Tucked away in the depths of my garden are 6 very healthy raspberry canes that produce an inordinate amount of fruit. They’re like the rabbits of the berry world. They would happily take over the entire yard if they were allowed (they’re most definitely not!).
Basically what this means is, I wind up picking a whole bucket load of fruit every second day. I used to be able to give it to the neighbours but, a few years ago, my dad had the shortsighted idea of giving them a cutting of a cane for themselves. Now they have an inordinate amount of their own fruit and I have to find other avenues to get rid of the stuff.
Sam helps where he can. He’s a little raspberry mooch and picks his own snack whenever he thinks he’s not being watched. I’d yell at him but honestly, it’s a handful of raspberries I don’t have to pick (plus he gets those low hanging ones!). Plus, he’s remarkably gentle and ginger when he pulls them off. Quite something to watch.
When I pick them he sits on the outside of the garden fence and patiently waits for me to throw him one every now and then. Last night while I was bent over in a stack of brambles with my back to the back fence, he went berserk! Barking at me, scratching at the garden fence until I turned around and found myself face to face with a raccoon sitting behind me. I froze, the raccoon froze and Sam just kept barking “lemme at him, lemme at him”.
So for those of you wondering, raccoons are not cute. They’re nasty little buggers and they are vicious. So I marched right out of the garden, got the hose and waged a war for the next hour with the little guy. He’d scoot up a tree to avoid the water, I’d go back to picking for a few minutes, he’d sneak back down, I’d spray him, he’d go back up the tree, etc etc until I finished picking.
Sam was torn… he desperately wanted at that raccoon but, he’s also terrified of the garden hose (go figure… he loooooves water but he hates the hose) so he laid down about half way between the two with a very “I’m watching you and if that hose were outta the way, I’d be ALLLL over you buddy” tough guy look on his face. Which is pretty funny because he only thinks he’s tough but he actually doesn’t have a tough bone in his body. He’s a slobbery, friendly goof who vigilantly protects me from robins and finches.
Anyway… I digress… the mountain of raspberries. Mostly I freeze them and every year I make no cook freezer jam. This year, I decided to my first ever batch of canned jam. Canning has always terrified me because I’m scared of giving somebody botulism. But, I think it went ok! It didn’t set as well as I’d have liked but it’s not a runny mess either. And all my lids popped so… hopefully we’re good! I made a big batch of freezer jam too, just in case! Either type, it sure is satisfying to see a row of jam jars lined up ready to go in the pantry or freezer and know you did that!
Curious about the recipe I used? You can find it here. I’ve always used Certo Liquid Pectin for my freezer jam and I used it for the cooked jam as well (I’m not being sponsored or compensated by Kraft Canada… this is just what I’ve used for years… including the recipes on the PDF!)
Food Photography Tips
This was ridiculously hard!! First of all there’s reflections all over the place from the glass jars that I didn’t even pay attention to until I got them on the computer. I totally need to watch that.
Second, I wanted to photograph the jars out back by the raspberry bushes, which was a great idea in theory but, in practice, sucked. The ground was hopelessly uneven which meant even if one part of the photo looked straight, the rest didn’t because everything was on a slope. I had to get a little creative with my tripod and the composition, which was probably why I completely forgot about the reflections. I was able to get a couple of decent ones here but even the top one had to be cropped to make it not look so out of line!
The nice thing was, the raspberry bushes and the rest of the garden blocked most of the setting sun which was directly in front of me at eye level. Instead of having to fight it, I got some lovely golden, diffused and dappled light!
(the raccoon photo was taken with my Blackberry and my hands were covered with water from the hose so I wasn’t holding it too well – lotta shake happening!)