29 June 2010

Natural Colors

While walking Bella down the old train bed beyond our dead end street I noticed a profusion of purple berries on the side of the path. I found the vines strung in and among brambles, grape vines, sumac, and any other plant that thrives out of neglect and overgrowth. The berries looked like raspberries but were the color of blackberries. Let me call them black raspberries. Lacking the requisite berry-picking paraphernalia, I saved the task of removing the vines from their delicate burdens until later in the afternoon, when I could also procure an assistant.

The weather today favored berry-picking; cool and intermittantly cloudy. Turner and I returned to the bushes with two Nalgenes and proceeded to fill them almost to the top while Bella ran freely through the verdure. Not wanting the delicate berries to waste one ounce of their fresh-pickedness, I rinsed the two pounds of berries and added them with one pound of suger to my faithful Dutch oven Le Crueset. I added the juice of one lime (lacking the lemon the gives the jam natural pectin for setting) and am waiting now for the mixture to cool before determining whether I made syrup or jam.

I did however help relieve the invasive sweet peas of some of their blossoms. They are now resting sweetly in tight bouquets around the house. Luckily, there will be no shortage of replacements as sweet peas have taken over the hillside opposite the berry bushes.

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