WHEN MAMA’S MAKING BLACKBERRY JAM, AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD #12

One day when pa and I were looking

for a calf done gone astray,

we came upon a berry patch,

the calf not far away;

blackberries there were growin’ wild,

coverin’ hill and dale;

Neither pa nor I had cap or hat

and least of all a pail;

You go home and fetch some pails”

Pa said then with a grin,

And I’ll lead Bessie’s baby home;

bet she’s wondering where he’s been!”

I hurried home, was shouting out,

bellowing as I drew near,

for mama and my sister Kate,

so loud that they would hear–

They helped me gather up some pots

and a big tin basin, too,

and trailed behind me to the patch

where all the berries grew.

We filled the pots, our fingers black

and bleeding from the thorns,

and carried all back to the farm

‘Twas right before a storm.

In mama’s kitchen, we picked over

all the big, black, luscious fruit,

Then Kate and ma srarted mashin’

and I soon followed suit.

from the cellar I brought apples,

two pounds to peel and dice,

to add to all the blackberries,

Ma says two pounds was right.

then mama put the pot of berries

on the stove but kept on stirring,

we took turns with the wooden spoon,

to keep the fruit from burning.

Ma measured out the sugar,

and you know, it took a lot,

for every cup of berries,

an equal for the pot;

We cooked and stirred

while sister washed

all of mama’s jelly jars

and watched the sky turn dark and black

with lightning  from afar;

and mama melted paraffin,

that comes in waxy bars

she poured a little melted wax

over every jar of jam,

and we smiled and looked with pride

just as the rain began;

Next day, when the sun was shining bright,

I walked back to the berry ground;

all the fruit had washed away;

no berries could be found.

But oh, my goodness, we had JAM

enough jam to last a year,

and maybe next year, they’ll be back

I’ll be searching, never fear.

 

TO MAKE MAMA’S BLACKBERRY JAM

YOU WILL NEED:

about 4 lbs of blackberries, picked over, (better not to wash)

1/2 pint water

2 lbs cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

6 pounds sugar

4 lbs blackberries,

1/2 pint water

2 lbs of cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced

6 pounds sugar

Put the blackberries into a pot with  half of the water and simmer until tender. Put the apples into a pan with the remaining water and cook  until tender. combine the two  pans in a pot; add the sugar and cook and stir until sugar is dissolved; boil rapidly until jelling point is reached, testing after 7 minutes.  pour into clean jelly  jars and seal with melted wax.

*Mama would have known that the blackberries might not have enough natural pectin to jell properly; that is why she added the apples. modern day cooks might want to use apple juice or cider instead of water to increase the pectin to the jam.

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