|Nellie -- west field|
The old “sarvis” bush in the yard is long gone, but to my surprise, just in the last couple of years I’ve discovered quite a few serviceberry bushes on the property. This year I found the best berries on a bush within a stand on the north side of the west field, where we also pick elderberries. Odd that one tree would be loaded while its neighbors were virtually barren – but then, what do I know?
|White blossoms on elderberry; serviceberry at edge of field|
I had no helpers on my first day of picking serviceberries, unless you count Bess, and she felt a nap coming on and went back to the house. My first picking was really too soon. Five days later, the berries were riper and plumper, so I picked again and Mike helped me. Both dogs were with us, eagerly waiting for the berries that would fall from the bush or slip from our hands. This time we got enough to make jelly with some extra.
Serviceberries are native to America and grow everywhere. The berries are like blueberries in appearance with a more pithy texture. Following the recommended juicing method – one cup of water to ten cups of berries – I was not able to extract the needed 3 ½ cups of juice for the jelly. I actually recooked the berries with more water. (Purists are probably recoiling at the thought.) My theory is that berries here in this dry environment are not as juicy as those moister climes. Next time I won’t hesitate to double the water because the liquid was plenty thick. I used organic apple juice to bring the measurement to 3 ½ cups for the jelly.
I mulled over several jelly recipes and methods. One called for 8 cups of sugar, and I just couldn’t bring myself to use that much. Instead I opted for a recipe calling for five cups of sugar. It worked well.
|Awkward -- need picker pail|
And then on Sunday, July 3, we went back out to our prolific tree with our picker pole. Together Mike and I worked to get those beautiful berries that grow up high. So often the way – the best fruit is inaccessible.
[Mike and I are enjoying town time today, except that I left the power cord for my computer at the farm. Posting this with precious battery power.] KW