Blackberries inspire ambivalence in most of us who live around them. Their aggressive, spiky, spreading growth requires fortitude and determination to prevent their unwanted invasions into parts of the yard intended for human use.
Every year we don protective clothing, get out the long-handled pruners or gasoline weed whackers, pull on sturdy leather gloves, and go forth valiantly to to tame the long, thick canes which are attempting to establish new footholds many feet away from their mother plants. No matter how carefully we protect ourselves, we know by evening there will be fresh scratches on our arms and legs, but we also know we have to do it. The blackberry bushes will give way, but it will cost us.
On the other hand, at this time of the year in the early fall we feel something akin to affection and gratitude for those same prickly bushes. Sweet luscious blackberries ripen in great clumps, and here on Lummi Island we graze on them as we take our daily walks along the roads. Children have deep purple stains around their mouths and big smiles on their lips as they enjoy the thumb-sized berries in fantastic abundance. It’s Mother Nature’s gift to us to mark the harvest season.
There are always more berries than can be used immediately, so freezing and jam making help preserve the excess. Blackberries have fairly large seeds in them, so a lot of people like to crush and strain the berries before preserving. Personally I don’t really care. I just love the flavor.
This recipe is for refrigerator jam–no canning involved.
- 2 cups fresh blackberries (wild, Lummi Island)
- 2 Tbsp buckwheat honey (Red Barn Lavender, Ferndale)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp water
- Put blackberries in a medium size sauce pan and heat them over medium high heat. Mash them with a potato masher to help release the juices.
- Continue cooking, adding a little water, if necessary, until the juice begins to thicken a little.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add honey and mix until smooth. Add to blackberries.
- Cook until mixture sticks to a spoon without dripping.
- Pour into clean jar, Keeps in the refrigerator for about a month.