Advertisements
Home

“Doin’ The Dew”….Wild Dewberry Jam

10 Comments

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.

The mashed of dewberries coming up to a boil.

The mashed of dewberries coming up to a boil.

Filling the hot sterilized jars with the yummy mix!

Filling the hot sterilized jars with the yummy mix!

Tools of jam making.

Tools of jam making.

The idle food mill - sorry Hun - you will have to live with the extra seeds.

The idle food mill – sorry Hun – you will have to live with the extra seeds.

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!

The Pantry - Lots of Strawberry, Lemon Curd and Dewberry. Also a dab of 2013 leftovers, Pomegranate Jelly, Chipotle Peach jam, a blended jam - Blackberry/Dewberry/Strawberry and some Serrano Pepper Jelly.

The Pantry – Lots of Strawberry, Lemon Curd and Dewberry. Also a dab of 2013 leftovers, Pomegranate Jelly, Chipotle Peach jam, a blended jam – Blackberry/Dewberry/Strawberry and some Serrano Pepper Jelly.

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.

TTFN

Bishop

 

Advertisements

Strawberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Dewberries and More Strawberries

4 Comments

This has been a banner year in my strawberry patch and it appears to be heading in the right direction for all of my berries. I have made three batches of strawberry jam, have 2/3 of a bag of the frozen ugly berries (I freeze the ugly berries and try to share the pretty ones with my family), snack on them while puttering in the garden and still have some to give away. The very warm and humid Houston growing environment is a real challenge. The moist air and damp ground will rot a berry quickly. One of my regular tasks and one that my wife is good at helping with is to flip the berry up onto the plant leaves keeping them off the ground!

My composting worms are being spoiled with the wonderful spoils. All of the bad berries, berry parts trimmed off the ugly berries and those that went beyond ripe go to the worm bin. If you didn’t already know, worms eat their body weight in scraps every day. What a life, eating your body weight in super sweet, soft and juicy strawberries every single day. This has been going on for a month now and will probably extend for another month. I hope they don’t revolt when their diet changes!

The strawberry plants are so thick that they hide the ripening berries unless you are vigilant at combing through the leaves to find them before the bugs and rot set in! I really love how the plants fill in over time and make a beautiful and edible border to the yard. I did not keep good records on which variety is planted where….over time they run together on their own. I have Chandler which is well suited for the south, Seascape, Sweet Charlie and Sequoia….. Added Alpine Strawberries and the Pine berry, the white colored strawberry….

I have “ June Bearing” and” Everbearing”….I don’t think I have any Day-Neutral  varieties…..yes I do Seascape! The link below is one of the better strawberry info websites I have found for US growers.

http://strawberryplants.org/2010/05/strawberry-varieties/

Which berries will develop next? Two years ago I saved some wild Dewberries I found in the woods nearby. I planted them in a big pot hoping for the best. Last year the birds robbed the few berries that tried to ripen. This year, for whatever reason, the vines are loaded with blossoms! Finger crossed and I rubbed my lucky rabbit’s foot in hopes of enough dewberries for more than just a garden snack.

Next I should be able to enjoy my Blackberries. I have thornless and thorny blackberries……I said thorny! They are beginning to bud out and a few brave blossoms are popping open. Last year was a disappointing blackberry season, both for me and for the local growers. I will double down on the good luck charms hoping for the Dewberry harvest to mirror the blackberry harvest.

I am hoping for a berry, berry good spring and early summer in the berry patch. FYI, April 2nd and I munched on my first asparagus spear of the season. They are so sweet picking straight from the garden…..do not pass go, just straight into my mouth! Yum!

Gardening gift from my wife.....I am always in the learning mode!

Gardening gift from my wife…..I am always in the learning mode!

Immature Strawberry

Immature Strawberry

I smell jam cooking!!!

I smell jam cooking!!!

Blackberry blossom.....

Blackberry blossom…..

Alpine Strawberry

Alpine Strawberry

Garden Helper - shifting between the brown to green phase.

Garden Helper – shifting between the brown to green phase.

Dewberry Blossom

Dewberry Blossom

He was so hard to spot....I first spotted him jumping from branch to branch.

He was so hard to spot….I first spotted him jumping from branch to branch.

TTFN

Bishop

%d bloggers like this: