Saturday, August 19, 2017

Maine blueberries and making jam

August in Maine is the time when my fruit trees and bushes produce a bounty.  I have 4 high bush blueberry bushes that are nearly 20 years old and well cared for.  I actively prune them in the spring and feed them coffee grounds and plenty of water in the summer.  This year I have been picking over a half gallon of berries almost daily.  Total crop will be well over 6 gallons I think.  They ripen so fast that I recruit friends and neighbors to come and help themselves.
I store them in the fridge and make small batches of 4-6 jars of jam every few nights.  So far I have made over 35 jars.  I am selling the jam to my airbnb guests and giving it to friends and neighbors.  It is really good!

My cherry tree produced a bumper crop this year, but I could only reach the proverbial "low hanging fruit" which was enough to give batches to 2 of my neighbors with baking skills.  They each made a great cherry pie!

The next crop will be from my large crabapple tree.  Last year I harvested over 7 gallons and made over 30 jars of crabapple butter and jelly.  This whole process is much more labor intensive and I'll have a friend help me.  First I spread a large tarp under the tree and then I shake the tree one branch at at a time using a long hooked stick.  We then sit on the tarp and sort the good fruit into 5 gallon buckets.  In the heat of the summer this can be really tiring.

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