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Blackberry jam

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Okay, our blackberry crop is officially spectacular. I'm seriously going to try to make blackberry jam, God help me. In the next couple days I'm going to buy some jam jars and pectin. Anyone have any vital hints or tips I should know about the undertaking before I start?


Writing Stuff

namaah_darling gave me a glowing review of my chapbook Inspirations End/Still My Beating Heart:
"these two vampire short stories are beautifully written and darkly unsettling, each with a twist on accepted conventions that makes them at once familiar and new . . . Beautiful, and recommended."

Squee! Made my day.

New Words: +300, -200
Did a massive rewrite of the first part of the folktale as I realized it was too wordy and taking far too long to get to the action, a luxury I can't afford to indulge in on a 2-3K work. There was much trimming, streamlining, and brainstorming. And also did some just-in-time research.

Club 100 For Writers
30

500/day
62
I'm feeling:
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On July 8th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC), faerie_writer commented:
Yay, for your glowing review! And good luck with your jam. ;)

~Maggie :)
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On July 9th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks, Maggie!
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On July 8th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC), britzkrieg commented:
Anyone have any vital hints or tips I should know about the undertaking before I start?

I have a book that deals with preserving fruits and veggies. Wanna borrow it?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Jar funnel. I shall hope that this item is 1. clearly labeled, 2. widely available, and 3. inexpensive since berry burns do not top my list of jammy fun. Thanks!
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On July 9th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks for the book offer, but I'm intimidated enough by the project. I fear an information overload. I'm availing myself of various Internet resources and already having second thoughts about the undertaking.
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On July 8th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC), harmonyfb commented:
I sterilize my glass jars, lids & bands in the dishwasher, and just keep the dw door shut until I'm ready to start packing the jars. :)

Make sure to have hot soapy water on hand for cleanup. And I usually make some homemade biscuits while I'm waiting for the jam to cool and set. Mmmm.

Have fun!
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On July 9th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Homemade biscuits? That sounds incredibly yummy, but also rather tricky. I have, however, had baking experience, so, gotta recipe?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC), harmonyfb replied:
Uh...I'm the oroduct of country cooks - I don't use a recipe. You just use as much flour as you need, and a spoonful less of shortening than you think you need. Then add milk till its almost too sticky to work, then pat it out and cut your biscuits w/a juice glass.

You probably don't find that a bit helpful.
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On July 9th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"You probably don't find that a bit helpful. "

Um, no. Alas. I think I'll just cross off "bake homemade biscuits" from my fun-things-to-do-while-making-jam list . . .
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On July 8th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC), reudaly commented:
Don't wear something you don't want permanently stained with blackberry juice?
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On July 9th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Good call! Black it is.
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On July 9th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC), reudaly replied:
Glad there's someone else out there who recognizes the "mess" factor. I know I'd end up looking like a character in CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY if *I* tried to make ANYTHING with blackberries...
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On July 8th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC), bpeace commented:
Lessee...

Tip: Wear dark, dark clothes or already ruined ones.
Hint: Send me some when it's finished!!!
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On July 9th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"Hint: Send me some when it's finished!!!"

And risk poisoning you? I think not. Edible chemical experiments are done upon my person until I've established toxicity levels.
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On July 9th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I was thinking about a blackberry pie as an alternative. I have made homemade pies before, but inevitably I'm dissatisfied with them. They typically don't have the kick of pies I can buy, which is depressing as all get out.
On July 9th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC), mtfay replied:
You know...Alton Brown has instructions on making pies on his Good Eats website too:).
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On July 8th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC), aimeempayne commented:
It's good luck to send a jar of jam to Ohio.

;)
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On July 9th, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
I'd be afraid of violating the USPS edict against mailing volatile substances .
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On July 8th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC), stellabambino commented:
I reccomend the Good Eats episode - Urban Preservation I: Jam Session.
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On July 9th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Coolness. Thanks for the link!
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On July 8th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC), mtfay commented:
proper sterilization is most important. Use HOT water for everything but the lids...the water will melt the seal. use 3 drops of Clorox bleach to 1 gallon of water to sterilize the lids. Alton Brown has a section on canning and jam making in his book. He does the Good Eats series.
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On July 9th, 2005 02:27 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Wah! It's getting more complicated. Can't I just sterilize everything in the dishwasher?
On July 9th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC), mtfay replied:
Ummm...not if you are going to keep the jam for more than 3 weeks. Mold will ensue if everything isn't perfectly sterile.
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On July 8th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC), mtfay commented:
Use Starchild's link...It's to the Alton Brown stuff.
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On July 8th, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC), stellabambino replied:
Alton is fantastic.
On July 8th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC), mtfay replied:
My favorite food network star...My motto is Alton is a food god and Bobby Flay can go to hell:).
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On July 8th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC), stellabambino replied:
I really like him because he uses ingredients that I can afford, I mean the man shops at Kroger of all places. Plus the recipes are very easy to follow, and he explaisn why it works the way it does.

Good stuff!
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