Wednesday, July 6, 2011

again with the foraging and the canning

I think most people just eat salmonberries on the trail. I'd been discouraged from making them into tarts or jam, but I'm really glad I didn't listen. I made this jam with about a pint of berries (most of them still golden - unripe - to be honest) left over after the tart. Maybe 3 cups, max. There was a little water in the pan from when I rinsed the berries. I added a half cup of sugar, and about half a packet of sure-jell light pectin. I brought it to a boil and then reduced it to low for another 10 minutes or so, while I got the jar lids heated up in simmering water.

I popped it into jars and processed for 10 minutes in the boiling water method. Easy as pie.

And the results are totally worth it: this jam tastes like the perfect tart-cherry jam, with just a pinch of cloves. Now I'm sad that I didn't have more berries. I think we need to go back to the park one night this week and get some more, because I have a feeling I'm going to want to eat these jars myself and I really want to be able to send these out to friends and family at Christmas! I am planning to send mostly wildforaged gifts this year: I want to do salal jam, rosehip jam, salmonberry jam (fingers crossed), maybe even thimbleberry jam, if I can managed it, and we have been collecting tree bark for a very special tea.

There's just something about giving gifts from the woods. I feel a little silly, because it's so trendy these days: hipsters with wood ties and everyone serving cheese on slices of wood, bark still attached, but I can't help it. I've lived in the NW almost all of my life, and I've always loved the woods. I joke about it, but I really would love to live in a cottage in the woods, have a river-rock fireplace, and basically grow up to be Juniper in Monica Furlong's Wise Child. Did you ever read that book as a kid, or the prequel or sequel? I confess, I loved Juniper even more, for all the details about Angharad's house, the weaving, etc.

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