« independence day | Main | this week's library book »

heavenly hash

It's jam making time around these parts. Around May I start watching the price of berries at the store, and usually in late May or early June, berries are so cheap you can buy loads of them for a dollar or less a pound. Last year we stuck with strawberry jam, and it was delicious. We ate our last jar just a few weeks ago.

This year, in addition to making five batches of strawberry jam, JR decided we should try our hand at making Heavenly Hash. For those of you who aren't lucky enough to have a Grandma Hellewell, Heavenly Hash is a jam my grandma makes which is a combination of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. And it lives up to it's name.. the stuff is amazingly good.

Grandma happened to call me yesterday and when I asked her if she had made her Heavenly Hash yet, she told me she likes to use boysenberries instead of blackberries. My grandfather always had a large garden in their backyard, and he made sure to grow enough fruit to make jam in the spring. Grandpa passed away several years ago, but there is still one boysenberry bush producing, which means Grandma can still make at least one batch of Heavenly Hash.

We used blackberries in ours and it turned out pretty good... not as good as Grandma's, but not bad for our first attempt. Both JR and I think boysenberries would be better, but they are a little hard to come by. What is a boysenberry, you ask? Boysenberries are a cross between a raspberry, a blackberry and/or a loganberry. And the story of the boysenberry and how it came to be is one worth telling.

Turns out a man named Rudolph Boysen had been experimenting with a new kind of berry, but gave up after a few years. Walter Knott, a local farmer and a bit of a berry expert, heard about the berries and tracked down Boysen, who had since sold his farm. Knott want back to the original farm, found a few of the struggling plants still alive, and transplanted them back to his farm where he nursed them back to fruit bearing health. He named the berry after its creator: the Boysen-berry. Knott soon went on to find his own success, first at a roadside stand where he and his wife made jams and pies using the boysenberry; later with a chicken restaurant; and then for the famous theme park Knott's Berry Farm which they began in the '40's as a way to entertain people who were waiting for a table at the chicken restaurant. According to the Knott's Berry Farm website, all boysenberries in the world can trace their roots back to the original Knott farm.

My grandma says boysenberry plants can be tricky, and that she isn't patient enough to baby them the way my grandfather did. One more thing to add to the garden I am planning in my head... we'll have to carve out a little place for the boysenberries.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (8)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (22)

We were just at Knott's yesterday, ending 10 hours at the theme park with a fried chicken dinner and of course, boysenberry pie. I love the history of that park and actually prefer it over Disneyland.

06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Howe

Homemade jam is such a treat. I tried some with my children a few weeks ago with delicious results. The best part is making it together.

06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I love that story regarding the boysenberry. I've heard bits and pieces (looking at the signs and menu while waiting in line @ the restaurant!), but not the whole story in it's entirety. That is very cool that your grandfather grew boysenberries and that he had so much passion for providing them with the proper care. My husband just built raised planter beds and as a family, we started a new garden...I'm seeing a similar passion in my husband, and son too- which I love.

I loved this post. I grew up on a mountain in New Hampshire where the boysenberries were plentiful. We picked and made jam every summer, but I never knew the original of the berry. I can't wait to share it with my mother, master of the jam!

06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterDestiny

We would call that bumbleberry jam here. Yum!

06.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

What a lovely story!

I was hoping to make some tomato chutney here this year, but my tomato plants haven't grown as well as I had hoped, next year I will try different ones.

06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSammi

Could you share your recipe for the Berry Hash? How much sugar etc...? Pretty Please?

06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Can I just say YUM! I'm drooling over the thought of that jam on a crisp toasty bagel....mmmm

06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Those berries look delicious!


06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

That does sound heavenly! We always make more jam than we know what to do with, but we might have to make a batch of this!

06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I loved that story! I have always loved Knott's but haven't been since I was a kid. I am going to ask for you to be my visiting teacher so you'll be forced to give me jam :) One of my favorite memories of my grandma's house is getting jam out of the freezer made from the raspberries in their garden.

06.23.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

Oh, I'd love to try the Heavenly Hash! :)

06.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaire

my family has boysenberry bushes, but i never knew the story. my mom's hands are usually stained purple for at least a week every fall from picking them. my favorite was boysenberry syrup.

06.24.2010 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

I was recently in Europe and totally enjoyed lots of home made jams. Thanks for your inspiration and what a great tradition for your family.

I was recently in Europe and totally enjoyed lots of home made jams. Thanks for your inspiration and what a great tradition for your family.

Looks great! My mother grows black berries, both boysen berries and others . They are her pride and joy and taste nothing like store bought berries! Ashley and I went crazy on them when we were back in Ca in May! Maybe someday we'll have some outdoor space too

Btw, just read your mini-moon suggestion. I think we've been doing that without knowing what is was called. :)

That story of the boysenberry was incredibly interesting. Thanks for telling it. I bet I would like Heavenly Hash :)

Kristin - The Goat

06.26.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I really enjoyed this jam post. Very informative. I'm planning to try making a couple of jams, so this kicked me into berry-obsessed overdrive. :)

06.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohanna

the hash photos make me want to lick the jar. yummmmmm.

07.15.2010 | Unregistered Commenterleigh

thanks for sharing!

07.25.2010 | Unregistered Commenterpks

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>