Tonight’s meal of homemade blackberry jam, Rustica beer bread, Bent River Camembert and Michigan blueberries began with just blackberries, a big bowl of them sitting on my countertop. I already had another bowl’s worth of them freezing on a baking sheet in my chest freezer. And there were more ready to be picked, giant blackberries and more than I’ve ever had in years past. It was time to make jam.
So I headed off to work at the co-op the next morning with my empty jar for sugar. All I needed to get for the night’s project was lemons (for extra pectin in
the jam), sugar and jar lids.
But along the way that day, my list started growing. I get some insider information by working for the co-op: like knowing the exact moment the Michigan blueberries arrive, or that Rustica bakery has beer bread every Wednesday. So after work, my shopping cart was filled with Bent River Camembert, made with grass fed organic milk from Cedar Summit Dairy [Which may or may not be going on sale in August for Eat Local Month, hint, hint], the first Michigan blueberries that arrived minutes before, and a loaf of dark and crusty Rustica beer bread. How could I resist? I didn’t know I was going to eat these together until I started making the jam.
Making jam isn’t always pretty. There’s fruit splashing everywhere, towels stacked up and lots of testing spoons. Not to mention the heat.
So in the moment of jamming, and the mess, sometimes I lose track of dinnertime and have to make a meal of jam. This is how beer bread with blackberry jam was born. Partly because it was the only bread in the house and partly because blackberries and beer sound fantastic together, I started my meal with dipping beer bread in the jammy-foam that was skimmed off the top of the simmering jam.
Then I started thinking about that Camembert in the fridge. It has a grassy flavor this time of year, from the cows grazing on fresh pasture. It’s just the flavor to insert between the malty, rich beer bread with the bright, sweet-tart jam. Perfect.
I was just starting to feel guilty about eating mostly sugar and cheese for dinner when I remembered those Michigan blueberries. Adding fruit rounded everything out and made me feel a lot better about my dinner choices. Nothing like a handful of antioxidants to brighten up a meal.
The blackberry jam is cooling now and my pieced-together dinner is long gone. The kitchen’s still a mess, but that’s okay. It’s summer.
Your kitchen should get messy this Saturday- It’s Can It Forward Day!