This is a submission to a blog jump. To see the other entries, go to http://www.sustainableeats.com/2010/08/25/simple-lives-thursday-august-25/
I live in the Pacific Northwest. I'm always amazed that blogging has no borders, so let me explain. Blackberries grow as a weed here, everywhere that is untended. It can be quite a problem if you own land that isn't regularly stomped or grazed on. They grow in unfortunate places, thick. Little critters hide in them just waiting scare the pants off of little kids.
After you've picked all that you can reach, you notice that there are many just beyond reach, high and low, through the stickers. Grandpa used to take a big board (like a sheet of plywood) and lay it down across the blackberry vines, then stomp it flat. We'd climb on the boards, the more of us the better, and pick berries. Then grandpa or one of the boys would come along and move the board. I love free food. And I love all the experiences you have teetering away standing on the board picking blackberries.
Okay, so I bought these blackberries from Bizi farms, but I've picked like this many Augusts. Back when I was poor and single, I made it every year among other things because it made good hostess gifts and other small gifts and because everyone loves it. The way I do it isn't fancy, but stuff that works often isn't.
Crush the berries in a large bowl with a potato masher. Run 1/4 to 1/2 of the berries through a food mill to remove extra seeds. Discard unwanted seeds.
Ladel into prepared jars. I recommend running all jars through the dishwasher as part of the Mis En Place thing. Then, you know they are very clean and spider free.
I'm not too particular about the bands. They never touch food.
This makes me deliriously happy, so feel free to enjoy the process. The rubber of the lid needs to be firmly against the rim of the jar. The band holds it in place until it seals.
Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Set a timer and remove them when the timer goes off. The water level should be just at or just above the top of the jars. The water should be a full boil. Don't worry about the pot. I use my largest stock pot. Don't go out and buy something unless you really don't have a large heavy pot; then you need one.
Careful with yourself. Use pot holders and lifter tools. Remember to make a memory.