While the jars are reusable, it is necessary to buy several dozen jars each year “because we give most of it away, and I never get the jars back.”
She cooks the fruit and then strains it through a colander producing several gallons of juice, which will translate into dozens of half-pint jars of her jelly.
“Blackberry is always the favorite,” Betty said. “Everyone likes blackberry. I tried peaches once and was not too thrilled with it.”
Even a state award-winning jelly maker like Harmon occasionally has a goof. One batch of blackberry jelly didn’t set well, “and it was the best tasting syrup over ice cream we had ever tasted.”
She admits that she isn’t a cook who can take a pinch of this or that. She follows a recipe that comes with the pectin she buys.
“I use the directions that come with the Sure Jell, and it is always good,” Betty said.
Ron is at the ready to help her in any way that she needs.
“He is really good at stirring,” she said.
Of her picante sauce, she said, “I know if there had been a taste test, I would have won a blue ribbon on that, too.”
The one disappointment of the state fair competition was that her husband’s entries of his wildlife photography did not garner a ribbon.
“I thought sure he would be the winner, not me,” Betty said.
She is already making plans for next year’s state fair.
“I would like to enter sand plum jelly in the competition,” she said, but sand plums are not readily available. “They grow wild, and I would like to find a place where I could pick them.”
On one such adventure, “there were horses in the pasture, and they like sand plums, too. And you have to be careful picking the plums, as snakes like them, too,” she said.