Friday, August 5, 2016

Mulberry Jam

     There is great debate around here as to the standing of the mulberry tree. Many see it as a weed. And you know what?  They're totally right. Left unchecked, you can watch mulberries inexorably take over your yard. We have the damned things poking out from about every bush in our yard. They even grow out of rocks. Not even joking. They're next to impossible to kill once they get established. Then, there's the fruiting mulberries. These aren't so bad. I mean, ok, they're bad. They're just as invasive and if the birds get to the berries before you do, everything in the area is covered in purple shit. So I think what we can take away from this discussion is that mulberries are the worst thing ever. That's why I collect like ten pounds of berries each season. As awful as the trees may be, the berries are actually pretty good. They have a nice color and a mild sweetness. I decided to make them into jam this year. I'm going to come out and admit I think I did something wrong. I'm thinking I used either too much sugar, too much pectin, or possibly both. This stuff is thick.
Also useful for caulking doors and windows,
if you don't mind the ants.

As far as jam (jelly? conserve? I can't tell that shit apart) goes, it's quite tasty, but a little tough to work with. It helps to warm it up a bit before you use it. It's great on a bagel with a schmear of cream cheese, or even over some vanilla ice cream. Give it a try and mess around with the pectin and sugar and let me know what you come up with. As always, notes are in blue.

Mulberry Jam
(yields: 7 half pint jars)

  • 4 cups mulberries
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 box (1.75 ounce) powdered pectin

  1. Run fruit through a food mill. 
  2. Take the milled fruit and resulting juice into a stainless steel pot
  3. Add pectin, stir and bring to a rolling boil on high heat
  4. Add the sugar. Bring back to a rolling boil and boil EXACTLY one minute (this is straight off the Sure-Jel instructions and they are not kidding. I've screwed this up and ended with quarts of cinnamon-apple syrup. Not with this recipe, mind you. We're using mulberries here. If we started with mulberries and ended with cinnamon-apple, we'd be dealing with some sort of alchemy.) 
    Wrong alchemy
  5. Watch in horror as the entire mixture foams up over the top of the pot and makes a huge fucking mess of the stove top (alternatively, stir constantly and be ready to adjust the heat to prevent foaming)
  6. Get the pot off the heat and start getting it into half pint jars. This stuff will start setting fairly quick. 
  7. Seal the lids and process in a boiling water bath for five minutes (as always, check with the National Center for Home Food Preparation to ensure you're not accidentally poisoning anyone)
  8. After five minutes, remove jars to a wire rack and wait for the satisfying "thunk" that means they're sealed. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year or until you're too afraid to open it.
  9. Reflect on how "Mulberry Jam" would be an awesome name for a funk band.
Good Times

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