July 21, 2017
There is so much one can say about the raspberry. The flavour, the colour, the abundance with which they grow, their hardiness, and how they turn into the best jam or cake without compare.
My first memories of raspberries are from the ground. Mom would send all of “us kids” out to the raspberry patch with ice cream pail in hand. It was our job to fill the pail and once that was done we were free to eat as much as we wanted. My memory is laying on the ground amongst the raspberry canes looking up through the leaves and seeing the sun shine on the berries and then reaching up picking the berry and squishing it slowly with my tongue against the top of my mouth. Sweet, tart, raspberry red.
Mom always made pie. A little bit of sugar and tapioca with raspberries in a shortening crust, carefully put on a cookie tray to catch the juice as it boiled over the edge of the pie plate. Mom would poke the shape of a heart in the pastry or one of our initials to make it extra special.
Making raspberry jam has become a sacred ritual in my life. Every year I make dozens of jars of raspberry jam. When I first began it was my mother’s recipe. Made with Certo pectin it was always certain to thicken. Then I was influenced by my aunt Noel. She made freezer jam uncooked to keep that really fresh taste the whole winter.
Many years later I moved to the Okanagan and planted 300 feet of raspberry canes and found there was so much more room for exploring the art of raspberry jam. I was introduced by my friend Mardelle to seedless raspberry jam. Wow. This jam brought things to a whole new level. The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is another treasuring of perfect jams. Raspberry Jam is a confectionary so this time of year I revel in the 20 pound bag of sugar that sits in the kitchen and the buckets of raspberries that my friend Sally so kindly delivers to the door after her morning picking with Moma duck and her ducklings who jump up high to get their share of the raspberry goodness.
When my kids were babies there were two favourite books JamBerry and Blue Berries for Sal. Lovely books that celebrate the joy of berries.
“One berry, two berry
Pick me a blueberry
Hat berry, shoe berry
In my canoeberry
Under the bridge and over the dam
Looking for berries, berries for jam.”
Enjoy the berries,
This week I was inspired to knit a raspberry hat. Lo and behold I found instructions for the Raspberry Stitch or Trinity Stitch and with the same jam making spirit I made a hat with Raspberry coloured Sweet Georgia worsted yarn. A raspberry beanie hat ensued and I am pleased because it truly does look like a raspberry.
Pattern is available here: Raspberry Stitch Beanie