For the past three years, sometime between late June and mid-July, my husband embraces his hunter-gatherer self. He spends a large portion of his free time picking the black raspberries that grow by the Mississippi River. He comes home, covered in mosquito bites and and scratches from the thorny branches of the raspberry bushes, pleased to pay this price for his spoils.
This year, he's been a bit obsessive about his picking. He's brought home about 2 1/2 gallons of berries. That's more than enough for the raspberry flavored mead and cider he's planning even after the children nibble on bowlfuls. When he suggested that there might be enough for me to make some jam, I said, "YES!"
A brief consultation of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and a few hours in a steamy kitchen with my trusty helper, Charlie, yielded fine results. Jam for the year, virtually for free!