Thursday, February 24, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

So my favorite thing this week is Thimbleberry Jam.

This is jam made from a wild berry (Thimbleberry) that grows in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.   It may grow in other places as well -- I'm not sure.

The berries are seedy like blackberries.  They are tart, not sweet like raspberries -- however, if you pick (and eat) when they are not quite ripe, they are quite sweet.  

When I was a child, my family vacationed in Eagle Harbor, Michigan (in Michigan's Upper Peninsula).  We (my siblings and I) used to go berry picking (under duress) with my mother, grandmother, and great aunt.  We would fill old milk cartons with the berries.  As the youngest, I probably didn't fill mine, but that was the idea.  One thing to note, with thimbleberries, the more berries you pick, the more they compress, so filling the milk carton is nearly impossible (wish I had a picture to share about this).  Anyway, after the berries were picked, we would go back to the Harbor.  My siblings and I would go out and play.  My mother, grandmother, and great aunt would go to the cottage and pick through the berries and make the jam.

(image from here - berry making in 2010)

This past summer, my husband and I vacationed in Eagle Harbor with my sisters, my oldest sister's kids (minus 1), and my other sister's youngest daughter.  I hoped we would pick enough thimbleberries to make jam for everyone and then some.  

(image from here - me picking berries)

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.  Either there weren't enough berries or there weren't enough pickers. I'm not complaining about the pickers, really, I just would have liked to have had more jam.  I ended up going to the Wood'n Spoon and buying some from Bruce so that we could have some thimbleberry jam this winter.  

Anyway, that's my favorite this week.  To see what others' favorites are, please stop by QIMP.


Sara said...

I can't promise it doesn't grow *anywhere* else, but I've never heard of it, or seen anything that looks like it in South Australia.

P. said...

Great post! Makes me want to (a) eat thimbleberry jam (never heard of it before), and (b) revisit the U.P.! Loved it when we vacationed there several years ago.

Katie said...

I second this favorite YUM. I also favorite the UP.

Kate said...

I've never heard of thimbleberries. Love your pictures of them, they are such a nice bright color.

Nanci said...

I have loads of these at the cottage but never thought to make jam with them. Next summer though as I can now walk up the hill to pick them.
What a good FTF!

Janice said...

An here I thought Thimbleberry was only a fabric. That is too cool. I will have to see if I can buy some jam somewhere.

Thanks for sharing

Logopaedchen/Kirsten said...

Looks delicious...maybe I have to come visit one day and try it :-))

Shay said...

I'd never heard of thimbeberry jam (I wonder why they're called thimbleberries ) But they look delicious and a little bit like mulberries.

Loved the jam making picture and the picture of you tramping through the woods berry picking. When we were kids my Mum used to make us go blackberry picking for jam I hated it.

Thanks for sharing. I love finding out what people eat in other places.

Marg said...

I've never heard of it either, but it looks and sounds delicious.
We also used to go blackberry picking when we were kids, I didn't mind it as I love blackberries.

Kirsten's Cooking said...

that jam is gorgeous!

I'm glad that you were able to find some at a fruit stand - with all those thistles, that would have been my first stop!

but at least you got your nostalgic fix by picking with your friends!

Happy Birthday, MLW II !!

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