During the middle of August we spent a week on the Keweenaw Peninsula. This is a body of land that juts into Lake Superior from the west end of Michigan’s upper peninsula. It has long been a special place for me; we spent many summer vacations camping there with our three children. A very fond memory is the year we stumbled upon thimbleberries growing very big, and plump, and ripe along the road. We just happened to have some containers in the car so the five of us picked and ate and picked some more. And we ate some more. I had learned that these berries contain their own pectin so there is no need to thicken them when making jam.
When we returned to the camper, I sugared them, and put them in a sauce pan to boil so the sugar melted. I then filled containers and put them on ice until we got home to freeze for winter joy.
This year we were there at the end of the thimbleberry season and there hadn’t been much rain so I could only find enough to remind me of how wonderful they taste. They are something like a raspberry but very soft and velvety. And they are very fragile – when picking them the most gentle touch is needed or they disintegrate into sugary juice in your fingers.
This year I was on a mission to buy some thimbleberry jam so the first place we stopped was The Jam Lady. Her front porch was turned into a jam store and open even though she wasn’t there. I picked two jars of thimbleberry and also a jar of wild blueberry jam.
JB put the correct amount of money in the can on a table – the honor system.
We continued up the coast towards Copper Harbor and found a sign I couldn’t resist.
Can a person ever have too many good jams & jellies? And of course I had to check out the baked goods made by the Monks. Along with another jar or two of jams I bought some delicious almond flavored sugar cookies to share with JB. We ate them slowly so we could savor every decedent bite. One of the simple pleasures of life.
My most exciting find at the Jam Pot was a Blueberry Brandied Peach Conserve. The ingredients also include almonds, oranges, lemon juice and unnamed spices. I think it will make a wonderful side for meat – maybe a pork tenderloin. Any other suggestions?