Wednesday, August 7, 2013


This is not an article about raising blackberries, nor is it about cooking with them.  There are lots of articles on the internet sharing that information with you.  It is also not about using a "Kitchen Aid" brand mixer, although I am the proud owner of one of those since 1981. 
It is an article about using the berry's remains when you think they are ready for the compost pile.
There is an attachment for your "Kitchen Aid" which would be a help with your black berries.  They have a sieve which fits inside your bowl with a wooden beater which fits in it.  This is great for removing the seeds and peelings from the blackberries.  If you don't have a "Kitchen Aid" there are very good counter parts.  My favorite is the cone shape colander.  I call it my "China Man".  It has a wooden "rolling pin" to mash the contents in its cone.  Second best is a "Foley Mill".  For me, the seeds always get stuck under the plate of this kitchen appliance. 
We do not like the seeds in the berries so the above equipment is of supreme importance in our house. Now for the purpose of this blog:
1.  When you are looking at the bowl of seeds and peelings, reconstitute them before destroying them.  Add water to them till, when you stir they move around (you don't want to float them, you want them about the consistency of boxed pudding when it is cooked and ready to pour into bowls (thinner than cooked oatmeal, thicker than cream gravy).  Heat this to almost simmering, stirring constantly (I use a silicone spatula ).  This is very important, the contents will scorch and scorch very quickly. 
When you are finished put the seeds back in your "China man" (colander), and mash the seeds again till no liquid runs out.  The resulting liquid can be measured out and used with "Sure Jell" dry pectin. Following the directions for Jelly (not the Jam) you can make you several pints of very good jelly.  If you have never made jelly before using the instructions in the box it's a breeze. BTW, instead of boiling the jars, I put the dishwasher cleaned jars in the oven at 225 and keep them there till I take them out one by one, when I am filling them.  You want those jars hot when pouring in the jelly.  You don't want to break them with the boiling liquid jelly.
2.  Your seeds are still not ready for the compost pile (Or the bird feeder). This is where they become a "Kitchen Aid".  I am very fortunate to own several very nice copper pans.  The care and feeding of these is an arduous process.  Several years ago while processing blackberries I filled the sink with pots and pans and one of those was sitting in another which had been used to process the berries.  It had about 2 inches of water in it.  When I removed the pan to wash it (a couple of hours later) It had a bright copper water line on it's bottom. 
My wheels began turning and I took the seeds which were destined for the birds and turned the pan upside down and packed the seed mass all over the pan. I wet it a little (not enough to run out on to the cookie sheet I had it on).  I left it for 1 hour and then went to scrape off the stuff.  Voila! a clean copper pot with no effort and no expensive caustic cleaner.  BTW..I bet I could have frozen the seeds and reused them several times.
I've been picking berries for a week now.  It doesn't look like I have even touched the canes.  There are tons on the ground because we have a squirrel with a very purple muzzle.   Yesterday I saw a site I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it.  We had a Hummer with his beak enjoying blackberry juice direct from the berry.
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