I spent a rare cool morning for this part of the country at a blackberry patch in Louisburg, KS this past week. After two hours I had about seven quarts of berries.
For my afternoon activity I canned my pick because the freezer is full. While the canned berries cooled on the counter I got a haircut. My hairdresser asked how I canned the berries. She’d never done it before. This is what I told her:
“It’s simple really. While the quart jars, lids, and bands are in the dishwasher, make a medium syrup of one cup sugar to two cups water for every quart you plan to can. Wash the berries.
“When the jars are hot out of the dishwasher fill the jars with drained berries. Fill the jar to within one-half inch of the top with the syrup and put the lids on. Screw the bands firmly tight.
“Put a tea towel in the bottom of a pan deep enough to cover the jars with water. Bring the water with the jars to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Pull the jars out of the water immediately and set them on the counter to cool. They will seal as they cool.
“After a couple hours push the tops. If you can’t push the lid in, they’re sealed. If they didn’t seal you can put them back in water and cook them again or refrigerate the unsealed jars. It’s just that simple.”
I had one that didn’t seal so I had to bake a pie with it. I’d show you a picture of the pie but it’s gone–melted like an ice cube on a sidewalk in July.
If you have trouble with pie crusts here’s the recipe I always use. It rolls out like soft play dough.
Directions for pie crust:
Set oven at 450.
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon brown sugar
1 lb (2 very generous cups) lard (I use solid Crisco—not butter flavored.)
Mix these ingredients together with a pastry mixer or two forks until blended.
Then mix together:
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg, slightly beaten
Water to make up to ¾ cup
Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Mix it until it sticks together. Don’t handle the dough too much. It will make the crust tough. Form the dough into 5 balls. Keep out how many balls you need. Put the others in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator to use later. You can store the unused portion up to a month.
Wet the counter with a slightly wet sponge and lay a waxed paper down. Place a balled handful of dough on the waxed paper. Now put another waxed paper on top and roll out each crust you need. Peel the top waxed paper off. Place the pie pan upside down on the rolled out dough, slip your hand under the waxed paper and flip both the pie pan and the dough over. Peel the waxed paper off the dough. For a single crust pie, crimp the edges and bake at 450 degrees 10-12 minutes.
For a double-crust fruit pie, roll out the first dough, then fill the pie with fruit. Sprinkle about a cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of corn starch over the fruit. Put a tablespoon of butter on top of the sugar and place a second crust on top. Cut a few holes in the top with a knife. Crimp the top and bottom edges together. Bake according to pie recipe directions. (For a double crust pie set the oven at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.)
Let the pie sit a few minutes to cool if you can wait. Enjoy!
If you want other yummy recipes check out my cook book Family Favorites in the Heartland.
My titles are available on Amazon.com here.
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