Mixed Berry Jam with Herbs and a review of Put ’em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton

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A preserving guide and cookbook all in one! This creative collection has 80 inventive recipes for preserving all kinds of fruit, from apples, berries, and cherries to lemons, quince, and tomatoes, but it also has 80 recipes for using those preserves (or ones you buy at the store) in main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and cocktails. Make Quick Peach Jam and then use it to make mouthwatering Sweet and Sour Chicken, or make Grapefruit and Sultana Conserve and use it in Sauteed Greens with Grapefruit Dressing. The flavors are fresh and contemporary, and the instructions are thorough and easy to follow. Putting up the harvest has never been so delicious!

As someone who loves canning I found the recipes in this cookbook to be wonderful.  One of my favorite things about the book is that there are not only recipes for canning, but then there are recipes on how to use the things that you have canned!  I love this idea because I am famous for buying something at the farmer’s market, canning it, then just leaving it on a shelf because I don’t know what to do with it.

Some of my favorite recipes from the book are Cherry Jam which she then uses in a Sauteed Duck Breast with Cherry Reduction, Lemon Cranberry Chutney which is used with Braised Chickpeas, and Orange Curd that is used in Orange Dream Bars.  It’s just really nice to have recipes for using the things that are canned.  Plus the photos in this book are gorgeous!  I wanted to make everything.

I would have given this book 5 stars except for one little detail.  Only some of the canning recipes tell how many half pints or pints each recipe makes so I had to guess how many jars to prepare which was a little inconvenient. The other recipes told me how many cups it would make which I was able to figure out was close to how many pints or half pints but having a place that would tell how many jars are needed would be very helpful in the future.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The recipe I ended up making is Mixed Berry and Herb Jam.  I haven’t really canned much with herbs and they intrigue me.  I had a ton of blueberries and strawberries on hand so that is what I used but really any berry can be used in this.  Same goes for herbs.  I used thyme and rosemary but use whatever you like.

The herbs really added a lot of flavor to the jam.  They toned down the sweetness of the jam and made it slightly savory as well.  The jam was amazing served with crackers as an appetizer and I also poured some over top of a block of cream cheese and served that with crackers and crostini as well.  The author used this jam in Linzer Tart Cookies which I will totally be doing at a later date.

Mixed Berry Jam (from Put ’em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton)
4 c. sugar
1 T. pectin
2 quarts of assorted berries, halved (I used strawberries and blueberries)
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. bottled lemon juice
1 T. calcium water (I did not have this so I just used more tap water)
1 t. rosemary
1 t. thyme

1.    Combine the sugar and pectin in a small bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Combine the berries and water in a large pot over low heat.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the berries completely break down.  Add in the lemon juice and calcium water, stirring to combine.   Slowly add the pectin mixture, rosemary, and thyme, stirring constantly to avoid clumping.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3.  Remove from the heat.  Allow the jam to rest for 5 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to release trapped air.  Skim off any foam.

4.  Prepare a boiling water canner, 6 half pint jars, and 6 lids.

5.  Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace in each jar.  Run a bubble tool along the inside of the glass to release trapped air.  Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands until they are just fingertip-tight.

6.  Process the jars by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and let the jars rest for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars and set aside for 24 hours.  Check the seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Makes 6 half pints.


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