Monday, 5 July 2010

Free Bramble Jam

KorganIconAs honorary members of the Slow Cycle Club, Whitney and I often find useful things in our neighbourhood.

We're currently living in Conway, AR and this is a car-dominant city. The advantage to us is that, on foot and on bicycles, we find so much useful, hidden stuff around here that you simply can't see from a car. Our bicycles are the key to a more useful and intimate second city. This is true of all cities, I'm sure, but it's especially welcome to us here.

On one of our meandering bicycle routes, I found bramble bushes. When I was a kid in Scotland, my family would go bramble picking and then my grandmother would make it into pies or cobblers. Discovering bramble bushes here is awesome.

We only managed to grab one jar full of berries, but it was enough to make about 3/4 of a jar of jam.

I always thought jam was complicated but it really isn't. Mash some berries, add some sugar, boil it until it reaches 104 °C/220 °F (about the same time that you think to yourself, "is this going to explode?") and then pour it into a sterile jar. I added some ginger and some lemon juice to it too. That's it: awesome jam in less than 20 minutes.

It's about 3 parts berries, 2 parts sugar.


  1. When you said that being on foot or bike opens up a secret world -- it made me think of this really super public art project in NYC this summer.

    Real keys are being given out at kiosks that unlock hidden or secret places.

    Wouldn't it be interesting if a similar project was held in Conway. Though, I don't know what the keys would open up ---

  2. Hey Meg,

    Geocaching is a similar project to the one you referenced, without the art pretence. Geocaching is fairly active in Conway already, and has been for a number of years. We went out on a couple of nights and found a cache filled with personal items like notes, photographs, little cracker toys and pens.

    The cache's log dated back several years which was surprising. To think a massive, secret game of hide and seek had been going on around us for so long, was a nice surprise.