High: 76° FIt’s been a great season for fruit here in Maine. Strawberry yields were the highest they’ve been in years; blueberries and beach plums are just about ripe; and our raspberries have arrived a good week ahead of schedule. That’s good news for the berry-loving caninaturalist.
Low: 60° F
Conditions: Chance of showers. Thunderstorms this evening.
Most of the time, Ari tends to be a very accommodating, easy-going dog (unless Mouse is trying to steal her food. Or a red squirrel has ventured onto our porch. Or the utility guy comes down our drive to read the meter. Or. . . )
But seriously, the only time I can definitely count on the caninaturalist to be something of a princess is where her fruit is concerned. She’s very particular about how it should be served: blueberries must be frozen and served in her dish. Bananas should be sliced and handed to her in the kitchen. Watermelon can only be eaten if it is still attached to the rind.
When it comes to raspberries, however, she insists on none of these formalities. She’ll eat them off the road. Or nip them from a bush. Or dig them out of the compost if I’m not watching. I'd like to say I disapprove of the last of these behaviors, but in truth, I don’t really blame her: they really are that good.
So far, we’ve gotten about eight pints, and our back patch hasn’t yet ripened. Still, we took last night to get a jump start on our annual jam project. This is serious business: raspberry jam is a mainstay where our holiday gift-giving is concerned, and I know of at least one reader of this blog who might bar my entrance at the family Christmas celebration if I don’t arrive with raspberry jam in hand (hi, mom!).
I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes this year. Maybe it’s the heat and humidity around here, or my recent trip to Dominica. Either way, I’ve been feeling a tropical influence lately, so I decided to go with a raspberry-lime recipe this year. Ari agreed to supervise, though she was more than a little leary of the lime (caninaturalists hate citrus).
Checking the consistency using the “cold plate” test: if the jam congeals on the plate, it’s ready to be canned.
The even more important caninaturalist test: if she scarfs it down, it’s definitely ready to be canned. Lime be damned, the new recipe passed the Ari test with flying colors. Phew!
Our first batch out of the water bath. Success!
Okay, mom: does that mean we can buy our plane tickets now?
Yours in preserves,