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Monday, March 29, 2010

A to Z Monday ~ All About Food ~ The Letter J

JAM.
Not just any jam. Huckleberry Jam. Made by my dear friend Ilse and me! I either picked the berries myself in Idaho or bought them there (highest price $45 a gallon.) from 2004 through 2007. In 2006 Ilse had surgery on her hand and wrist so I did all the grunt work and she barked orders at me. No kidding. She's a real task master when it comes to making jam!! Everything is done to a T: From setting out the pure white clothes used to set the filled jars on, and for wiping the threads before putting on the lids to popping all the air bubbles on each filled jar with a tooth pick. And heaven forbid I not stir the bubbling pot fast enough. She told me I was "stirring like I was playing with it...Speed it up girl!!" I love that lady.

Ilse's getting a bit older and has pain in her legs so we haven't made any jam together the past few years. I made blackberry freezer jam in 2008. It was quite simple and surprisingly tasty, but nothing like Huck Jam. And in 2009 Patrick and I tackled Ilse's Huck Jam recipe together. We set everything up just the way Ilse taught me and it turned out great. You really need 2 people to make this kind of jam if you want it to be perfect. This year Patrick and I will make more Huck jam together. This stuff stays good for a very long time since we give it a boiling water bath, so I have saved a jar from each year...Kind of like a fine wine collection, to be broken out at the appropriate time. he he. Here's our recipe:

Ilse's Huck Jam

6 c. crushed huckleberries

1 package (2oz.) powdered pectin

8 c. sugar

Prepare 9 - 1/2 pint sized canning jars by washing in dish washer. It is important that these jars still be HOT when it is time to fill them, so timing is essential. Wash & drain berries. Put through food processor or whirl in a blender until berries are crushed. (NOT pulverized as it's nice to have a little thickness due to bits of berry!) Measure 6 cups of fruit into large (6 qt.) pot. Stir in the pectin and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Add the 8 cups of sugar and continue to stir bringing mixture to a full, rolling boil. Let the fruit boil exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. (We like to eat the foam plain after it cools off.) Pour the jam into clean, warm jars to about 1/4 inch below rim. Pop as many air bubbles on the top of the filled jar as you can and wipe the rims with a clean cloth before sealing lids on tightly. We use rubber jar holders for turning lids tight. Place jars upside down on clean towel for 10 minutes. In the meantime follow the instructions for your canning pot so your water is boiling by the time the filled jars have rested 10 minutes. Set jars in boiling water bath so all are covered with water and then cover with pot lid. Let boil for 20 minutes. Remove jars. Gently wipe dry. Tighten lids again then set on clean towels covering your counter top. Now just sit back and listen for the gentle "plink" that each jar will make as it cools and it becomes vacuum sealed. What a lovely sound!

This recipe can be used with Blueberries, but if you do, be sure to add a squirt of lemon to the fruit or it will be too sweetsy. To clarify the difference between a true Huckleberry and a Blueberry here is what Answers.com has to say:

Huckleberry: A wild, blue-black berry that closely resembles (and is often mistaken for) the blueberry. The huckleberry, however, has 10 small, hard seeds in the center, whereas the blueberry has many seeds, so tiny and soft that they're barely noticeable. Additionally, the huckleberry has a thicker skin and a flavor that is slightly less sweet and more astringent. Unless you pick them yourself, or have a friend who does, it's unlikely that you'll find fresh huckleberries because they're not cultivated. They're in season from June through August and are good eaten plain or in baked goods such as muffins or pies.

Jen has a list of other A to Z bloggers over at her blog, Unglazed. Go visit her. She won't bite, unless you look like food!! Have a great A to Z Monday. Blessings on all who pass this way.

love, Cassie

13 comments:

Vicki said...

Haven't been by for awhile...need to do some catch up time. This sounds yummy! And special to you..
I didn't know someone else did an alphabet thing..I just do Jenny Matlocks Alphabethursday. Notice it's Jen and Jenny (o:

You have a great Monday and I'll make sure I'm here more often..

Mildred said...

I think this sounds so flavorful! I've never made jam but watched my grandma make it when I was young. Have a great Monday Cassie.

Dorothy said...

Cassie, this sounds so good! I used to make a lot of jelly but never any jam. Happy Monday!

Rev. Paul said...

That sounds good!

The Japanese Redneck said...

It is rewarding to make your own. $45 for a gallon. Wow!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I have never made jam myself...I do hope Ilese knows you are keeping up the tradition!

Daisy said...

What a great post, Cassie! My mom used to make homemade jam too. I remember the rows of jars sitting on the counter and hearing the lids go "ping" as they sealed. Her homemade raspberry was my favorite. Happy Monday to you! :)

Grandma J said...

I don't think I've ever had a Huckleberry. I always thought it was just a governor.

Great post!

Jen said...

Happy Monday Cassie!
My mom use to make jam--
That is one thing her daughter never carried on in tradition.
Enjoy!

Ben said...

I am a big fan of homemade jam - never had huckleberry before though. Sounds scrumptious!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Cassie, I don't think I have ever had Huckleberries.... They sound SO good, especially if they are better than Blackberries.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

GiftRep Sandy said...

Great recipe. More Huckleberry recipes at http://www.wildhuckleberry.com

Margaret said...

I've had gooseberries, but never huckleberries. Your jam sounds yummy, though, and I bet it's good on an English muffin. Good post.