NORMAN — Betty Harmon likes the color blue, especially the blue ribbons attached to her grape and blackberry jelly entries in the State Fair of Oklahoma competition.
She entered three of her cooking specialties and got the top prize on two of them.
“I got seventh on my picante sauce,” she said, “but after getting two blue ribbons …” She makes a “throw-away” motion and hardly even wants to talk about seventh place in the state.
The judges don’t give cooks any feedback, but obviously they liked the color and consistency of her jelly.
“It isn’t a taste test. They hold it up to the light and see that it is clear and that it is set at the right consistency,” she said.
She is confident that it would have won if there had been a judging of the taste because the family and friends who have received her jellies as Christmas gifts always attest to the taste.
Her jelly-making adventures began about 30 years ago, and she and husband, Ron, have found that the jars of jelly make great gifts for friends and clients of his insurance business.
Having recently given a jar of each flavor to a friend, “he called to say that he had never had grape jelly that tasted that good,” Ron Harmon said.
Getting the grapes and blackberries at just the right ripeness is a key to her success, she thinks. They purchased the fruit this year from Barley’s Garden Patch on Tecumseh Road, “the most beautiful fruit I have seen,” she said.
Betty sets aside at least two days for the process, the first step being gathering the equipment and supplies that she will need. She starts with new jars and lids every year.
“I don’t reuse the lids because I want to be sure I get a good seal on the jar,” Betty said.