Tuesday, July 22, 2008


High: 76° F
Low: 60° F
Conditions: Chance of showers. Thunderstorms this evening.
It’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.

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,


YourFireAnt said...

Oh, this brings back memories! Mmmmmmmm! I can just smell your house right now. [i.e., right then]


Booker the Treeing Walker said...

Oh my, come visit here too! We have a red berry called the suriname cherry, or pitanga, that is very tart and makes a wonderful jam. It grows wild (there are some at the dog park!) and is often used for hedges. Booker has no interest in fruit of any sort but he would kill for a pizza crust!

Dawn Miles said...

I just had a Kate-made raspberry jam quandary yesterday! With all of this time on my hands, I have become an incessant meal-planner/cook. Nothing gourmet, but certainly nicer than anything Chris has had in the previous 6 years of our marriage! (I even made fan-like carrot garnishes for the chicken rice salad on served on a lettuce leaf last night). ANYWAY - I was planning my shopping list knowing that I wanted to make this Lemon Raspberry cake later in the week. My dilemma came when I realized that I really didn't want to "waste" your jam in the cake - I'd rather savor it solely on a piece of toast or bagel or the like. So, I ended up buying a jar of raspberry preserves at the grocery store just so I didn't have to use up the last of our Miles-made raspberry jam! Keep up the hard work!

The Army of Four said...

Woo! Those berries look delicious! I love fruit. My favorite is watermelon - Mom de-seeds it and cuts it into nice chunks for me. And we have daily banana formation, of course. I wonder if we can get some nice raspberries here?

Twinville said...

Oh they look so scrumtious! And what a wonderful tropical recipe. I love lime as an accent flavor.

Unfortunately for us, it seems nothing is growing this year up here in the Central Mountains of NM. We had a late May freeze and hail storm, so our peach and apricot trees produced nothing.
And I'm fearful for our apples, too.

The garden is a waste because of the brutal wind, dry temps followed by torrential rains, humidity and then temps back down to the 50's every night.

It's been an unkind year for folks wanting to grow veggies and fruit here.
It's painful seeing how well other gardeners are doing in other parts of the country.

We'll have nothing to can or freeze this year.
If it weren't for grocery stores, I suppose we'd starve. :(

Oh! But we do have fresh eggs! hehe
Thanks to the chickens. Got love 'em :o)

There's always something to be thankful, isn't there?

Kodak the Eskie said...

Raspberry jam is my favorite! Your berries looks so beautiful! And the jam looks so good. Those will make wonderful holiday gifts.

Hugs, Kodak

Tracey and Huffle said...

Oh I LOVE raspberries. So does mum. Yummy.

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer CAt

Anonymous said...

Okay, can I just say that Booker the treeing walker has the loveliest face? What is it about hounds? So pathetic, so sweet.

Anyhow, my hat is off to you, Kate, for finding the time and energy to make JAM. Shoot, that's a lot of work, girl. Remember in Little Women when Meg first tried to make jam? That chapter kept me from ever making the attempt. Bring berries next time you visit! Bentley loves all fruits BUT bananas.

Dakota said...

Mmmmmmmm. Raspberry jelly! Oh, I hope were having tea and toast in the morning here!
And beach plums too!
Ari, I'm running up to visit!


Turbo the Sibe said...

My Human always over emphasizes the "P" when she says the word!

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrrr Ari
I am glad yer mom heard lots of pirate talk on the trip Harrrrr also the berrys look good Harrrrr
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Lorenza said...

Those raspberries look delicious!
We don't have them here.
(I think it would be better if we enlist that WE HAVE!)
I am sure that jam is yummy!
Buy your tickets!
Kisses and hugs

Blue said...

That jam does look delicious, Raspberry is my all time favourite.

I use to have Raspberry canes in my last home, so know the delights of picking - I always head in their directions @ the fruit farms now.
So Ari, doesn't like citrus, my Springer spaniel was very partial to oranges, would sit & drawl when ever I had one till I handed over pieces or half!

Best wishes, pats & pets

JB's Big World said...

Those raspberries look so good! My mom says her mouth is watering. The jam must have made your house smell scrumptious. Glad Ari was there to help with the taste testing!

Kapp pack said...

Mom is drooling over the raspberry pics! They are one of her favorites! Sounds really yummy!

Woo woo, KA

Pippa said...

We love raspberries but they are quite expensive.

Mistress and I sit and eat them for breakfast, sometimes we have them with our grapefruit (which I also love) and sometimes we have them on their own.


Naturegirl said...

Well I have never heard of a dog that loved fruit! My daughter serves her dog carrots as treats.
Rasberrie season is upon us here too. Picked our first batch yesterday at a farm.I freeze mine in bags to be enjoyed over and over throughout the winter months. Made freezer jam too.Amazing that Ari eats jam too!!

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
It is a savory raspberry.
The fruit of full ripeness is very sweet and delicious.
I want to eat the processing of it to jam very much.
Happiness eats with bread, yogurt, and pancake.
Slaver occurs. :)

from loved ume tyan

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...


Mom says she khan feel the seeds in her teeth now!!

I love fruit too BUT I'm not khwite that pawtikhular!!!

Mom just got her furst peaches of the season - they are still ripening a bit AND she had her furst sweet khorn on Tuesday - she khlaimed six ears of khorn WITH BUTTER was her dinner!!!!

PeeEssWoo: The raspberry might khomplement the snake well!

Island Rambles Blog said...

yummy yummy raspberries and jam...I hope Ari was pleased with it all....our strawberries and raspberries in the garden are finishing up now...blueberries next...cheers.

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

I haven't tried raspberries, but the look delicious!


Tracey and Huffle said...

Hey Ari there is something for you at my blog!

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Oh those look so yummy. Maybe Mom will let you have some on toast in the morning...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Eve said...

I envy your canning skills...maybe someday.....it would help if I had some berry bushes...maybe I'll start there!