I was thrilled when they contacted me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in helping them out. Me?!?! The big Department of Agritourism from our state noticed MY little blog? I jumped at the chance to be involved. So…..they told me they would like for me to travel to Sulphur, Oklahoma to the Sandy Creek Blackberry Farm to pick blackberries and then make some jam and/or jelly with the berries we picked and they would even give me some money to help out with the cost. Wow, I thought I was in heaven!
Last Saturday morning we got up very early and took the family along with a couple of visiting cousins 1-hour south of here to the farm where Valerie Keenan, the owner, and her two very handsome sons Logan and Lane were working away. Valerie’s husband Larry, the co-owner, was away that day. We could see several pickers already out in the patch picking those scrumptious little black juice-filled pops of joy! Valerie gave us a little history on the farm:
Larry grew up on a farm in Velma, Oklahoma and Valerie grew up on a farm right there in Sulphur. They planted their first berry bushes in April of 2013.
Sandy Creek has been open two years and berry picking season it typically from Memorial Day to Independence Day – so there’s plenty of time to get out there over the next few weekends and pick those berries! Now, if you are like me and don’t like the heat and humidity of our Oklahoma summers – don’t worry, they will pick the berries for you – and that’s exactly what we had them do for us because it was already too hot at 9:30 in the morning to be out there long.
It’s $5.50 per lb. if they pick for you but only $3.50 per lb. for you to pick your own.
There are 1500 plants on 1 ½ acres and look how lovely they keep the grounds! No need to worry about chiggers etc… another nice thing is that they keep it so well, wheel chairs and walking assistive devises are easily maneuvered down the rows for those who need special assistance. I highly recommend you go and pick berries soon!
Thanks you Jamie at Oklahoma Agritourism for giving us this opportunity! Now – on to the recipes:
2 premade pie crusts or make your own
6 Cups of fresh blackberries
Juice of one lemon
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Cup of white sugar
Preheat oven to 350F
Place one pie crust in the bottom of an 8×8 square dish or aluminum pan (I used a disposable pan)
Put into oven for 20 minutes and allow crust to bake. I use my pie “marbles” to keep the crust from puffing up.
Gently mix the berries, lemon juice, flour and sugar together and pour into bottom crust.
Place the second pie crust on top, make a few small knife cuts in the top because you want steam to escape.
Brush the top crust with either melted butter or a beaten egg with a tablespoon of water.
Put back in the oven and cook for an hour, turn pan around ½ way 30 minutes in.
If it starts getting too brown on top, put some foil over top – but we didn’t have any trouble at all.
Let it cool for about two hours and serve alone or with ice cream like I did!
15 cups of fresh blackberries in a big pot or Dutch oven filling with water about ½ way up the depth of berries.
On medium heat bring to just a simmer.
Take off stove and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, dip out some berries, put them in a food mill and run it around until you feel the good part is in the bowl and the seeds and other parts are left in the food mill. **this will not get rid of ALL the seeds but it will get rid of most of them**
After all the berries are put through the food mill, you should have about 6 cups of berries.
Begin pouring the berry juice left in the Dutch oven through a strainer and then cheese clothes several times. This should leave you with about 3 cups of pretty purple blackberry juice that is clear to see through.
Put your 6 cups of berry pulp into a clean Dutch oven with 1 package of powdered pectin, I use Sure-Jell.
Stir over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil then add 7 cups of sugar all at once and stir, stir, stir and continue stirring.
When it comes to a rolling boil, continue stirring but you may want to put on an oven mitt at this time and allow the rolling boil to go on for 1 full minute.
Remove from burner and ladle into jelly jars – this should make about 9 cups – screw the lids on tight and then process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes.
After you have finished that, pour the 3 cups of berry juice into a clean Dutch oven along with ½ a package of Sure-Jell and stir to a rolling boil then add in 2 ½ Cups of white sugar all at once and continue stirring to another rolling boil. Allow the boil to go for 1 minute then take off burner and ladle into jelly jars – should make about 4 cups – and process in a hot watch bath for 5-10 minutes.
Both Jam and Jelly should set up within 24 hours.