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!?!
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!
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.
Fermenting is completely new to me. There is much fun to be had trying new things.
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 17 September 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Dew point: 20.5°C
Wind: S 22 km/h
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.”
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.
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!
Wendy, SOOOO glad you are safe and sound! Still, I imagine you are getting some bad weather.
Pickle pebbles are glass disks that weigh down the solid fruit in a fermenting mason jar.
I put one in the 1 1/2 litre jar for the apple cider vinegar, and it sank down sideways! lol, they are meant more for solid fruit pieces, rather than the mash I am using. I did get the one for the blackberry vinegar to work as it should after some tweaking, that was in a 1 litre wide mouth mason jar, works a lot better.
Thanks Teri, the kitchen is just one big chemistry and physics lab, focus on oral delight.
I hope the forecast you saw is accurate, uncle! I’ve had enough of 30C humidex, it has been all summer! Autumn soon though, so the weather will be turning with the season if they are right.
Diane, thanks and exactly, a little freezer burn never hurt anyone… and it didn’t affect the quality of the syrup, Attila was amazed at how good it is! I really enjoy using everything to its maximum potential, whenever possible.