This was supposed to be a single post about raspberries, but it’s turned into a three-part series, and this is the introduction, so bear with me. It will either conclude awesomely, or you will find me on my kitchen floor in tears. Or, “Canning: Act 1.”

Inspiration.Grace is a bit of a keener. She canned cherries, which takes actual work and know-how and a cherry pitter, and while I am not to be outdone, I don’t want to try too hard because it’s uncomfortably hot in here, sweaty hot, and I figure I can make jam and have that be plenty good enough. And you know what kind of fruit is perfect for a full-mouth flavoursplosion that you don’t have to peel or pit anything for? Raspberries. We’re in July now, kids, and raspberries are plentiful. So our berry-picking team – Grace, James, and I, now plus Nick – travelled forty minutes to Langley to pluck bucketfuls this week’s fruit obsession.

I Pick!
I Pick!
Nick, Grace, and James read the rules.
Nick, Grace, and James read the rules.

Also, not stated but implied, "Don't have too much fun. If you're having the kind of fun that causes you to shriek gleeful obscenity into the fields, please keep it PG13. There are little people everywhere, and you will not see them until after you've said something terrible but kind of awesome."
Also, not stated but implied, "Don't have too much fun. If you're having the kind of fun that causes you to shriek gleeful obscenity into the fields, please keep it PG13, even if you think you're hilarious."

And so we picked raspberries, which was the plan. At first it looked like everything had been picked over, and we were a bit despondent, but that’s the thing about raspberries. To get the good ones, you have to look under the leaves, and that’s where you find berries so ripe that just the swipe of your fingers invites them to pop off into your hand and they’re so juicy and red that just the touch of your skin causes them to eke scarlet summer perfume all over your palm, and if you can get them to your mouth in one piece you’ll find that it’s the most perfect flavour you’ve ever let melt on your tongue.

Nick picks.
Nick picks.
Juicy.
Juicy.

And they’re so big! Nothing like the tiny little things you buy at $4.99 for those dinky green paper half-pint containers that usually contain at least three rotten ones, which you don’t find until after you get home and company’s on the way so there’s nothing you can do. No. These were big and fat, and surprisingly inexpensive.

And so we picked, and Nick threw unripe ones at me which is against the rules and ate twice as many as ended up in the bucket which is also not encouraged, and James went shirtless and was ravaged by the branches, and I was awesome and well-behaved and didn’t say anything inappropriate except for a few times but most likely no one heard me, and Grace picked meticulously and only found perfect berries because she has a knack for that, and patience, and the inappropriate things she said were way worse than the things I said, so there.

I'm trying to show you how big the berry is and also I should probably have worn a bra.
I'm trying to show you how big the berry is and also I should probably have worn a bra.

But that’s not all. No. We got the raspberries, and had a great time playing outside … AND THEN WE GOT CURRANTS! Which means that raspberry picking came with a bonus round, and so now in addition to a recipe for raspberry jam, I am going to figure out jelly making, and that’s why this thing will take place in three parts, as opposed to one long, rambling, generally incoherent celebration of summer fruit. And I’ve never really done this on my own and unsupervised before, but I’ve bought or borrowed everything I need to make it work, so how hard can it be, right? And the good news is, if I can do it, any idiot can. And if it fails? You can totally just buy jam.

I expect that by the end of the week, we’ll all be happy little badgers surrounded by piles of vanilla bean scones smeared with fresh raspberry jam, or brie dripping with red currant jelly and baked in puff pastry, and nothing will ever feel more right. Stay tuned!

I know, right?
I know, right?
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