From the Front Yard: One Small Jar of Juneberry Jam

Last week I showed you an unexpected, unusual bounty of fruit right in my front yard: A small tree of juneberries (also known as serviceberry, shadbush, and saskatoon). My tree was loaded down with small, sweet berries, so I did the only logical thing and preserved some of them in a small pot of jam.

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I went out to the tree and picked berries for half an hour, craning my neck up into the green branches, getting a few squawking fly-bys from birds who didn't seem happy to have a poacher in their territory. I picked berries, all warm from the sun, and even though they seemed spread out and thin on the tree at first, this was deceptive. I pulled in handfuls, ending up with about a pound and a half of ripe juneberries.

I took them inside and washed them, picking out the stems and a few withered berries. Then I cooked them down with sugar and a dribble of water.

I overcooked them just a bit; these have quite a lot of pectin in them, so they didn't need to cook much. They made a sweet, rich jam, nutty with the small seeds in the berries, and tasting ever so slightly of almond, cherry, and apple. My husband slathered it on his toast the next morning; he has already made quite a dent in this batch.

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This sweet, short jam-making adventure was a reminder again of how easy it can be to preserve a smidge of summer's bounty. When making jam, it's best to think small. Just make a little batch; just a jar or two won't take over your kitchen.

I was lucky; this fruit was right in my front yard. Maybe you'll find some fruit hanging around the neighborhood, or a pint of extra-ripe strawberries for half off at the farmers market. Pick it up, cook it down — enjoy summer's sweet taste into fall.

Are you making jam or preserves this summer?

Related: Sweet Surprise in the Front Yard: Juneberries!

(Images: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.