(The Best) Mixed Berry Preserves

June 19th, 2013

Grandma Verna would make mixed berry preserves every summer and Matt (her grandson, my husband) would speak of them fondly and often – they were one of his most favorite things about visiting Grandma Verna and Grandpa Bill’s ranch when he was a boy. Grandma Verna always kept big jars of summer berry jam in the fridge and Matt was crazy about them.

After we were married, I asked Grandma Verna for the recipe and she told me there really was no recipe it was only this: “Clean up a bunch of fresh berries, throw in some sugar and pectin, boil it up in a pot and put it in a jar”.  Boom, simple, done.

About six years ago I started making a version of this, and it’s a family favorite. (I originally wrote about this recipe four years ago, but sadly the pictures went “poof!” so I recreated it for y’all again.) These mixed berry preserves are a simple concoction that yields the very best mixed berry preserves I’ve ever tasted, and validates that age old culinary philosophy, “simple is best!”

I start with Verna’s “recipe” but add some citrus zest, and then can it so we can enjoy it in the coldest winter months. This recipe and assembly are so simple, you can’t mess it up, you can’t!  It’s much lower in sugar so that the fruit really steals the show.

simple mixed berry preserves

 

Ingredients:

6 baskets of strawberries (6 oz. each)

6 baskets of raspberries (4 oz each)

6 baskets of blackberries (4 oz each)

Juice from 2 lemons

Zest from 1 large orange

2 cups sugar

Low or No sugar Pectin

8 wide mouth 16 ounce canning jars + lids

First, start with good fruit. Find it at your local grocery store, or at the farmer’s market but get a bunch of seasonal berries that are perfectly ripe and you’re in business. You can mix in other berries too, whatever you like, go crazy, add blueberries or boysenberries or Logan berries, etc.

mixed berries

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Summer Mantels + More

June 18th, 2013

I was freshening up the house over the weekend, changing things for the season, swapping out accessories and such. I pulled out a few objects I had tucked away and layered them on the mantel, always touches of white and this time a few golden accents for sparkle.

A neighbor was cutting down a tree last year and I was that pesky person who walked over and asked if I could have a big bunch of branches for my fireplace. The birch logs have been there since, they fit so perfectly I can’t imagine moving them. Ever.

kates summer mantel

two sides of mantel

living room mantel

The accessory lineup: golden vase is Z Gallerie, mid century inspired geometric candlesticks I bought in Montreal last year, the hammered gold bowl is Target. The faux ear coral I bought at Pottery Barn two years ago, it usually sits on my dresser in the master but looks pretty and beachy on the mantel. The set of vases are also from Target (last year). The pillow is Pottery Barn, I think from two seasons ago.

I wrote about styling summer mantels over at BH&G this morning, and here are the other latest articles as well.

summer mantel style

colorful girls rooms

dining room rug rules

alfresco dining picks

 

What decorating changes have you made around the house this summer?

 

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