As I mentioned on my Google+ thingy, we went blueberry picking today and this time there was no unseemly delay between picking and putting up. It helped that we had Bridget and her children over to learn how to make jam; we could hardly make them wait! It was also a great day for it, with a nice breeze to blow away the steam and cool down the youngsters playing outside. Yes, all but one of the kids failed to express any interest in the preserving; if I was more like the little red hen I wouldn't let them eat any either!
Naturally, making jam was much more fun in company. True, I did distract myself with my instructions and make two mistakes in my own batch of jam, but that's why I left the students with a pot to look after themselves! Do as I say, I suppose. I think it came out fine regardless. Our kitchen is a little small for much communal food preparation, making me wish for a set-up something like the one we visited in Sandwich, but friends don't mind close quarters.
Bridget, being a good natural sweeteners sort of hippy, was a little taken aback to hear that our recipe (from Food in Jars) uses as much white sugar as it does blueberries. Hey, at least it wasn't the well-over-half-sugar strawberry jam! In my role as wise teacher I explained that the sugar both helps the jam to set without excessive cooking and also acts as a preservative. I hope that's all true!
Since we had the canning kettle going, I also did a batch of relish. Since, in order to cook it today, I had to grate and mix all the vegetables yesterday, I feel like I should be congratulated for my forethought and drive. Sure, I was working late into the night and so was not at all happy when the rest of the family decided they wanted to be up and about at 6:30, but in retrospect that's just what we needed to get out into the blueberry fields at anything approaching a respectable hour. See, everything works out.
We brought Harvey's birthday wagon with us picking, having seen and been jealous of someone else with a wagon last time we were out. It was just the thing for carrying water bottles, blueberries, and Harvey and his friend Ollie. We didn't have cameras along due to the Serious Business picking we meant to do, so the practicality and cuteness is not documented in these pages—but Bridget snapped a picture with her phone and maybe she'll share that with us. Because heaven knows we don't have enough cute pictures of Harvey around here.