In the woods around Kingwood…..my home location – the wild dewberries have been ripening up. We had a good spring…plenty of rain and the crop is massive. There is a good patch of low growing dewberries at East End Park….a nice, well used area with miles of walking and biking gravel trails…. lots of berry pickers! http://www.eastendpark.com/about.html
I will share two locations and keep a few others secret. As I mentioned above, East End Park has a nice low growing patch in the open area to the right as you go through the barriers at the entrance. The other location….and I really like this one because many of the berries grow in an upright manner….helps the “old Man” save his back while picking. This other location is in River Grove Park across the walking bridge to the soccer fields and then a short walk over to the East edge of the fields. Based on what I saw yesterday, next weekend will be an outstanding weekend for berry pickers.
I brought home enough from two separate expeditions to cook up a batch of dewberry jam today. In fact, I had a little too much for one batch and the freezer holds the start of the next batch. I always make the low sugar version of jams, strawberry, blackberry and dewberry. I use 1/3 less sugar than the regular homemade jams.
I started with 6 ½ cups of mashed up dewberries …. The recipe called for 5 but I used about 5 ½ cups of berries, bagged a cup for the future and went to work. My “go to” pectin is Sure Jell Light. I do try to follow the recipe sheet and measure everything!!!!! I fudge just a little but try to stay within reason with my deviations from the recipe.
I am having a banner year for jams and other canning goodies so far. I made a double batch of lemon curd from my homegrown Meyer Lemons. Horribly rich so I just use a little dab when I indulge. I have about 18 half pint jars of my homegrown strawberry jam and now 8 half pint jars of Dewberry Jam. The pantry is looking good!
I sometimes debate whether I should run the mashed berries through the food mill to remove a bunch of the seeds….about half….the seeds don’t bother me so I skipped that messy step. As the mix comes to a boil the aroma is so good….once the sugar is added and the color deepens the aroma now becomes a little sweeter.