Category Archives: Fruit

Small Batch Blueberry Jam.

So my first water bath canning experience happened the summer after my junior year of college. We rented a house with a double lot that had some garden boxes in it. I thought to myself, well I am just going to plant something in there and so I did. I planted bush beans, bell peppers, and pickling cucumbers. As I now know, in Portland these are crops (the peppers and cucumbers specifically) that will do well some years and suffer others. And on occasion, just sometimes, they can be prolific. Now, the peppers did nothing, they just got all bushy and made a couple of sad little fruits. But the pickling cucumbers took over half the back yard that year. Since I had planted the pickling cucumbers with the hopes of making pickles, I had no choice but to set out on my pickling journey.

That journey was not all lollipops and rainbows and for the record, I HATED IT! After that summer I abandoned water bath canning and did not look back. It might have been because I was a 21 year old college student with “more exciting” things to do, or it might have been that Portland was crazy hot that summer, hence the pickling cucumbers doing so well and I was hulled up in a make shift kitchen boiling pickles all day, but either way, it sucked! **As an aside, I am not kidding about the kitchen, it was a square with a stove and a refrigerator. No cupboards, counters, nothing. And there as an alcove with a sink in it. Worst part, it was huge, just one empty square!

Anyhow, the worst part was that the pickles did not turn out, I made quart after quart and they were all mush. Ha! But I have finally come full circle. I have sent away my distaste for the water bath canner, vowed only to make fermented crunch pickles, and started canning things that should be canned, like blueberries (super excited for chutneys and salsas later this summer).

This recipe was very easy and took no time at all. The result was a super simple blueberry jam that tastes awesome with crunchy peanuts butter. I think this is a great blank slate for you to add your favorite flavors to.

Small Batch Blueberry Jam. Makes 12 half pint jars.


3 quarts of ripe organic blueberries, the fresher the better

4 cups of sugar

the juice of one large, ripe organic orange

2 packets of liquid pectin (6 oz total)


Mash berries until they are smooth (using an immersion blender here is very helpful). Place berries in an 8 quart stock pot with 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning and ensure the sugar is fully dissolved into the berries. When the mixture boils add the orange juice. Boil for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.

The mixture will cook down and thicken during the boiling process. It will turn glossy and dark in color. At the end of the boil, add the liquid pectin. Return mixture to a boil and maintain a full boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Using a spoon or spatula check for thickening of the liquid. You are looking for the liquid to hold onto the spoon when you pull it from the pot. If the liquid easily slides off the spoon, continue to boil. Once the liquid holds on with a sheet like consistency, you are ready to put it in your jars.

**Follow jar/canner preparation below. Fill jars, leaving appropriate head space. Clean rims and add lids and bands. Place jars in water bath canner. When water returns to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. Remove jars (if using Tattler lids, finger tighten your rings), and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check seals and you are done.

Jar/Canner Preparation

Clean jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water (if using regular canning lids also clean your lid lifter). Place bands aside. Place lids into a sauce pan and simmer to keep warm. Place jars in your canner and fill with water to 1-2 inches above the jars. Bring pot to a boil. When you are ready to can, remove jars from hot water with a jar lifter, pouring water back into the canner. Prepare jars and place them back in canner. Add or remove water as needed to maintain 1-2 inches of water above the jars.



Filed under Canning/Preservation, DIY, Fruit

Strawberries and Buttermilk Shortcakes.

For our second unplanned Labor Day weekend BBQ, I was inspired by the Oregon transitional strawberries that I saw at the market on Friday. A true sign of an ending season, something called “transitional”. So sad, I had not even made strawberry shortcake this year. Ever since the Skis took over harvesting our strawberries for us {wink, wink} I have stopped using them in dishes. But I could not resist, I had to buy some.

I made the strawberries just as my mom always did when we were growing up. It is so simple and pure. She did not however have a shortcake recipe so I had to go find on of those.  I decided to alter my breakfast biscuits by adding sugar and vanilla.

Macerated Strawberries.


2 lbs fresh strawberries, as sweet as you can find

1/4-1 C evaporated cane sugar

Slice strawberries into a large bowl (you will end up with about 8 cups of berries). Sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 C of sugar, depending on how sweet they are. Remember, you can always add more sugar. Mix and allow the berries to sit for 10-15 minutes. Check their sweetness and repeat using 1/4 C of sugar if needed. My “transitional” berries required just over 1/2 C of sugar, so if you have super sweet peak season berries, I would be surprised if you needed more than 1/4 C.

Buttermilk Shortcakes.


2 C flour

1/2 C evaporated cane sugar

1 T baking powder

1/4 t kosher salt

5 1/2 T unsalted butter

3/4 C buttermilk, + 1 T if dough is dry

1 t pure vanilla extract

1 t evaporated cane sugar, reserved for topping

Cut butter into small chunks and place in the freezer. Pre-measure buttermilk and also place this in the freezer. Preheat oven to 450.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bin of a food processor, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture (about 5-10 seconds). This can be done by hand if you don’t have a processor. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract and process just until the dough comes together (about 5 seconds).

Drop 1/4 cup at time (use a measuring cup if you need too) onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with reserved sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Serve shortcakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream!


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Filed under Bread, Dessert, Fruit, Midwest Inspired, Mom's Recipes, Vegetarian

Easy-Peasy Blackberry Puree.

The alley blackberry bush is back to old tricks, heavy with fruit that is ripening daily. We picked about five cups and made a quick puree out of it. We went into this with grand ideas of fancy drinks and popsicles dancing in our heads.

Easy-Peasy Blackberry Puree. 


5 C blackberries

1/3 C water

2 T agave (more if you want this really sweet)

Combine ingredients in a blender. Puree for 45 seconds. Strain through a sive. Makes 2 pints. Store in the refrigerator.


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Filed under Beverages, Dairy Free, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Cream Cheese Blackberry Muffins.

While I was digging around in the freezer a while back to make these huckleberry muffins, I located a bag of frozen blackberries. Our house butts up to an alley (more of a green space, there are no cars, just grass and trees) with a very large amount of blackberries in it. Every year I help myself! Looks like I lost one little bag to the back of the freezer this year. The hubs wanted to make some blackberry BBQ sauce, but I did not have enough berries to make it, so you will have to wait until later this summer for that one and instead enjoy some cream cheese blackberry muffins right now.

Cream Cheese Blackberry Muffins. Makes 18 regular sized muffins.


1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature

1 C turbinado sugar

8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

1 t vanilla

2 eggs

2 C AP flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t kosher salt

3/4 C milk (I used 1%)

2 1/2 C frozen blackberries

1 T turbinado sugar


Preheat oven to 375. Prepare muffin tins with paper cups. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Add eggs and mix to combine. Add one half of the dry ingredients and one half of the milk, scraping the edges of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Mix to combine and repeat with remaining flour and milk, using a spatula. Gently fold in berries with spatula. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full and sprinkle with just a little sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.


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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit

Quick Huckleberry Sauce.

I am really not one for maple syrup. The maple flavor is something that I just cannot get the taste buds around. It is such an aversion that I cannot eat maple bacon or even pecans, which taste like maple to me. It is such a beautiful substance, something so pure and natural. It is a great sweetener, topping, a tasty treat. It is something I just cannot enjoy. So I have started to experiment with fruit sauces as possible toppings for things like pancakes and waffles. Recently I made this wonderful huckleberry sauce for my favorite buttermilk pancakes.


1 C huckleberries, fresh or frozen

1/4 C water

1/4 C sugar

juice of 1/2 of a small orange

1 T arrowroot powder

Combine huckleberries, water, sugar, and juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add arrowroot powder and stir until all of the powder is dissolved. Serve over your favorite delicious breakfast bread or ice cream!


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Filed under Breakfast, Dairy Free, Dessert, Fast & Easy, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sauce and Gravy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Huckleberry Muffins.

I still have oodles of huckleberries from last summer. As August draws nearer, huckleberry season is just around the corner and I need to use up last years berries to make way for this years! Good news for me is that the hubs LOVES blueberry muffins and huckleberries act as a great replacement.

Ingredients (makes 18 regular sized muffins)

1/2 C butter, room temperature

1 C sugar

1 t vanilla

2 eggs

2 C flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t kosher salt

3/4 C milk (I used 1%)

2 1/2 C frozen huckleberries (could easily use blueberries, raspberries, or chocolate chips)

1 T sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare muffin tins with paper cups. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Add eggs and mix to combine. Add one half of the dry ingredients and one half of the milk, scraping the edges of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Mix to combine and repeat with remaining flour and milk, using a spatula. Gently fold in berries with spatula. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full and sprinkle with just a little sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown (mine took exactly 25 minutes).


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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit, Vegetarian

White Chocolate Huckleberry Cheesecake Dip.

So last week I told you about the Peanut Butter Cheesecake Dip that Healthy Food for Living made. And I loved it sooo much, and so did everyone else who tried it at the Super Bowl gathering. But I am not the hugest peanut butter fan out there…and because of this recipe I have left over white chocolate chips and greek yogurt. So I have been thinking about what variation I could make of this dip.

As it turns out I still have 6 quarts of huckleberries in the freezer that were procured during last year’s anniversary expedition to the Gorge. Lots of you in the middle of the country are not able to get these little delicacies, so unfortunately you will have to use blueberries in this one. It is really too bad because huckleberries are smaller and taste a lot different than blueberries…but in this dip, they will look the same. Just be sure to use frozen, not fresh.

White Chocolate Huckleberry Cheesecake Dip. (Inspired by Healthy Food for Living)


8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1/4 C fat free Greek yogurt

4 T sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t kosher salt

1 C frozen huckleberries, thawed

1/2 C white chocolate chips


With a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and salt.

With a spatula, fold in berries and chips, reserving a few of each to garnish.

Serve with sliced fruit, pound cake, or rice crackers.

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Filed under Appetizer, Dessert, Dip, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Snacks, Vegetarian