Making Raspberry Jam

Last year was the first year that we were able to harvest any of our raspberries. We were pleasantly surprised at how many we were able to gather. Many we ate right there on the spot. Wow, they were delicious right off the vine! So, of course we had to make raspberry jam too.

Fresh raspberries do not keep very long so once they started trickling in we froze what we did not eat right away. Once we had enough we planned to make raspberry jam, but things never seem to go as planned. So we just got around to making raspberry jam. Freezing is so convenient if your berries are coming in small batches or if you just do not have time to use them. We pulled the frozen raspberries out of the freezer and ran the bags under some cold water to thaw. They thaw rather quickly.
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How to Make Crab Apple Jelly

Jon and I are on vacation from work this week and decided to try our hand once again at making crab apple jelly. Last year was our first attempt at any jelly and it was a fail. Then we made it in November so we were worried that the crab apples were too far gone on the tree this year. There were more overly brown and rotten crab apples than in November, but still the tree was loaded down and Jon was able to pick about 1.5 gallons of crab apples from our ornamental crab apple tree.

There are tons of varieties of crab apples. Most people do not use the ornamental crab apples because they are so small and tedious to use, but they are perfectly edible and since we had them we thought we would put them to use.
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Making Blackberry Jam

We were pleasantly surprised this year by the size and amount of blackberries we picked from our 2 blackberry canes that we planted last year. I made a couple of blackberry cobblers with some of the harvest. We picked the rest as they came in a little at a time and put them in the freezer. We also picked a few wild blackberries from our rural property and froze them. The blackberries from our thornless canes are substantially larger than the wild blackberries, but we are thankful for them all. It is ok to pick a few of your berries a little early before they have completely ripened (with just a touch of red in them) if you intend to use them for jam. The tart red blackberries have more pectin and will aid in the jam setting up. Still the majority of our berries were fully ripe when picked. All total I believe we froze about 4 gallons of blackberries.
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Crab Apple Jelly – Take 1

Wednesday I decided I was going to try my hand at making crab apple jelly. This recipe, Mary Wynnes Crabapple Jelly, looked simple enough. Surely, I could do this. Jon decided to help me after I got home from work that evening.
We had our son pick a 3 gallon bucket of crab apples before I got home. Jon had the day off and got started on the process of removing the stems before I arrived. Now, he understands what I meant by tedious.  When I arrived home there he was in the kitchen still removing stems.
Crab Apples
Crab Apples and Their Stubborn Stems!

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