Monday, November 13, 2006

Making Blackberry Jam in November

We should have removed the twiggy bits before we froze them berries.

I had spent the summer in India and got back at the end of September, and John had waited for me to go blackberry picking. We hunted the roadsides of the hilly cattley bit of Rochdale (to those of you who know Rochdale only by its football hooligans and scally centered towny bit - there's a beautiful beautiful valley too, just behind John's house) for the tumbling finger snagging deep purple staining bunderberries.

We strained; well, I strained. Little Gabriel, showing impatience typical of his age, wasn't impressed by the quantities we found, and started eating then and there, whatever we did find. John had his new camera growing out of his face, as he clicked and clicked his darlings, one of whom glared at him malevolently and ordered him every ten minutes to lend a hand.

I stooped, I stretched, I winced as the thorns pricked, but I was indefatigable in my short denim dress. Summer was making a last ditch attempt to impress before she burst into her autumn plumage, and the sun kissed and kissed us all afternoon.

Amidst a raging argument over whether the tree i spotted was laden with elderberries or blackcurrants (I was proved wrong after a later google search for distinguishing features)Gabriel climbed up John's shoulders to ravage some high up branches, John pretending to come over all faint from the poison berries that were mimicking blackcurrants.

Some glorious sunlit photographs (of a lot of exposed leg and dark blond boy)and a white plastic bag seeping with shameless violet juices, we returned to the car. Gabriel having gorged himself on the berries, had to expel them in a hurry. John, laughing, Hang on son we'll be home soon, to the much contorted berry-stained face.

Having got back, the furious home-maker despatched the berrybag to the freezer before I could turn around and register what he was doing, in the hippopotamus way I have, and I left it there. The twigs will come off when they come off, I thought.

They finally came out of their unseasonal hibernation as we got jam making yesterday. A bitch getting the frozen twigs off the frozen berries. A bitch trying to convince my darling I knew how to make jam (Yes, they still aren't cooked enough; No, you don't have to stir every five seconds; Yes, that's all the sugar we need; No, absolutely no point standing and watching the pot, as it will take about an hour to be ready; Yes, that is an acceptable ocnsistency; No, you don't have to taste the jam every five minutes, this is not stew). He still checked out five different recipes on the internet. After much chastising him on not sterilising the bottles properly (upended jars previously inhabited by peanut butter, old jam and colour-turned unidentifiable liquid), after washing them again myself to satisfy my pseudo sense of hygiene, we poured, closed and sealed.

And today, I had my first dollop on buttered brown toast. Perfect!

1 comment:

Viralfish said...

Catgirl. Blackberry jam. Short denim dress. Little Gabriel. What am I missing?