Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Berries, Old and New


I went berry picking last weekend, something I love to do.  I thought of my grandmothers as I moved through the bushes and vines. I remembered my mom and paternal grandmother picking wild blackberries; the chiggers were awful but grandma was determined! Fortunately, no chiggers here. I recalled summer mornings with my maternal grandmother, making jam in her farmhouse kitchen before the heat of the day crept in.

Gooseberries are an old-fashioned fruit, the plump globes are tart until they ripen a little, but green is when they're best for jam. They're naturally high in pectin so they gel up without any additives. Here's the recipe I used. Gooseberry pie also happens to be one of my step dad's favorite treats. I just wish I were closer to make him one!

The bushes were easy pickin', so heavy with fruit that I brought home far more than I'll need.  Thankfully, they freeze well.
At the same farm, I was introduced to tayberries, a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. They're a relatively "new" fruit, developed in 1979 in Scotland and named after the River Tay. This berry manages to have properties of both fruits, yet be its own thing.  I've been eating them out of hand all week and also made a batch of jam. They're delicious!

The gooseberry jam turns this pretty soft pink color, and the tayberry jam a deep purple-red. I'm grateful to live near berry farms, Oregon being one of the country's biggest producers, and I love traditions like this that keep family alive in my heart.


Teafan said...

Love the color of those jams! Never heard of tayberries, but now I'll be on the lookout! Can I find them in the grocery store?

Marilyn Miller said...

This time of year is a total delight for fresh berries and jam. When I started Marmalady's it was suggested that I do a Tayberry jam, but I didn't get around to it. Now I would love to make some.

Marilyn Miller said...

Oh I thought I left a comment on this post. Your jams look wonderful. I was introduced to tayberries when I started making Marmalady's jams. The factory had recommended them, but I hadn't done anything with them and had never tasted them. Kind of wished I had done something with them.

Nora @ Teacup Tales said...

I just tasted tayberries for the first time last weekend at Tea's Me. Great berry for a jam. I love to go fruit picking. Our berries are limited to strawberries and ollaberries on the coast.