Along the Grapevine

Bear with me!



I forage mostly within the confines of our property, except for the odd sortie beyond, usually for plants growing in wetlands. Lately I have gone a few feet beyond our property to a vacant, unused field next door for which I have been given permission to trespass. However, another has recently moved in – one who is a much more serious forager than I and who does not understand that foraging should be done sustainably and with consideration for others. I hope this new tenant does not stay too long, but am reassured that at least by winter he will have lumbered off to hibernate.

I have not seen him, although his relatives have been spotted only a few hundred metres from our house. I had seen his tracks around my favourite raspberry bushes, but wrongly assumed it was from a deer or raccoon. I shan’t be competing with him for these berries – and if I do I will take my trusty bear horn.


An intrepid houseguest did get uncomfortably close to him, and warned me not to venture much beyond our driveway. I’m not arguing.

Nonetheless, the berries this year are better than I have seen them since we moved here, so I take what I can and where I can. I have enough to make several delicious recipes, beginning with one for pectin-free black raspberry jam.

As this recipe is lower in sugar and acid than most jams, I am not recommending it for canning. In a well sealed container it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge or can be frozen.


I started by mashing the berries in a pot with a potato masher to extract all the juice I could. For each cup of berries I added one cup of organic sugar plus 1 Tbsp of crabapple paste or dulce de manzana silvestre. This helps thicken it with its natural pectin. A quince paste would work just as well.

Bring to a boil for five minutes and simmer for a further fifteen minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. That’s it! Pour into clean jars and seal. The mixture will thicken when cool. It is excellent as a jam, tart filling or topping for ice cream.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

13 thoughts on “Bear with me!

  1. Hilda,
    Love the bear horn:)
    The color and texture of that jam looks simply delicious and am imagining the aroma in your kitchen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks. I’ve seen some recipes that call for straining half the berries to get rid of some of the seeds, but then you lose some of those delicious seeds!


  3. Imagine straining the seeds! Sacrilege! Your jam is BEAUTIFUL.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beary scary Hilda. Give him a wide berth. The bear always wins. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They are your berries. Berry berry much your own. No one can take it against your will. And that beautiful aroma from your jam must be even more tempting for that trespasser Hilda. Keep your horn close by your jam bottles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I Love berries enough to take my chances if I had to. I wonder if carrying a radio that is playing would help, too. Keep meaning to try a jam or jelly with home-made apple pectin but haven’t gotten to that yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A radio that is loud enough might work. I think hikers are advised to talk loudly as they walk. The horn is really loud and easy to carry. I hope you get around to trying the home-made pectin.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sigh for the situation you got there, Hilda. Hope things get better. But at least this jam recipe is a winner. I am going to try your method someday. Thank you for sharing, lady 🙂


  8. Pingback: A Forager’s Red and Blue Salad | Along the Grapevine

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