Symphony & a perfect canning day

Last night I had a great time at the symphony. How often do you get to sing along, clap, and dance at the symphony? We are very lucky to have the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra right here in town, lead by critically acclaimed Music Director Michael Butterman. In his 6 seasons with The Phil, he’s energized our orchestra and classical music scene with innovative programming and vibrant guest soloists.

Last night’s program was Music of the Beatles, featuring the Beatles cover band Classical Mystery Tour. The twist was, of course, they performed with the full orchestra, which added a new depth and presence to the cherished standards. This wasn’t a cheesy show tune performance – it’s was the original orchestrations of the songs we know and love, enhanced by our wonderful orchestra. The house was packed with folks from 5 to 85 including many families, and everyone enjoyed the show. I was glad to see so many high school and college students there – more than the usual music students. The encore of Twist & Shout had the entire audience, young and old, on it’s feet singing & dancing. I’ve never heard whistling at the symphony before.

Hot food in hot jars

Yesterday was cold and rainy in The People’s Republic, a drastic change from the Indian Summer we have been enjoying. I swear I saw a few snowflakes mixed in. I admit I skipped the Farmer’s Market for once, in favor of other things. It was the perfect day for canning, unlike all those hot, hot August days I spent bonding with my peaches. One long day of canning it was over 95 sweltering degrees in my kitchen by the time I was done. Yesterday I made up some Blackberry Habanero jam, using the lovely homegrown blackberries Patty shared with me.

I'm in love with my food mill!

I am a seedless jam kinda gal, so the most important step is deseeding the berries. I used to do this the old fashioned way, which was tough on my wrists and took forever. Last year I invested in a food mill to facilitate my canning. I never quite got around to using it for tomatoes, but it’s come in very handy for my jams. It does a bang up job, much more quickly and easily than before – a bit of turning and I’m good to go. Sure, a few seeds made it through the food mill’s screen, but the jam comes out so much smoother than if I hadn’t taken the extra step. I wasn’t a big fan of berry jams as a kid because of all the seeds. No crunchy peanut butter, no crunchy jam… Now I can make it exactly the way I like +smile+. Click for larger images.

Blackberry Habanero jam

Blackberry Habanero Jam

DATE: 10/8/11
FRUIT: organic blackberries, organic habaneros
SOURCE: friend, farmer’s market
RECIPE: see below
YIELD: 2 batches = 8 half pints (4 wide, 4 reg), 16 quarter pints
TASTE: Nice and warm. Great with cream cheese & crackers, makes a nice glaze.


4 ½ cups deseeded blackberries (~3 lbs)
5 cups sugar
2 large habanero peppers, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 box Sure Jell regular pectin (yellow)

Deseed ~ 3lb blackberries, which yields ~ 4 ½ cups juice/pulp

Combine blackberries, lemon juice, & peppers, in heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

Add pectin & boil mixture for 1 min., stirring constantly.

Add all sugar & stir until completely dissolved.

Bring to full, rolling boil for 1 min., stirring constantly.

Remove from heat & skim foam if necessary.

Ladle into hot half pint jars with ¼” headspace.

Close with 2 piece lids. Do not overtighten.

Hot water bath process for 15 mins @ 5000 ft, 10 mins at sea level. Adjust as necessary.

Yields ~ 8 half pints (8 oz jars).

The leftovers

I am, however, left with the pulpy seeds. They still have some blackberry flavor, so I’m hesitant to toss them out. There has to be something I can do with this. Any suggestions?

-the redhead-

9 Comments to “Symphony & a perfect canning day”

  1. May be too late, but you can cover them with vinegar and let them soak, then strain. Use the resulting vinegar to make a berry vinaigrette.

  2. Or vodka! I’m making infused vodkas, so I’ve got it on the brain. ;) In fact, I bet you could even do a simple syrup and strain it and still get lots of berry flavor for cocktails!

  3. Or bourbon. I have had backberry boubon on the brain lately.

    We are having a very blustery day and I plan to stay inside and play with jars.

  4. My chickens are the happy recipients of the seeds from our seedless jam (or Elderberry Juice). I just found your site today (via Food in Jars).

  5. Also if you have one of those blenders like a vitamix you can blend the seeds and drink them – there is so much antioxidants in the seeds!!!

  6. I’ve also used the leftover seed mash, I use my vitamix before straining so the seeds are pretty finely ground, to give myself a very lovely exfoliating facial. Just a tsp or so of the seed mash mixed in with some homemade soap or even just olive oil…or could do clay… Lots of uses for this stuff!

  7. They work well dried and used in a tea blend, great berry flavor

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