July is my favorite summer month. Not because of the fireworks and festivities and excuses to overindulge, but because of these little jewels:
When I think about summer, I think of raspberries, the ones that grow in the wild on the farm. To be precise, they’re not actually raspberries, but wineberries, an invasive species from Asia. And according to Wikipedia, a wineberry isn’t even a berry at all—it’s “an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core.” Hah! But I digress. I’ll just call them raspberries for now.
These little berries are so deliciously sweet and tart all at once—picking them (and eating as many as I can get my hands on) has been a personal tradition for me for years, something I always look forward to doing. But this year is different, because I made jam.
It was my first-ever attempt at jam, and the first time I had canned since 2007. I enjoyed the process, and I was glad to get the cobwebs out of my head around the canning process. I refreshed my memory and used the raspberry jam recipe in the Big Book of Preserving the Harvest. The jam didn’t set quite as firmly as I had hoped, but maybe that’s because they aren’t actually raspberries. Or maybe I just didn’t simmer them long enough.
Either way, Nathan and I are enjoying picking and eating these juicy jewels every day on our walks—sometimes twice a day!—and I’m grateful for every day and walk with my son and every berry we toss down our gullets. They taste best plucked right from the bush, still warm from the sun and hot, humid air. It’s not every day that we get to eat such delightful, beautiful jewels of summer…Oh, how I cherish July.