Maybe I shouldn't have taken the lazy way out of making jam by trying to make freezer jam instead of cooked jam. Or maybe I should have just Googled for awhile before following the recipe included with the Cert-O pectin; after all, my instincts were cringing at the mountain of sugar I was setting aside (per very specific directions on Cert-O insert). That way I would have known how many options are out there for making jam that don't rely on pounds of sugar.
Whatever the error, I'm sitting here now trying not to cry.
8 cups of beautiful, perfect mulberries, picked over the course of a couple weeks, now sit imprisoned in a sickeningly sweet ....gel? Slime? The texture is so thick and gritty and weird I'm having trouble coming up with an analogy. This sugar concoction has not only ruined my mulberries, it is using up precious jar space. I'm trying to think of a way to use up this sweet mess, but I'm wondering if I'll end up dumping it all. The latter option seems inconceivable. :(
I had wanted to try the recipe that follows this post. I've been reading a lot about jams that don't use commercial pectin, and I was so game for it. But, I was feeling lazy. And I just so happened to have an extra box of Cert-O in the pantry (which worked beautifully with the sour cherries, and probably would have been beautiful with my mulberries had I not been too lazy to get out the cooking gear).
At any rate, we all need lessons in humility, and here was one for me. I've been experiencing a lot of 'beginner's luck' with so many of my projects lately, that failure was bound to happen eventually. Instead of the deep, dark, subtly-sweet, mulberry flavored jam seen in the jar (almost gone, as you can see) at the right, I'm left with 7 jars of gloppy, crystal-ly reddish sugar. With some mulberries chunks hiding out here and there. It occurred to me that maybe freezer jam is supposed to turn out like that, but I doubt it. Something had to be wrong with the way I read the instructions. If that is what freezer jam is, I'm not interested!
I am looking for ideas to NOT waste these mulberries. Craig said I should try mixing the 'jam' (I don't think this stuff deserves the name) with fresh berries and making some pie. I thought about using a couple spoonfuls to stir into plain yogurt, then freezing into pops. I won't pout for long, I'll figure out a way to make it right. The horribly sweet concoction will not go into the trash. While I'm at it, with this 'glass is half full' attitude, I will go ahead and say that all the fun I had collecting the berries with the kids is absolutely worth having an epic fail. :)
Following is the recipe I'll be trying the next time I have a harvest of mulberries. In-- *gulp* --a year from now. Lessons learned with the seasons can be hard to swallow, since there is no re-do until the season comes around again. The mulberries are essentially over with for the summer. Maybe if I can find a great deal on some blackberries, or if a vendor at the farmer's market still miraculously has mulberries in the next week or two, I will snatch them up to test the recipe out.
In the meantime, I'll try hard not to feel utterly sick over the failed fate of those perfect mulberries!