See, once a week the boys get to spend the entire afternoon over at my Uncle’s. Why is this so great? Uncle Ralph’s is a place where there are no limits to canned soup, packaged noodles, candy, juice, soda, shopping, ice cream store visits and whatever else comes along. Uncle Ralph also happens to be living in our family stronghold, they moved in to this area in 1946. I grew up in that yard picking plums, oranges, pears, apples, cherries and whatever else we could find. Then we’d march off to the kitchen and Gramma would bake a few pies, preserve some fruit and make pickles rolled up in ham slices.
Time has come and gone, the garden has changed over the years and Gramm is doing such things in a loftier place these days. Even after all this time, with a lot of hard work from Ralph, the yard is producing some amazing goodies this year. One of which would be these fancy blackberries. I showed up to pick up the kidlets and he handed me 8 cups worth. Each one as sweet as the next. Time to make jam.
I’ve never made jam. And since Mama can’t have sugar, this task was even tougher. I don’t know the chemistry of such things, so I had to resort to reading a book, Joy of Cooking.
I washed the berries and put them in a non-reactive pot. Added 2 finely diced apples, cored and peeled. Apparently these berries don’t have much pectin, the stuff that will hold the jam together. Get warm and mooshy. All we had left was about a 1/2 cup of Splenda and off I went. Sorry about the Splenda, sugar isn’t an option. Diabetes ain’t nothing to screw with, not even once.
Here’s the killer, sugar will thicken the jam. Splenda will not. So, I had to just cook it until I thought it was ‘together’, whatever that meant. It probably took me most of an hour and I called it done.
I did not preserve the jam, it’s fresh and we’ll consume it quickly. Since the berries were perfectly sweet, the missed refined sugar really isn’t. I don’t know if the apples did anything, but who cares. The results are absolutely wonderful and I’m very happy with myself. Yipppeeee!