Last week I took a friend to the podiatrist and found a wonderful thimbleberry patch in the redwoods behind the office. Have you ever had a thimbleberry before? They are found mostly in the Pacific Northwest at the edge of redwood forests. They look sort of like a raspberry, and taste like a combination of raspberry and strawberry. They are delicate and difficult to find in bulk, since birds love them too. I decided to venture back to the patch and spend some time picking to try and get enough to make a small jar of jam for my friend Nan. Thimbleberries are her favorites, and I wanted to send her a little taste of home.
I have been making jam for long enough that I don't really need to follow a recipe, but here is a rough recipe for making a small jar of berry jam:
Grate 1/2 an apple into 1/2 cup of water and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apple acts as a natural pectin.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar, the juice of 1/4 fresh lemon and 1/2 cup of thimbleberries. Mash some of the berries with a fork. Bring to a low boil, stirring often, and boil until the majority of the liquid has cooked down.
Pour into a sterilized jar, fasten with sterilized lid, and boil in water bath for 20 minutes.