The Accidental Blackberry Farmer

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Blackberry Harvest

On the back hillside of our Carlsbad home are a couple of giant philodendrons that have grown to the size of prehistoric monsters.  Four years ago, we noted a tall prickly weed with white flowers that had sprouted tall above the fence and deep within the monster plants. I seem to recall Mike asking one of the boys to cut it down– which never transpired.

Meanwhile the monsters continued to grow and three years ago, I decided to weed around the philodendrons and plant butterfly bushes.  While sitting on the hillside pulling weeds, I caught a glimmer of red in the corner of my nearsighted eyes.  Further inspection revealed lots of stickers and lots of blackberries–some of which had already ripened.

Oh joy!  That May and June blessed us with buckets of berries, which went into smoothies, oatmeal and muffins. As we picked seeds from our purple teeth, the family wondered how we had been gifted with such an unexpected blackberry patch. All agreed that the vines likely came from our composter with seeds transported by birds–or other critters.

It was truly an accidental garden–and one that blesses us/me with berries, scratched arms and seeded teeth each spring.  This afternoon yielded the bowl pictured and I am thinking of making this blackberry freezer jam with kind acknowledgement to Mrs. Warren, who lives somewhere in Georgia and courtesy of this lovely and this very Southern blackberry site.

***Blackberry Freezer Jam***
3-1/4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe blackberries)            You will need clean plastic containers or jelly jars!!
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 box Pectin
1 cup light corn syrup
4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

 DIRECTIONS: MASH blackberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. (Press half of pulp through a sieve to remove seeds, if desired.) Measure exactly 3-1/4 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.  Stir pectin into prepared fruit in bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. After standing 30 minutes, stir in corn syrup. Gradually add sugar, stirring until well blended. Stir an additional 3 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)  Fill all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using. Prep Time: 30 min/Total Time: 24 hr 30 min    Makes: About 7 (1-cup) containers.  (Mrs. Warren, Georgia)

Sometimes, afternoons like this put perspective and grounding into the business of San Diego real estate!

by Roberta MurphyCarlsbad, CA

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