Saturday dawned sunny and bright, the temperatures were still relatively cool, and I had gotten a notification via Facebook that the farm stand had local berries in stock. My husband was going to be away for the majority of the day so I figured I would make multiple batches of jam.
At the farm stand, I found a case of blueberries at a really great price, but more importantly, I found several pints of black raspberries, red raspberries, blackberries, and the last of the local strawberries. SCORE! Mixed berry jam is one of my absolute favorite jams and I prefer to make it with four different kinds of berries if possible, my favorite combination is strawberry, blueberry, black raspberry and blackberries. As luck would have it, I found all the berries I needed!
I whipped up two batches of mixed berry and started in on the blueberry jam. I made three batches of straight up blueberry and one blueberry lemon. I just love the combination of blueberries and lemon, the jam makes the perfect cheesecake topping!
I had some blueberries left over and turned to my canning cookbooks for a recipe. While browsing, I came across a recipe for a Raspberry White Chocolate spread, so I quickly bookmarked that one and continued searching for blueberry recipes. Finally my diligence paid off, I found a recipe for Spirited Fruit in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving Book from 2006 (I have several Ball Canning Books!). It called for one cup of sugar, one cup of water, 12 cups of berries, and one tablespoon, per jar, of either rum, vodka, or brandy. You start by making a simple syrup with the sugar and water, then add the berries.
Once the berries cook down, you add them to the jars, pour in the alcohol in the jars, fill any remaining space with enough hot syrup to cover the berries. The recipe intrigued me, it doesn’t have much sugar, it is really the alcohol that is doing the “preserving”, I think this will be a lovely condiment for game meats and possibly a firmer white fish, such as halibut, I will let you know how it tastes after it sets for a few days.
Finally all I had left to process were the red raspberries. I have made a strawberry chocolate spread in the past, using dark chocolate and it turned out amazingly well so I was game to try raspberries and white chocolate. Besides, I am always on the lookout for recipes using white chocolate for my cousin, SAK, he doesn’t eat milk or dark chocolate. Weird, I know, how the man can live without dark chocolate baffles me to this day…..I try to be understanding, it seems to his only flaw in an otherwise flawless individual. Ah well……we can’t all be perfect like my mother.
The recipe didn’t take very much time at all to put together, you put the berries in a pot, smash them lightly with a potato masher and add a split vanilla bean. Once the berries have cooked for a few minutes you add the pectin, bring it to a boil and add the sugar. Once it comes back to a boil, you stir for one minute, remove it from the heat, fish out the vanilla bean, add the chocolate and some vanilla extract and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. You jar the spread and process in a water bath. Couldn’t be simpler. One of the suggested uses for this spread is to layer it between thinly sliced pound cake, creating a pound cake sandwich. I am chomping at the bit to try that so I guess I am going to have to invite some people for dinner so we can have pound cake for dessert! Anyone interested in coming for dinner?