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Tuesday, July 13, 2010



"Raspberry, Jazzberry, Razzmatazzberry, Berryband, Merryband, Jamming in Berryland."  - Bruce Degen, Jamberry

After my initial foray into jamming season, I couldn't keep my berries out of the pot.  They just jumped in.

Last weekend was one of those quiet, slow weekends.  No place to go.  Nothing on the calendar.  It was the perfect weekend to fill my water bath with boiling water and dig out last year's frozen berries.

Because Chad told me that he was putting the kibosh on future fruit forays until I finished off what was in the freezer.

Spoil sport.

Out came blackberries and raspberries.  Out came grape juice.  Remember the grape juice?  Picked from a wandering vine and steamed to juice on a hot summer day?  When Elizabeth was a tiny baby who slept more than she was awake?   Out came that juice.  A glass for me, a glass for Elizabeth, a glass for Joseph and still enough for the pot.

I boiled and bubbled and poured and bathed.  I filled jar after jar with sweetness.  Sparkling on the counter, they called for me to bake some bread, to get a spoon, to enjoy every smooth and luscious bite.

Then I looked in my fridge.  Taking up more room than it should was a fat watermelon.  Green and roly, it looked at me.  I looked at it.  I put my finger to my lip and said, "Wouldn't you look fabulous as a jelly?"

I pulled out my handy dandy recipe book and made zesty watermelon jelly.  It tasted...not good.  It tasted of vinegar and lemon, not the sweetness I was craving.

So I googled a recipe and came up with sweet watermelon jelly.  So smooth and delicate.  Then, standing there, a witness to the massacre of a watermelon, I had another thought...can't you pickle watermelon rinds?

Back to my book and a recipe for cinnamon pickled watermelon rinds that turned what would normally have gone into my compost into soft, tangy-sweet pieces of deliciousness. 

And now, sitting on my counter is row after row of jam and rind.  Each one waiting to be put in a cupboard and pulled out this winter when I need a taste of summer.

"Under the bridge
And over the dam
Looking for berries
Berries for jam."

Mandy Dawson is a wife and mother of two living on the Central Coast of California.  While not daring berries and fruit to jump in her canning pot, can be found blogging about life, children, gardening and other assorted topics at http://inmandyland.blogspot.

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