Before preserving anything, I consider how
I'll be using it. Blackberries, for instance.
I freeze some whole for smoothies and
cobbler/kuchen but our favorite use for blackberries
is Lemon-Berry Pudding Cakes, a recipe I found
years ago in Martha Stewart Living. When using our
own blackberries (store-bought lack the flavor),
this is the perfect mixture of a sweet and tart pudding
under a light and fluffy lemon cake.
For this recipe, the blackberries will need to be
sweetened, puree'd and run through a sieve
to remove the seeds.
To save time and dishes, I make a large batch to
freeze in small jars each with just the amount
needed for one recipe of the dessert.
I now have enough for 6 batches in our freezer;
I make it liberally during the summer while the berries
are fresh so this amount should be perfect for the
rest of the year.
To get the full health benefits of all of our produce,
I always cook with as much of it in season as I can.
(Fyi, book recommendation: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; one family's story
of doing their best to live off the land and resources open to them.
I really enjoyed this, and also found it a bit of an eye-opener!)
I also have 4 pints made up for yogurt
and ice cream--and I have no idea how "blackberry
ice cream" is going to turn out but soon...!
This year was to be our biggest blackberry crop.
Here they are still green but very lush and loaded!
Below, about a month later--and they're getting burnt!
A close-up shows it better.
Not a lot one can do to fight the 105' to 108' temps.
(with the heat index even higher)
Next week looks to be a little lower--still around 100'.
Sad, sad, sad.
Still, we have enjoyed them so far and, frankly,
as much work as there is to do, I don't mind
God telling me to back off. In fact, I
generally need and appreciate it.
I think I have several gallons in the freezer and
we're still picking about a quart a day for now
which is perfect for those Lemon Berry Pudding Cakes!
If you have access to fresh/local blackberries,
give these a try--it only takes a handful.
Make sure to top them with sweetened, fresh
whipped cream (none of that fake stuff!) especially
if your berries might be a bit green/tart.
(If you follow the link, you should get more pictures--I couldn't get them to pull up.)
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1/2 cup (about 3 lemons) plus 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup plus 3 T sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for ramekins
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 6 T flour, sifted
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Hot water for pan
350 degrees. Process 2 1/2 ounces blackberries (12 to 15 berries), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Set sauce aside.
Butter inner top inch of six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside. Whisk together egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in flour and milk in two batches each, beginning with the flour. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup lemon juice, the salt, and the melted butter, and set aside.
Beat egg whites on medium-high speed until very frothy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer running, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream; beat until whites hold stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk half the whites into reserved lemon mixture until combined; gently fold in remaining whites with a rubber spatula.
Place the ramekins in a high-sided roasting pan or baking dish, and divide the batter among ramekins, filling each almost to the top. Spoon a few drops of berry sauce onto cakes, and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl sauce into batter. Transfer to oven; pour boiling water into pan, a bit more than halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake until cakes are set and the tops are just starting to turn golden, 35 to 40 mins.
With tongs, transfer the ramekins to a wire rack; cool 15 minutes.