In a Jam

Some days, I amaze myself, how slow I am.

We have four berry bushes – one gooseberry, one red currant, one high-bush cranberry and one chokecherry. None produces enough berries to make single-source jam so I have taken to throwing all the berries into the pot and making what I call “Many Berry Jam.”

Which is what I did Sunday morning.

Chokecherries are about 90% stone, 10% pulp, so I cooked them separately, squished them through a sieve to remove the seeds, and added the resulting juice and pulp to the other berries. My husband watched as I threw all the berries into the pot. “Aren’t you going to cook the cranberries separately? They have seeds, too.”

Being the all-knowing (at least, in my mind) maker of jams, I said, “No, they’re small seeds. You’ll never notice them.”

Guess what? Hubby was right (oh, I hate to admit that). Flat, oval and definitely inedible seeds began appearing in the mash. I started spooning them out. More appeared. Then more. Then still more. The pile of discarded seeds grew. Egad, is there no end?

I realized, to my horror and dismay, that there would be no end as long as there were still cranberries splitting open and spilling out their seeds. Now what to do? I’d been spooning out seeds for an hour; how many more hours would I have to do this?

The light bulb of inspiration flashed on. Why don’t I get out the food mill and run the mash through it. That will take out the seeds. Duh! Why didn’t I think of this at the beginning? (Of course, some of you may be asking, “Why didn’t you listen to your husband before?” Well, chalk that up to my contrary Hanna personality, or my equally contrary Libran personality – if there’s anything a Libran hates more than having to decide what to do, it’s having someone tell her what to do. But I digress.)

As I said, some days, I amaze myself, how slow I am.

Four half-pint jars of Many Berry Jam, sans seeds, now sit proudly on the shelf in our cold room.

And next year, I’ll cook the cranberries separately.

#JamMaking #FallPreserves #CookingFauxPas #LearningTheHardWay #HighBushCranberries #Chokecherries #MargaretGHanna