The Berry Patch – Spicy Berry Jams

Yesterday I was mesmerized with the beautiful berries of the season, specifically blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.  
It was the day I go to the farmer’s market at the fairgrounds the berries were beautiful, so I just had to make preserves.    After searching thru my recipes and my pantry, I decided it would be Strawberry Balsalmic Jam & Blackberry Chipotle Preserves.     I’ve become very taken with using the new pectin for freezer jam, particularly the low sugar variety.     They turned out beautifully and although my intention was to create gifts for the holidays, I’m pretty sure they won’t last that long.  I’m particularly fond of Blackberry Chipotle poured over a soft cheese as an appetizer with crackers, however it is scrumptuous as a meat sauce with pork or chicken also.   This was the first time making the Strawberry Balsalmic, but I’m anticipating using it in desserts or in any dish where you might use fresh strawberries with balsamic glaze.     Yummy  !!!

Blackberry Chipotle Preserves                                                                                        Makes 4 (8-ounce) jars

2 Tbps. olive oil                                                                                                                                  1/4 C diced onion                                                                                                                                2 cloves garlic                                                                                                                                      3  Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped                                                                           2 pints fresh blackberries                                                                                                              1/3 C balsamic vinegar                                                                                                                  1/2 tsp salt                                                                                                                                      2/3 C brown sugar

In a medium pan saute garlic and onion in olive oil until onions are soft.

Mix in chiles/adobo sauce and bring to a simmer.

Stir in the blackberries and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Mash fruit if it has not broken up thoroughly.

Add vinegar, salt and sugar.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened and reduced to about half.

Cool sauce before serving.   Can be stored in refrigerator for 1 month or frozen for a year. NOTE:                                                                                                                                             This will be quite spicy so use less chiles or only the sauce if you want a milder sauce.     You can taste test before the reduction and add more chiles at that time.

Balsamic Strawberry Freezer Jam                                                                                            Makes 6 (8-ounce) jars

1 cup balsamic vinegar
6 cups strawberries, halved
2 cups sugar  (or Splenda equivalent)
5 tablespoons real fruit instant pectin

Place vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Cook over medium-high heat to reduce by half.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine sugar &  strawberries.  Mash with a potato masher just until strawberries start to release juice but are still in large chunks.   You should have 4 cups crushed fruit.  Adjust sugar depending upon sweetness of the berries.

Add reduced balsamic to the strawberries and let stand for 10 minutes to blend flavors.

About Pat Thomas

I love what food brings to our lives other than the needed nutrition. I share all my foodie experiments with friends & family. Thankfully they are usually delighted but always kind with whatever I've cooked up.
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