The Mood Just Hit Me!

     How my spiced blueberry jelly came about is actually quite funny (at least in my opinion, if you don’t think it’s that funny, well whatever). I was at work, which is usually where I am if I’m not in the kitchen or at the gym (yes, I go to the gym) and this time the company sent the little monsters blueberries, they of course didn’t eat it and I actually can’t stand the taste of raw blueberries, put it in pancakes, cupcakes, muffins or even smoothies and I’m great, but raw? ICK!!! So I was debating on whether or not to actually take the things home, something in me said, “eh why not?” so I took 30-someodd 4oz containers of partially frozen blueberries, with no clue what I was gonna do with them. 

     They sat in my fridge for almost 2 weeks, just staring at me every time I opened the door, accusingly (yes, I know fruit don’t really have feelings), blaming me for their lack of a purpose in this world. But, I just didn’t know what to do, finally I couldn’t take the guilt anymore (I mean I rescued them from certain doom only to have them chucked anyway?) and decided I’d try my hand at simple jelly making. I mean all I’d really made at this point was marmalade, and good as it is, you can’t give marmalade all the time to everyone, some people might have allergies to citrus (don’t even get me started on that!). So out came trusty green (my post WWII cookbook) for a tried and true recipe on blueberries, and, gasp!, it didn’t have one. I searched that whole book backwards and forwards, looked in the index and glossary, NOTHING!!! I mean this thing shows me how to make corned beef from scratch using an oak barrel and lots of pickling salt, but not how to make blueberry jelly, weren’t blueberries popular back then? Even then I may have missed it, you don’t know how many times I’ve looked for a recipe and didn’t find it the first 17x and on time 20 finally found some version of what I was looking for.

     So out came another cookbook (I actually think I have an obsession, borderline hoarder, with books) this one actually had what I was looking for! Thank Jebus!!! I started following the recipe, and upon opening the containers, I quickly realized that it was a very, very good idea that I was making jelly that night, 3 out of 10 containers smelled like straight wine already and others had built up so much CO2 that the lids were popping like corks! The further I got into the recipe the more I came to the conclusion that this recipe was simply plain…just water, sugar, pectin, blueberry juice, lemon juice….and while it would be good, it was just soooooo boring! I know the saying goes, Follow the recipe the first time exactly, then make modifications, but I couldn’t leave good enough alone (sometimes I’m actually an over achiever) so as I was standing over a hot stove with a potato masher in hand taking out my frustration on some poor partially drunken blueberries, then standing over a hot bowl pressing and squeezing blueberry juice through a sieve, taking out more frustration, by hand. I started thinking to myself, what goes good with blueberries…spices!!! But what spices and how much? I’ve got enough juice to make 3 pints, no way was I gonna screw this up and be stuck with messed up jelly for months, or even years!! So I did what any self respecting woman does when faced with a dilemma, I asked my mom. 

     On her suggestion, I added the spices that are now apart of the “modified” blueberry jelly recipe that is “Moody Blues”. Thankfully, it came out right the first time and was a hit in the house and among friends. The name was a spin on words (obviously) that combined the midnight blue color of the jelly with the spice creating the mood, very much like a sultry jazz singer in a bar and Billie Holiday in “lady sings the blues”, plus it just sounded cool I mean I couldn’t just call it blueberry jelly, that was the plain version, which we’ve already established just wasn’t gonna work for me!