The windows of our Newfoundland vacation rental home have been steamed up pretty much every night lately. Yep, you guessed it, The Man With Whom I Keep Company and I have been making jam. This is our first attempt at jam making, and it has been highly successful. After a couple of tries that produced “sauce”, we landed on a formula that has produced beautiful, tasty, healthful blueberry jam. That’s not to say that the sauce isn’t pretty amazing too.
The Man With Whom I Keep Company caught Blueberry Madness soon after we arrived in Newfoundland, and has been picking buckets of blueberries from our property at Bacon Cove. It is an obsession that I have encouraged. Newfoundland’s acidic soil creates blueberry-growing heaven. You can sit in one spot and fill a bucket without having to do much more than turn around. There is a Newfoundland saying about blueberry picking: “Don’t pick the red ones – they’re green”.
Newfoundland blueberries hug the ground, so picking them can be a bit of a back-breaker. But if you get tired, you can just have a rest and take in the ocean views and fresh salt air.
We’ve had big bowls of blueberries in the fridge at all times and have eaten them fresh every day on cereal and ice cream, in yogurt, salads, sauces, muffins, pancakes, crumbles, you name it. I’m afraid that we may have developed an expensive habit that we will not be able to support when we get back to Edmonton, but we’ve been reveling in the free berries in Newfoundland while we have them.
We have also picked some partridge berries, but they are harder to find and tend to hide under club mosses and junipers. They are known elsewhere as lingonberries. They are a more tart tasting berry and are not so good raw, but make great jam.
While we’re at it, we’ve been picking a few rose hips too, and making tea out of those. The ones pictured below are pretty close in size to Alberta rose hips, but we have seen some that are as big as grapes. Earlier, the rose bushes were all heavy with rose blooms. Roses seem to love the salt air here too.
Unfortunately, we cannot haul fresh blueberries back with us, so jam seemed to be one way to bring home some of that goodness, anyway. The Man With Whom I Keep Company has been primarily involved in the Harvesting and Production Departments of our jam making enterprise. The house that we are staying at didn’t have any pots big enough for what we needed, so we borrowed some from friendly neighbors.
I have been primarily involved in the Quality Control Department: removing stems, leaves and insects from the berries (The Man With Whom I Keep Company advocates the catch-and-release program for live bugs, but I favour the down-the-drain program) and I also comprise the Design Department: high-art hand-made labels.
M&M Jams – a satisfying and yummy cottage industry.
Posted by Truly Scrumptious