Maine winters can seem like they are never going to end. They are cold, snowy, and dark but if you plan well during the summer months you can have a little taste of summer during those bleak winter days. One way to do that is to preserve the fruit that is available during those warmer months.
Berries are abundant during the summer and I like to take full advantage of pick your own fields that are near my home. I recently went strawberry picking in Cape Elizabeth at Maxwell’s Farm. I have been picking strawberries there since I was a child and it’s not summer in my mind until I‘ve visited the farm.
When I was little my mom and I would go blueberry picking behind my grandmother’s house. The berries were the deliciously tart wild blueberries that were so small that filling my bucket seemed to take an eternity. We would make blueberry cake and read Blueberries for Sal, and snack on the berries until the next time we would go to my Nana’s and pick some more. Sadly, the land where we used to pick no longer has berries so we needed to find someplace else to get our blueberry fix. Enter Libby and Sons. They are a highbush blueberry farm that also has raspberries, apples and peaches (that never seem to have a good season). And they have warm blueberry donuts, need I say more?
My favorite place to pick blackberries and raspberries is at a local farm stand in Cape Elizabeth called…. The Farm. It’s an honor system. They have plants, wild flower ready to go bouquets (or pick your own) and fruits and veggies. I love this place because it’s a short drive from my house but also there’s something charming about it, they trust you to be a decent person.
3 cups raspberries
3 cups blackberries
3 cups blueberries
3 cups strawberries
3 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1. Sterilize 6-8 half-pint jars and their lids.
2. Place the berries and sugar in a large bowl. Gently stir together and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. In a large nonreactive saucepan, gently stir together the berries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered. It will bubble up a lot but stirring frequently will help bring it down. Remove any foam, until the jam has thickened, about 15 minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
4. Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.
5. Put the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Make sure the jars are covered in water. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
If a sealed has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Enjoy! It’s especially delicious on a fresh croissant.