Posted by: oceannah | July 15, 2013

Berries Black & Blue

Black Raspberries

It’s that time of the year again…been fighting the mosquitoes while berry picking though.

It’s been a week filled with massive quantities of phyto-nutrients.  The black raspberries are on and a recent hike up the Shawangunks found us surrounded by low bush blueberries.  That particular hike I believe we probably ate about a pound of blueberries each and picked for take home as well.  I forgot my camera and it’s too bad.  There are some great stone sculptures up on top of the ridge.  Also a very industrious shade shelter made of scavenged wood and rocks.


This is the Shawangunk Ridge in all its glory.   Amongst all that gorgeous greenery there are copious amounts of low bush and high bush blueberries.  (photo from OSINY) 



The ridge has some spectacular outcroppings. From one vista we could see  Slide Mt. the highest peak in the Catskill range (4180+) as well as  Cornell, and Wittenberg Mountains.  (photo from gonamad)











Back to the berries…  I had thought to make a post all about making no sugar (nor sugar substitute) jam, but well, life got busy.  Basically it goes like this:  Pick yourself a mess of berries.  In the case of raspberries we prefer them without the seeds so they get a run through the Foley food mill.  Cook the berries down until the foaming subsides, add pectin and place in sterile jars with lids.  Can for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.  We wound up with 9 half pints or just over a half gallon of scrumptious organic black raspberry jam with no added sweetener.  Yum.

raspberries in foley food mill

The raspberries get run through the mill and the seeds are left behind. This simple step makes the jam much more enjoyable, and doesn’t take much effort at all.

The garden is cruising along and since the massive rains have departed has perked up considerably…with the dubious exception of the sweet potatoes.  These are about a 100 day crop and right now in our garden we are looking at plants that would be totally awesome if it was June 1.  For mid-July though I think the only chance of them making is if we have a very long hot autumn.

The Spring cruciferous rows have been harvested and many bags of kale, cauliflower and broccoli have found their way into the freezer.  As I mentioned earlier we chose to not grow a corn crop this year in favor of really filling the freezer with good organic greens, the most expensive and hard to come by food for us in winter.

cauliflower and kale

A few more bags of freezer fodder…

What kind of week have you had?  How does your garden grow?  I’m glad you’ve popped in and set a spell, it’s good to take a breather.  Have a berry-licious week!





















  1. Mmm…my mouth is watering for homemade jam. I must put that on my ever-expanding list of things to do! I will definitely try it without sugar/sweetening agents this year thanks to your recommendation. I am waiting with anticipation for something to harvest from my garden this year. Slowly things are starting to emerge but it seems way behind this year as you mentioned. Wonderful post!

  2. Those look so yummy!! Looks like a beautiful place to hike and explore xoxo

    • it’s lovely…you’d like it very much when you come north I’ll show you around 🙂

  3. I want to try some lower/no sugar jam this year too. I just made strawberry jam for the freezer and the amount of sugar that I went through was insane!

    • Hey there Heidi, I read your post about just putting the beans straight into the freezer with GREAT interest. I’m always looking for the most streamlined methods. I’ll do a few batches of green beans this way and see how it goes. Thanks so much for the tip!
      As far as the lower sugar jam etc…my husband gasped audibly when I poured a shake or two (unmeasured) into the pot of boiling fruit. I always test a bit on a plate w/ a spoonful to test set…all good! Go for it!

  4. The scenery in your neck of the woods is breathtakingly awe inspiring. I will wait patiently (’til next year? *sob*) for your shots of those stone sculptures and sun shade; )
    Good decision on the greens vs corn thing. Corn is such a space/nutrient hog in the garden (unless you’re using it to support the other Two Sisters, that is: ) and just SO easily available elsewhere… (and hey, that is some sweet lookin’ produce on your counter too, btw; )
    On the jam thing? You can call me “lazy”, if you like, but I can’t be bothered to cook mine (and, I know, I know, it takes SO much sugar): but, after a long day picking berries out in the sun, give me no-heat-in-the-kitchen freezer jam any day – ’cause I like my berries raw and my jam FAST! Sounds like a line out of an old Western, doesn’t it?; )

    • wait for what Deb?
      It is beautiful here, but I do think each part of the planet offers some AMAZING scenery.
      How’s the summer treating you?

  5. Your blueberries and blackberries have me positively GREEN with envy! 🙂 I have two anemic vines in pots and have harvested about one handful. But I have a lot of other things growing. I’m about to be inundated with tomatoes, 8 varieties, and looking for liquid calcium today to feed them. Can I just stir some powdered lime in water?? I’ve got cukes and zukes and the corn is about ready. I’m suspending my CSA box for a couple of months while we try to eat all this. I’m just about to have okra. Pumpkin vines are crawling through the corn, but I’ll be lucky to have pumpkins for halloween since we planted the seed in June. Melon plants, potatoes, onions and much more.

    I wish I could wiggle my nose and be up on top of that ridge today. It would do wonders for my mind. Thanks for sharing such beauty. It’s good to know there are unspoiled areas left. Hopefully there’s no natural gas under there. I hope you will watch my latest Late Bloomer shot in Tennessee. Thanks! – Kaye

    • yah, we all have our advantages Kaye 😉 I envy you your long growing season!!
      I hope your summer is going great. Have been enjoying your new blog 🙂


  6. Carries me back. Went to school at SUNY New Paltz…spent many weekends in these mountains. Mohonk and the original Minnewaska. Beautiful. 🙂

    • Auds…I did not know you attended SUNYNP!! Love the area very much.
      hope your summer is cruising along nicely.


  7. amazing! it must be so great making your own food. we pulled out some spring onions a few days ago – our first home grown foods!! 🙂

    • Tis! How goes the baby growing phase of your life Shann?
      I hope you are feeding yourself REALLY GOOD food!!
      Sending the bestest baby vibes your way.

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