Berries are the bookends of summer in my mind. The season starts with strawberries and ends with blackberries and raspberries (with blueberries filling up the middle).

August was for berry picking. After dinner my dad would hand Manda and I a bucket or bowl and send us out to collect blackberries and raspberries that my mom would turn into the most delicious homemade jellies. I loved her jellies but hated picking berries. There were so many thorns and bees! None of my friends spent their evenings slaving away picking berries. Though I do admit picking berries was preferrable to practicing the piano or doing homework. It also made for a great dessert. Pick a few. Eat a few. Pick a few. Eat a few.

Two berries of the Rubus genus. The red one to...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of our efforts paid off when mom made jelly. Every year she made dozens, if not hundreds, of jars of blackberry and raspberry and strawberry jelly. To this day I cannot eat store-bought jelly. I just can’t do it. Nothing will ever measure up to mom’s homemade goodness. (If you are looking to make jam or jelly, I highly recommend using Pomona’s Pectin. It is different from traditional pectins in that it is activated by calcium rather than sugar so you can make low- or even no-sugar spreads. I made two peach jams last year using Pomona’s and they were wonderful!)

Summer berries.

Summer berries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good berries are worth their weight in gold. They are sweet and juicy and wonderful. And good for you! But they are on the dirty dozen list so be sure to buy organic.


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