Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Proctor Hill Berries

The place I used to go horseback riding is called Proctor Hill. I was given permission to forage there; there were nettles but, mostly, there were berries. All sorts of berries. Over the years, I foraged wee little amounts of black raspberries, red raspberries, wild blueberries, a handful of blackberries, and wild grapes. These were tucked into the freezer, waiting until I had enough of them. I had always intended to make a mixed berry jam or jelly as a gift for my riding instructor. 

Time has marched on and my instructor has left that farm for a place that better suited her current needs. I haven't ridden for over a year, after a spectacular fall made me question whether I wanted to continue. I was just getting ready to consider Western pleasure riding instead when the pandemic effectively made the decision for me. At least, for now. I do miss it; spending an hour or so a week without a cell phone in sight, only focused upon the immediate challenge of convincing a very large living and opinionated creature to do what I wanted. It got me out of my head in a way that nothing else seems to do. 

In the process of moving out and then back in to a freezer, I found all those berries. It was clear I was never going to add to the stash so it was time to make jelly out of what I had. The grapes are the dominant flavor but the raspberries do add something, I think. I cooked down the berries with water, extracted almost six cups of juice, let the solids settle, and then made jelly. Ultimately I ended up with about nine cups of jelly, enough for 12 small jars for my gift stash and a few extra just for us.

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