I’ve been making Summerberry Jam for many years, and it’s always so very popular with family and friends, including our gorgeous grandson, Cooper. So whenever our son, Christopher and his family visit, or we visit them, I make sure that I replenish their supplies from our larder.
Earlier this year, Cooper commenced his first year at primary school. At the end of the first week I traveled to Melbourne to pick him up from school and take him home – Isn’t that what all Grannies do? Travel two and a half hours just to pick up their grandson from school? What a treat to see his little face light up as I approached his classroom door, and oh how grown up he looked in his school uniform.
As I drove him back to his dad’s home we chatted about his day and I asked him what he’d had for lunch. He told me that he’d had a jam sandwich. I asked if he had red jam in his sandwich (that is what he used to call it), to which he promptly replied “I had YOUR jam in my sandwich!”.
Recently we were blessed to have Cooper come and stay with us during the school holidays. It was a wonderful time. He helped us cart the firewood,
and we made a jungle garden in an old baking dish so that he could play with his animals in the jungle.
Then he helped me make a special garden in an oversized wine glass that I had found at the local Op Shop, St J’s, here in Maffra, he loved the texture of the sand and then carefully placed the pebbles in for me.
A trip to river was a great source of entertainment, clear shallow water and rubber boots, his bow and lots of stones and rocks, just what a little boy needs to keep him entertained.
We also visited a local alpaca farm and a pig farm and experimented with flowers and food colouring to see how the flowers changed colour as they took up liquid from the vessels that they rested in.
Every night, after dinner he would have a bath and get ready for bed, and then we would all sit in front of the open fire and read books – this is such a special treat for me.
Breakfast every day was either jam on toast or jam sandwich to which I discovered I could add on the side a good helping of fresh fruit. Lunch almost every day was jam sandwich as well! When at Granny and Papas… We would sit with him and discuss what we should have for our evening meal, so we had sausages and veg, lamb cutlets and veg, chicken schnitzel with chips and veg, homemade pizza and on the last night nachos. He helped to decide on the meals and the vegetables that we had with them. Pizza night was a fun meal in front of the open fire where he and his papa had a race to see who could eat the most pizza – Cooper had ham with fresh pineapple, Papa had a ham and salami pizza.
The final night, with Christopher here, dinner was a simple meal of nachos, homemade chilli con carne, guacamole, etc, again eaten in front of the fire so that we could watch a special broadway musical. I was amazed and delighted to observe how much Cooper enjoyed the show. It was not a children’s show, but he could not take his eyes off it and was asking relevant questions about what was happening throughout. Of course with intermission, comes supper – Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake, made with Cooper’s assistance,
Apple Tart and some rather rustic looking marshmallows that we’d made!
The final morning as we were having breakfast, Cooper looked over to me and asked “so what should we have for dinner tonight?”, I replied, “you won’t be here for dinner tonight, as you are going home”. He promptly responded, “no I’m not!”.
Finally we had to say our goodbyes and waved as Christopher, Cooper and their supply of jam headed back home to Melbourne.
A couple of weeks later I decided it was time to make some more room in the freezer and pulled out all the excess berries that I’d frozen down over the summer. With the pot boiling on the stove,
it occurred to me that I needed to re-name my Summerberry Jam… It shall now be called Cooper’s Jam – Jam made with loads of love.
- 1 kg mixed berries strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.
- 800 g sugar
Layer the berries and sugar in a large basin, cover with a clean cloth and leave to macerate for 24 hours, mushing them together occasionally.
Pour the berry and sugar mixture into a large pan and bring to the boil very slowly, stirring frequently.
Then boil fast until setting point is reached.
Remove from heat and skim off any scum that may have formed on the top.
Pour the hot jam into warm, sterilised jars and seal.
When cool, label and date.
Store in a dark cool place.
The simplest method for checking for a good set is to place a saucer in the freezer so that it is very cold. When you think the jam is ready, place a little on the saucer and leave it until it cools down before running your finger through the middle of the jam, the surface should wrinkle and the jam should not run back and fill the track your finger has made.