Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blackberries Again

The wild blackberry season continues. With rain yesterday and this morning, plenty of newly ripe berries are on the bushes. That’s right. I was out there picking again. Since the blackberry pie is gone, I looked for another interesting way to eat blackberries.

Yesterday’s batch of berries went into a dessert I found in a cookbook and modified due to quantity, substitute thickener due to not stocking arrowroot, and my jellybag being jettisoned about twenty years ago. I discovered this new way to use blackberries in Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook, edited by Charles Gerras (New York, MJF Books, 1984). I made it yesterday while it was raining. When it rains for a long time in summer, it’s time to cook.

I found the dessert as presented not sweet enough even for my not so sweet standards, so when eating it, I stirred a small amount of additional sugar into it. That made it quite palatable. This morning I tried a new way to improve it. I stirred what was left first and then folded some Cool Whip topping into it, which made it very good. I don’t know about its keeping qualities, since I ate it on the spot. I noticed that a small amount was enough to satisfy me. I don't stand behind Cook Whip as a nutritious product, but used it anyway.

Don’t get excited about the jellybag part. A satisfactory result comes with straining the cooked berries with a colander, and then sending the resulting juice through a finer strainer to get rid of the seeds that made it through the colander. If you want pure, uncloudy juice, find your jellybag. It’s not difficult to make this, especially if you have time on your hands.

Crimson Classic
(including my revisions)

2 cups fresh red fruit (I used blackberries)
1 ¾ cups water
1/3 cup honey
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine fruit and water in a stainless steel or enameled 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain juice through a muslin cloth or bag, or use a colander and strainer. Combine honey and cornstarch with a small amount of cooled berry juice. Gradually add juice, stirring to combine. Cook over low heat until thickened and clear, stirring almost constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl and chill. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.

Tomorrow I’ll think of another way to eat blackberries. I’m not ready to make jelly yet.

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