Wild Blackberry Preserves


My grandmother taught me to pick wild blueberries. On the lake in southern New Hampshire where we spent our summers, blueberries grew in the profuse underbrush. Picking them kept a bunch of active kids busy those long sticky days. Me, Charlot, Chris, Rolo and Annie followed the sandy road from our camp north to the neighbors’ yard where a narrow path led into the woods. The low bushes appeared in a clearing.  We ate as many as we brought home.

Perhaps this is why I enjoy collecting wild things like mushrooms and blackberries that grow not far from here. And turning the berries into wild blackberry preserves. Bending down, carefully spreading the branches to scout for spots of  deep purple erases time. Bugs, sticky temperatures, it doesn’t matter. I wait for these weeks every summer when I can make one, two maybe even four tiny half pints of the seedy jam. Sure, I could buy quarts of blackberries and raspberries at the farmers market. (Dondero’s has them at the Chester Sunday Market.) You know the saying “stolen meat tastes better”?