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.
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.