When I was in junior high, one very cold P.E. class, we were told to dress out anyway. 35° wasn’t freezing, after all, was the coach’s reasoning. So, we dressed out and headed to the grassy field for kickball. Yeah, you guessed it. I got the bright red ball right up side my head and the nearly freezing temperature magnified the pain. I hated P.E.
The mayhaws hit me in the head yesterday, as I gathered them from the blue tarps. I like mayhaw season a whole lot better. Two gallons of berries netted juice in the freezer. Mayhaw jelly, mayhaw syrup for tea or homemade soda or mayhaw ice cream. Yes, yes, way better. Peh-tunt, peh-tunt….
Earlier in the year I put up mayhaws in quart size freezer bags, for later jelly making. Today, I thought, would be the day to fill the jelly cupboard. Well…
I have been extremely tired, TIREDall week. It’s Saturday and the bed was really comfortable. Marigold needed to go out at 6 this morning, but I went back to bed. Just A few minutes more of sleep, I told myself. Didn’t get up till a quarter to 9. I never sleep that late. Guess I needed the extra rest.
The usual big farmhouse breakfast was skipped this morning. Marigold missed her Saturday bacon.
Anyway, I gathered supplies to make the jelly, placed the berries in the Dutch oven to cook down. Being tired, I had trouble staying focused. Multitasking is usually my strong suit, but I got distracted and the berries burned, stuck to the pot burned. Cue the sad music.
Sad for a minute, all was not lost. Juice in the freezer was put in a freshly cleaned Dutch oven and I started over. And now my jelly cupboard runneth over.
If you’ve read theexileskitchen the last few years, you probably know that I am a fan of Mayhaws. I was thrilled to find the remains of an archord on the small piece of property I bought back in 2016 and really excited that it contained two Mayhaw trees. Each Spring when they begin budding and then setting fruit, I get super jazzed about the upcoming jelly making days. Mayhaw jelly is such a pretty pink, with a flavor of strawberry/apple.
Doing some research today, for other Mayhaw recipes, didn’t net much success. I did, however, find the nutritional information on this tiny red fruit.
You can Google Mayhaw facts for yourself; LSU Agricultural Department has great information on this fruit tree found in our native Southern states.
After I have a years worth of jelly in the pantry, I will put up jars of juice for teas and Lemon/Mayhawade. For my supper beverage this evening, I mixed into my sweetened iced tea 2 tablespoons of mayhaw juice. It was a refreshing berry-tasting tea.
Sorry this video is sideways. I cant figure out how to edit it. Check local farmer’s markets for Mayhaws this time of year. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to snag this superfood.
(I promise. This is the last time I write about mayhaws… This year. Simple recipe: 4 cups juice, 1 box Sure-Jell, 2 pat butter, 5 cups sugar)
Mayhaw season is coming to a close. Sigh. Yesterday I shook the tree one more time. I pruned it too. Due to years of neglect, branches have crisscrossed each other. Not a good thing. You want lateral branches on your fruit trees with room for air to get to each branch. The old mayhaw is also covered in lichen, which tells me the tree is in distress and needs to be fertilized. Even still, the old gal produced lots of berries this year. I was able to make three batches of jelly in the last two weeks.
This final gathering was a little slim on mayhaws, but the huckleberries are making. So, I supplemented my pot with the tiny blueberry-like fruit. While picking huckleberries, my eldest son called me.
The conversation went something like this:
“Heeeey! Whatcha you doing?”
“I shook the mayhaw tree one last time, but I don’t think there’s enough to make another pot of jelly, so I’m picking huckleberries to add to them.” I told him.
“Huckleberries? Are you sure that’s what they are?” he questioned.
“Yes, son. I tasted a few last week, when I noticed them making and I haven’t gotten sick. No belly cramps. Not throwing up or running to the bathroom.”
“Oh, okay. Good deal.”
My sons; They have their mama’s back… always looking out for me.
After jelly making, I cleaned house. The afternoon sun slid in through the parlor windows and warmed up the pine floors. It was such a peaceful afternoon. The birds sang all around me, as I repotted day lilies and roses on the side porch.
We almost had a new grandbaby last night. My middle son’s wife was having some pretty intense contractions around 11 p.m. Off to the hospital they went, as I stayed with my sleeping #1 grandson. But the hospital sent her home. So, we’re just sitting on go. Anytime now. I think I’ll nickname my new grandson ‘Huckleberry’.
“Who’s Mandy’s little Huckleberry?” I’ll ask.
“I’m your Huckleberry,” he’ll answer in a sweet toddler voice.
I wonder what his parents will have to say about that?
As I told my eldest, before the rain chased me back to the house and ended our phone call yesterday; I’m having fun. Life is fun again, full again. And there’s always room for more family and friends- at my table, in my house, and in my life!
Today was the first time I’ve made jelly in the Exile’s New Kitchen. Mayhaw Jelly: such a sweet, rosey red. I taste tested with a wheat cracker. Yum!
I’ve got a thing for canning jars. I didn’t need any new jelly jars, but I saw these small, squatty, wide mouth made by Kerr and thought, ‘Oh, why not?’ Plus, a straight-sided, wide mouth jar will make it easier to scrape out every bit of Mayhaw jelly.
Mayhaw Jelly, April 2018, from the Jam Pot at Flowers Proper.