Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Blackberry Jam

About a month ago (I am not sure of the exact date), Seppo and I received a package in the mail. It was no ordinary package. It wasn't something we had ordered, and it wasn't something we were expecting.

It was a gift basket from Michigan.

But wait, you say. You don't know anyone in Michigan! You've never even set foot in Michigan. Ah, young foolish... uh.. fool. Have you never heard of the Internets? Through the magic of The Gamers' Forum, we had developed several meaningful friendships. We conversed with many of them several times a day through TGF & chat (and for Seppo, via XBox Live), saw pictures of their lives & loves via Flickr, and kept up with their angry thoughts or otherwise non-angry lives through their blogs.

Two of them, Chad & Stephanie, sent us a gift basket! And this was no ordinary gift basket, ordered from a cold, impersonal distributor meant for the Average Joe. No, this was a gift basket that had ALL SORTS OF AWESOME SHIZNIT! Oh yes. Packed to the gills of awesome shiznit, personally assembled by these cool-assed people. Some of the items were homemade, and one of those things is what I am reviewing here today.

So Chad had "warned" me via chat that the blackberry jam (from his mom's backyard, no less!) was the best thing in there, and I had no reason to doubt him. But man! Was it good!

I will have to post pictures to do it justice, but from the moment I first opened it up, there was definitely a noticeable difference. I would classify it more of a preserve rather than a jam, but I think the distinction is a regional thing and is debateable. But that's just how I think of it. :D

It was extremely dark and opaque. I could see the texture of the blackberry very clearly as I scooped the first spoonful. That was the first difference. It didn't cleave into a blob or give off a goopy appearance like many jams. It looked more like a scoop of macerated blackberries than any other jam I had had.

Now, I was a little worried before tasting it because I find that most jams & jellies are just way too sweet for me, and I was really cognizant of this being a present that I felt a lot of pressure to like it. I didn't break out in sweat, but I was worried. However, having that first taste, I knew I didn't have to worry about reporting back on the flavor of it. It was great!!!

It was everything I want from a jam, in that it tasted almost exactly like the fresh fruit, except in a more convenient-to-store form. It had a touch of sweetness that tasted really natural, and the very slight tartness of the berries was just enough to make it taste really fresh. It held together better than mashed fresh fruit would, but didn't feel rubbery or gelatine-y at all. I hate the gelatine-y stuff, where you have to crush the jam to get a semi-uniform spread. The fact that it held together just enough meant that you could really slather it on bread without worrying it would be "weepy".

Oh yeah, that was the other component that really made it great: it wasn't weepy at all. I have never made my own jam or preserve, so I don't know what makes things weepy or not, but this was clearly made perfectly in that it felt moist -- no, maybe plump with fruit? -- without feeling wet in any way.

In a word: fantastic.

So far, I've had it with pieces of baguette, on top of a little vanilla ice cream, on toast (with a little butter -- hee hee), on plain oatmeal, and once with cream cheese on crackers. Uh, don't ask me why about the last one. But it held up great in each instance, even w/ the cream cheese, although I have to admit it was a bit odd. :D It was perfect. I also have eaten little tiny teaspoonfuls alone, which I was warned about, but at least I haven't yet found myself with a spoonful in my mouth in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the night, having no idea how I got there. Heh. I haven't made a PB&J sandwich with it yet, mostly because I don't really like to mix the two, as the J component is generally to sweet, but my suspicion is that it'll go great together with PB.

I told Chad that our household gets a lot of fancy schmancy jam as a result of the fancy schmancy grocery connection via Joe, but honestly, this is the best I've had.

Cheers to Chad & Stephanie! And a "w00t!" to his mom!

Thanks guys!


Blogger Angry Chad said...

You're welcome!

I'll definitely be forwarding this along to my mom. She hasn't received a lot of feedback on this particular recipe, because not many people have actually tried it. Her bushes only produce enough to make about 8 jars a season, so only a select few people even know about it (there's a lot of demand for the other stuff she cans). She'll be ecstatic to know you like it.

6:29 AM  

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