True confession: I love other people's homemade jam (OPJ). Mine is good, but there is a little extra something that comes with other people's. So, last week when Christmas was approaching, the Wild Blueberry Jam from Christmas 2009 was almost gone. The few last berries were clinging to the bottom of the jar. Sadly, there was just enough left for one last piece of buttered toast. And after that? We have frozen berries from last summer, but hadn't made them into jam yet. The alternative was store bought jam made with high fructose corn syrup. Christmas Eve couldn't come soon enough.
I don't know why OPJ is so much better. Although I bought Rosehip Rhubarb Jam from the Montessori students and Salmonberry Jam from the Audubon Society, what I was really craving was the jam that my longtime neighbors make. Not only are all of their preserves heavenly, but they are generous with the fruits of their labor too. Every Christmas I look forward to my Christmas jam.
And when Christmas Eve finally arrived and I held the precious jar in my hands, I was happy. This year, it's a luscious mixture of healthy blueberry, hard-to-pick nagoonberry, and delicate thimbleberry. I won't open it right away. There's a lot of love in each jar: hours of picking, sorting, cleaning, cooking, and canning. That must be the little extra "something." Thank you, dear neighbors!