Whoa Nellie!

After the brief relief of some cool weather last week, the heat and humidity have returned. September 15th and still the almost unbroken heat of summer is with us. Luckily I am comfortable indoors, but it does curtail my outdoor activities, and has all summer long.

What to do with the vintage blackberries Attila brought up from the freezer!?!

1 !/2 jars of Blackberry Syrup, and one jar of future Blackberry Vinegar.
1 !/2 jars of Blackberry Syrup, and one jar of future Blackberry Vinegar.

The basement is now an ongoing project, as Attila has begun to move materials out of the basement and into the garage. Yesterday Attila was getting something out of the freezer and bumped into five small containers of wild blackberries. We picked them when we were living at the country house, just down the country road from our property. They are at least four years old, but I think they are probably older than that. I became aware of them when Attila said in passing that he was throwing out some old blackberries from the freezer. To Attila they were ewwww!

Whoa Nellie!

I don’t think so! I requested that he bring them up to the kitchen so that I could have a look at them. A bit of freezer burn, a bit of ice accumulation from the move from the country house to Mist Cottage, but otherwise sound.

Last night, about an hour before bed time, I got started on the great blackberry project. I emptied the blackberries into a large saucepan, removed as much of the accumulated ice as possible, and put them on a low heat to come to a gentle boil. They were boiled for 15 minutes, then mashed with a potato masher. Next, a cotton rag (gross, this was a portion of an old pair of cotton underpants that has worn out, was cut into pieces, used many times and washed many times, very clean now) was placed in the large sieve, placed on a 4 cup measuring cup, and the straining process began. I helped it along by pressing with a metal spoon from time to time, and stirring it. Overnight a plate was placed over the mash in the sieve, and a weight put on it (a full jar of peanut butter).

This morning, a wide mouth mason jar, and two saved commercial jars were sterilized in boiling water. The metal spoon was used to transfer the mash to the mason jar. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar was added to the mash, then filtered water to cover the mash. I stirred it all together, let it settle a bit, and dropped in the new pickle pebble. The pickle pebble sank a bit into the mash, so I gently added bits of water until it was all was covered by water. A coffee filter was put over the top of the jar, and a canning ring screwed down over it to hold it in place. A label was applied noting the contents and date of creation. This will sit for two weeks, then be strained again (mash to the composter), and left to make vinegar… at least that is the plan, no recipe, so results may not be according to plan.

The juice that had been strained from the berries was placed in a large pot, there was just over a cup of juice. A cup of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice were added to the juice, it was simmered for five minutes, poured into the waiting sterilized jars, the lids were applied, and there were a jar and half of Blackberry Syrup.

When the jars of Blackberry Syrup cooled, they were labelled and will be stored in the refrigerator for immediate use.

What fun!

Fermenting is completely new to me. There is much fun to be had trying new things.

Plate of ripe tomatoes, four varieities.
The garden is still giving us lots of Scarlet Runner Beans and Tomatoes! Shown here are Pink Girl, large and round, San Marino (long), Health Kick (one, five o’clock), and Amish Paste (small).



Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 17 September 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.3°C
Dew point: 20.5°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: S 22 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km


“The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous.”
Anna Quindlen
1953 –

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Okay, I can see I’m going to need more explanation about “pickle pebble” than a quick Google search reveals–where what I’m finding is selling the parts to people who already know how to use them. The stuff I learn about here!

(posting from the part of NC that people evacuate to–we were so fortunate)


Good luck with your experiments!

The forecast here says by Saturday we should go down to seasonal temps. We’ll see if that happens.

Still the Lucky Few

I love your approach to food—never let anything so to waste! I would have saved the blackberries too. A little freezer burn can’t destroy the goodness in them!