I was beelining to the hold for pick-up shelf at my local library when I passed a display called something akin to “Learn a New Hobby This Summer!” Or maybe it was “Books Designed to Entice Rachel to Stop and Learn a Gazillion New Skills and Improve Others.” Either way, the display title was enough for me to ditch my beeline and spend several minutes flipping through various crafty themed books.
I was charmed when I happened upon Preserving by the Pint in the collection. If you’re not aware, Preserving by the Pint was written by the author of the Food in Jars blog, Marisa McClellan, who is coordinating the mastery challenge I’ve been writing about all year. The perfect homage! I tucked it away under my arm (along with a few other books, cough) for perusing more thoroughly at home. I needed a jam project for the June mastery challenge.
When I was finally ready to peruse the book, I was intrigued by the recipe that was described as “blueberry crack.” Blueberry season was then less than two weeks away, and I was eager for the blueberries to ripen in my garden. I had ambitions of picking my own—just as I had ambitions of picking my own strawberries that became complicated by, well, life. I still have a gazillion jars of jam, jelly, and marmalade, so I didn’t need to make a particularly large batch of anything for June’s jam challenge. I’m also an old hat at jamming; like many people, jam is how I first came to food preservation.
Although my blueberry bushes have been looking wonderful all year, they’re still on the younger side. We’ve gotten small and delicious handfuls every few days. I knew that I wouldn’t have enough for the jam, so I purchased the blueberries from the same farmer who sold me all those blueberry bushes two years ago. Doing so felt right in a full circle kind of way; I’d be surprised if I wouldn’t have enough blueberries from my bushes next year to never need to buy blueberries again, at least during berry season anyway. I mean, we do have ten blueberry bushes and all, most of which are getting quite bushy.
I do have to confess, though, after mashing up those berries, cooking away at the jam, and sampling the concoction: I could probably make a gigantic batch of this jam and eat it on pancakes for the rest of my life. I should’ve bought a gazillion pounds at the farmer’s market. (Maybe I will need to buy berries next year after all!) The jam is delicious and tasty and perfect. I am actually sad that I only got two half-pint jars with an extra bonus quarter-pint yield. Sure, I’m ecstatic by the extra tiny jar, but what was I thinking? Surely I should’ve known myself better than to think I’d be happy with a mere two half-pints, never mind the bonus quarter, of something called “Blueberry Maple Jam” and described as “blueberry crack” that used maple syrup?
Alas, sometimes we know ourselves too late, and you’ve found yourself out of time with your summer graduate class and impending vacation to go blueberry crazy and make those gazillion half-pints of blueberry scrumptiousness to get you through the winter. On the bright side, I know exactly what I’ll be whipping up with my garden-ripe blueberries next June!