That could change later today, at the Jam, Pie and Chili Contest of the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival. My jams or jellies have won second place every year for the past few years, except for only one year when my mother’s peach jam won second place. How embarrassing! Anyway, for some of the past few years, my entries have won both second and third place.
However, none of my jams or jellies have won a first place blue ribbon!
This could be the year!
Will it be? Well, that is doubtful.
Blue elderberry jelly is what most often wins second place, except only when blackberry jelly . . . or my mother’s peach jam . . . is better. Unfortunately, blue elderberries were rather scarce this year, and what I got were not very good. In fact, they were downright bad. Other fruits, such as currants and gooseberries, were too scarce. Dogwood berries did not ripen soon enough.
For this year:
Peach jam looks and tastes great, but is about as chewy as a gummy bear.
Plum jelly is a sloppy mess that tastes sort of burnt.
Elderberry jelly is a bit sloppier, and, as mentioned above, is made with inferior fruit.
Blueberry jam is sort of like preserves. It is not bad. However, it is made from surplus ‘store-bought’ blueberries from a neighbor, instead of from locally grown or collected fruit.
Blackberry jam tastes great, but the seeds are weirdly tough this year, like wooden gravel.
Blackberry jelly is probably the best of the six, but tastes more like sugar than berries.
1. Do you notice anything missing among these few of the several ribbons that have been awarded to our jams and jellies in the past? There is not a single blue ribbon . . . yet. It will be mine!
2. Do you see what else is missing? Of course not. If you could see it, then it would not be missing. It would also be blue; as in the blue elderberries that normally make the ‘second’ best jelly!
3. The native currants were no better. They are never abundant like blue elderberries are, but there are normally more than there were this year. I did not bother looking for gooseberries.
4. Kousa dogwood made plenty of fruit, but it is not ripe yet! Oh well. Ironically, this particular tree might get cut down this winter. The abundant fruit is too messy on the pavement below.
5. Tomatoes are insultingly abundant where they grow wild around the compost piles and on roadsides. I do not need any more stoopid tomatoes! They will not help me win my blue ribbon!
6. Six submissions are ready for the Jam Contest later today: peach jam, plum jelly, elderberry jelly, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, blackberry jelly. I will write about the results tomorrow.
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: