Sunday, August 5, 2012

harvest 2012: blackberry jam

it's a classic; you can't go wrong! I like to make mine a little tart - with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, not too much sugar, and just a tiny touch of cinnamon to bring out the warmth of their sun-ripened flavour - so that it can just as easily be added to a plain coffeecake batter or roasted over chicken as it can be spread on toast. Come December, it'll be a cheery taste of what was the quintessential flavour of summer throughout my childhood and teen years. Even as I picked these with Cass on a warm Sunday evening (and the season is just getting started, really), a sudden alchemical balance of warmth, moisture and heat caused the air to fill with the smell of ripening blackberries - just here and there, just a moment and then gone ... but it was enough to open the floodgates of memory. I remembered that faint creosote-smell that tangs the early morning air when the day is going to be hot, getting up early so I wouldn't miss the sunrise and the cool freshness of morning, the giant tree that stood in our neighbours' yard across the street and filled my summer evenings (many still light out when I went to bed) with golden rushing and tossing in the wind as it captured the last of the day's light.

Ah, summer. You are the magic fairyland where childhood lives forever.

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