Last year I bought one of those little blackberry bushes (really a stick) that we can find outside our grocery stores. I usually have pretty good luck buying plants from the grocery store. Seems funny, but whatever. So last year it actually bore fruit. It was great! However, this year, the dang thing has exploded! There are branches coming out everywhere. It had pretty pink berries all over it. My friends at work said that I’d probably lose all the fruit to birds. Perhaps I should put netting over it. Being a procrastinator, I did nothing. One morning I looked out and the blackberry bush seemed to be really wilting. I was worried. Then I realized that the blackberries were ripening. The fruit was actually weighing down the branches.
Now I need recipes to make with all this tonnage of blackberries! I made ordinary blackberry preserves. I thought my husband was going to cry when I burned the first batch. I don’t know why the recipe said to cook it for so long, but such is life. I also made a dessert with cream cheese and puff pastry, but it did not turn out well. Back to preserves. This one is from the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission.
- 10-11 cups blackberries
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup orange juice
7 cups sugar
grated peel of one orange
Place berries in a large pot and gently mash. Heat over warm heat to extract juices. Add ginger and orange juice and continue to warm over low heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in the orange peel. Let boil 10-20 minutes until the mixture reaches 220°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
Ladle into clean, hot, sterilized jars, and process for 10 minutes using the water bath method.
Makes 5 half-pint jars.