I spent Thursday afternoon making Blackberry Jam, dotting the kitchen walls with purple and catching the stove on fire. One moment I stirred my cauldron of sweetness, a proud grin creasing my lips (after all, I was making jelly from scratch, the berries picked by my own hands--I couldn't help but be proud of my hard-core womanly self!) and the next I watched as delicious berry juice spumed from the edges of my pot, a fruity lava collecting on the stove top and dripping onto the floor.
Hoping the absorb the liquid, I grabbed a kitchen cloth and moved quickly between the stove and the sink, cursing lost juices and burnt jam. Perhaps it was the curses, or perhaps it was just fate (namely, beginners' incompetence) but as my back was turned, the juices turned yellowish-orange in flame and I did what any naive fire-stomper would do-- I flooded the stove with water, lots and lots of water. My ["Captain Bill" the firefighter] husband arrived home to find me jumping up and down and waving my arms through the air in a futile attempt to settle smoke. After surveying the colorful mess with a chuckle, he recommended that next time I put out a kitchen fire I use salt or baking soda, something to smother it as grease fires doused in water can explode.
Despite this adventurous mishap, the jam turned out to be quite tasty. We preserved two pints for ourselves and filled a dozen tiny canning jars to send to friends:
Next time I'd like to try a recipe without pectin, perhaps using honey as a sweetener but for a first attempt, I recommend the recipes found at the following link: http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm