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!90928

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!90928+

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.90928++

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.90928+++

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!90928++++

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.90928+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Still NO Blue Ribbon

  1. Best of luck and I am totally impressed with your jam-making talents. All I can usually manage is cranberry orange relish (not locally grown) around the holidays.

    And wow, would I settle for your stupid tomatoes too! But of course it figures, any place that can grow lawn well enough without supplemental irrigation is horrible for tomatoes.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Impressed? They are just fruit and a lot of sugar! (I actually don’t eat jelly or jam much.) A blue ribbon would be more impressive.
      I so want to grow cranberries, and maybe let them naturalize along the streams. They can not escape into the wild here, because they can not survive without water through summer. No one grows them here.
      When I started using the native elderberries, they were thought to be something fancy, just because no one bothered to use them before. I think that cranberries would have that same allure.
      They guys at work like the tomatoes, but the feral sorts are not as good as garden varieties, but I would hate to waste them.


      1. You know, I think that craving the blue ribbon so intently is more fun that actually winning it would be (not that I have any experience with such matters yet).
        Anyway, I though you misspelled the name of the cultivar of peaches. Vineyard peaches sound more interesting that wasting perfectly good peaches on wine.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The guys at work insisted that jam is better than jelly for blackberries. The flavor really is better, but the texture is the problem. It would be better if I had garden variety blackberries instead of these naturalized Himalayan blackberries. It is not easy to justify planting garden varieties when I do not even maintain the wild canes like I should.


    1. Well, I really have no use for a hot tub or sauna. I just want that blue ribbon!!!!
      With the plums, I typically make jelly rather than jam, with pectin or apple peel added. I do not rely on the pectin in the plums. In the past several years, I used garden variety Japanese plums. I would prefer to use the American plums that naturalized in some spots here from understock of the old prune orchard trees.


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