Yesterday, Grenwinae got the blueberries and blackberries made into jam. We were late into the season as we should have done this back in June and picked our own. Instead the grocery store gave us the bounty. He found this article that greatly helped him in his hot water bath, berry canning.
I insisted on blackberry jam as it was a childhood favorite. Blackberries, as large as a man’s thumb, were hand picked from the swampy understory woods of Kisatchie National Forest. My maternal grandparents lived there at a “camp” near the Red River.
In her canning, she would put a thick layer of wax across the top, a centered wick serving as the pull-tab to remove the wax after you had broken the seal with a butter knife run between the glass and the wax. These precious jars would be picked up during our annual summer vacation, making their pilgrimage from Alexandria, Louisiana to Dayton, Ohio.
She never passed on a recipe. I asked her once for it, and she thought I was silly. It was blackberries and sugar. No brainer for her. While I do not do ancestor worship, the blackberry jam is honoring her. I will set back a blackberry jar for Samhain celebrations.
Fig preserves would be a nod to my paternal grandmother. She had a huge fig tree in her backyard – at the house my father grew up in – next to her large vegetable garden. There is no source here for good figs; I may need to find one for next year.
Thank you grandmother for your care and kindness, the blackberry jam and the Christmas present in old-fashioned paper and mailed to us in a box wrapped with Kraft paper and tied with string.