There are no more pick days this summer.  Thank you to everyone who came out to pick berries in our new, old-fashioned way.  “Old-fashioned” in the sense that you manually picked into a bucket that you carried and “new” in the sense that these are thornless varieties and are easily accessible on level terraces.  We enjoyed meeting everyone and hope you put us on your summer “to-do” list for next year.  Berry season starts right about the time school lets out for summer vacation.

Blackberry JellyJelly from Frozen Fruit?

Did you know that you can make jelly from frozen fruit?  You can, and it turns out great if you have frozen your berries with care.  Freezing them in good heavy bags, with little to no air is best. I don’t own a vacuum-sealer that removes the air and seals the food like shrink-wrap.  Good heavy freezer bags work fine for me.  I remove a lot of the air with a straw while zipping it shut.  If you want to be able to measure out your individual berries you need to freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet first.  Then put them into bags.  Cobblers, ice cream and numerous other tasty things can be made from frozen berries including jelly and toppings.  To make jelly, once your berries thaw, keep the juice, don’t drain them.  Jelly seems to work best with a small amount of under-ripe berries mixed in with the ripe ones.  These under-ripe berries help the jelly to gel better and also increase the fruitiness since they are tart even after freezing.  Using frozen fruit gives you the convenience of making jelly when you want and allows you to make mixed fruit jellies with things that don’t ripen at the same time.  I always wondered how they made things like blueberry/pomegranate jelly.

New RoofThe Roof Project

You may recall that at the very beginning of berry season, our barn roof needed replaced. See this older post. It was quite an inconvenience but a necessary one since the old one leaked through all the patches and it rained quite often at that time.  Now that the roof is finished, it hasn’t rained significantly for a month. That roof was a huge project that required a lot of work and had a large learning curve.  It’s success was overshadowed by the berry picking, but it was a job well done.  Thank you to friends, neighbors, and family members who helped – it is beautiful, and we couldn’t do it without you.

What’s Next?

We will be pruning the blackberries in a few weeks.  Until then, we need to catch up on things that got pushed back like harvesting garlic, repairing water lines, fixing our driveway, turning compost… and on and on.