)!
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.