very berry american summer

23 Jul

It’s hot.

It’s very hot.

I’m not going to complain, though. Our weather has volleyed between 65 degree highs and 95 degrees highs, rather bipolar. And when it was cooler, I was very loudly unhappy about it not feeling like summer. Something out there must have heard me, because here we are.

The heat has some benefits, though, one of which being ripe fruit. My canning kick has continued… and continued… and I’m onto my ninth variety of jam! I’m going to try to take a break until fall, when I’ll start in on the butters (apple butter, pear butter and pumpkin butter). So far, one of the funnest parts of making jam has been gathering the fruit, meaning field trips to pick it.

My friend Sandy and I recently went blueberry picking, which was quite fun and scenic.

blueberry bunch

I picked about 13 lbs. for jam and freezing. Well, and eating too, of course.

blueberry bucket

After filling our buckets with blueberries, we moved onto marionberries.

blue- marion berries

We met a cute little friend along the way. He was about the size of a half-dollar.


This little guy was living the good life at the large, bountiful farm we were picking at, hanging out in the shade on a very hot, bright day. Smart little dude…

Later that weekend, while raspberry picking with Amy and our trusty sidekicks, Jim and Tim, we came across these hornets. I think they were sleeping in, which was fine by me.


After making loads more jam as well as freezing bags of berries, I decided to do something I don’t really do very often, which is bake with fruit. Sure, I toss handfuls of frozen berries into muffins, but rarely do I bake something where fruit is the centerpiece. I just love it so much on it’s own, I don’t normally see any reason to mess with it.

plum berry pan

This particular recipe called for plums and blueberries. I veganized it using vanilla soy yogurt for the eggs.


I love upside down cakes because they are such a lovely surprise. For this cake, I used spelt flour, which is my new grain addiction.

After it cooled, I flipped it over. Notice the classy texture from the bottom of my springform pan. Nice…


The hard thing about upside down cakes is determining when they are done. I baked this cake for 10 minutes longer than the recipe said and it was still underdone in the middle. It certainly didn’t keep us from eating it, though.

plum cakeslice

With all this canning and baking, however, I’m not doing a very good job of keeping our house cool. Jim and I always have the option of prancing around in our skivvies. There are other people who are not so lucky.


Here is Linus, trying to catch a breeze below the dining room window.


Bindhi assumed the “dead bug” position under the ceiling fan. Hey, we do what we can, right?


5 Responses to “very berry american summer”

  1. Jojo July 23, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    Oh my gosh that upside down cake looks awesome and the little frog is so cute!

  2. Josiane July 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Your upside down cake looks delicious! I love baking with fruits. I’ve been exposed to that much more than I have been exposed to jam making and canning (which is pretty much not at all), so that’s the thing I most love doing with the fruits I pick – besides eating them fresh, of course! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to go fruit picking this summer. At least, there is still time for blueberries, and I hope I’ll be able to take advantage of it.

  3. Vegetation July 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    Aww I love the orchard photos!

    And that upside down cake looks fabulous! I love the springform cake pan look 😀

    KITTIES!!!! Awww they’re too adorable!!! Mine look almost identical come the hot months. At the moment though I find them in all sorts of hidey holes trying to stay warm!

  4. Diann July 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    You haven’t been hot until you’ve been here in Texas! It’s 112 on my patio right now.

    I know what you mean about cooking fresh fruits – I struggle with that too. It sure makes good desserts though and your cake looks really delicious. I’m glad you showed a picture of marionberries. I just bought a big bag of frozen berries and I wasn’t sure what I was getting. We have great blueberries here, but I’ve never seen marionberries.

    I love little tree frogs. And kitties!

    • Kris July 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

      Hey there, I used to live in AZ, so I know hot… and I’m a fan of warm. But Portland doesn’t normally get very hot and 90% of places here don’t have A/C because of it… so it makes for general crappiness. 🙂

      I think marionberries are a PacNW exclusive. In the midwest we have boysenberries, and while they kind of look the same, they are pretty different, too.

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