Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ruthy's Homemade Four-Berry Jam


Years ago I read an article that talked about how freezing berries makes them "juice" better once thawed.

Well, I wasn't born yesterday, and when Big Box stores moved into town, I realized I could buy a ginormous bag of individually quick frozen (IQF up here) sliced strawberries, Triple Berry Blend and sour cherries.

Now sour cherry jam is a family favorite, a recipe my mother-in-law loved and shared a long time ago.

And each year I buy a 40lb. bag of IQF frozen sour cherries and I pour those little fellows into 1 quart or 1 gallon freezer bags and pop them in the freezer. I make sour cherry jam, and cherry pies and whatever else seems fitting...

The point is... I love fresh fruit, and I loved the fun of going off and picking berries, but here's the
4-1-1... I'm crazy busy now with two jobs, an amazing writing career, 6 kids and 14 grandkids and a farm...

So if I can find a way to create amazingly good things on less time and even less money?


This jam is based on the reduced sugar recipe version on the Ball Classic Pectin

A batch makes 2 eight-ounce jars. I quadrupled it to get 8 eight-ounce jars, or 4 sixteen-ounce jars...

Here's the super simple recipe:

Four-Berry Jam

4 1/2 cups frozen triple berry mix (thaw in microwave and mash to equal 3 cups)

4 1/2 cups frozen sliced strawberries (thaw in microwave and mash to equal 2 1/3 cups)

6 Tablespoons Classic Pectin

2 tsp. butter

5 cups sugar

Put mashed berries in 8 quart kettle. Cook over medium-high heat. Stir in butter and pectin gradually. Stir and bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly, a boil that cannot be stirred down.

Add sugar all at once.

Stir sugar in quickly, bring mixture back to a full rolling boil and boil one minute.

Ladle into clean, hot jars.

Top with hot lid and screw band. Place jam in water bath canner, cover with water and boil for ten minutes.

Remove jars from boiling water bath, allow to cool. Lids will seal as jam cools.

We are in love with this jam! It is so good, and I made up a dozen 8 ounce jars to use for Christmas presents. How much fun is it to have delicious homemade jam in a Christmas box or basket?

Yes! This is truly Christmas in July!

And here is some summertime crazy fun for you... The first is Logan. Do you love that somewhat crazy but  charming grin? He built me a HOUSE with a chimney and a blue pond with a fish and a frog... He made Grammy's house! And the second pic is... me. A Play Doh version of me. Stunning resemblance!!!

And then we've got this:

Artist MacKenzie at work, photobombed by cinnamony Watermelon Rind Pickles!!!!

And Friday the girls decided to GET DIRTY:

  Spa day with mud packs, anyone????

And then my weekend project with Mandy and Casey... Mandy used her power washer to wash the front porch concrete floor.... Casey painted the railings..... And I etched the floor with acid, then applied the "bonder" and then two coats of paint... So here you have the before:

And the after!!!

LOVE IT! This week we'll put the swing back and the flowers and then we'll do the same thing to the side porch. There are never enough summer weekends to fit all the summer projects and parties... but we're doing our best to stretch things out!

So that's it from the farm. We've just rolled the big produce stand out to the road, yellow squash, zucchini, beans and cucumbers are ready, and soon tomatoes and corn will join them... And while Mother Nature has been a little stingy with rain, we've been paying young folks to help fill and distribute gallon jugs of water. And we'll leave you with one last picture of what summer's all about... sleepy babies at the town fireman's parade...

And life is good.

Ruthy Logan Herne is living her dream writing sweet inspirational stories that make folks laugh, cry and sigh as they turn the pages... she lives on a farm in upstate New York and loves God, her family, her country, dogs, cats, chocolate, coffee and flowers because if you live up north, your flower season has inborn limitations!

Follow her on Twitter, friend her on facebook at Ruth Logan Herne or stop by her website to see what's coming up in Ruthy's world!


  1. I love homemade jam!. Porch looks awesome and baby looks sweet. What do you do with the jugs of water?

  2. We're in a severe drought up here so they're using milk jugs to water thousands of individual plants. That way water isn't wasted and the weed seeds are thwarted because they don't get a drink to germinate. They fill 150 gallons at a time and truck them to the field and go up and down the rows, watering. And then they repeat the process... all the while a sprinkler is strategically posted in another area, (like corn) where things are planted too close together to make indie watering feasible.

    I put the rockers on the porch last night.... Today the bunting goes back in place and the swing this weekend! :)

    And then we do porch #2, the side porch that the kids use for everything. As does the dusty farmer guy and friends. That one takes a beating.

    The jam comes out amazing. Love it. And that baby pic is adorable, isn't it? She's a snuggle bunny.

  3. I haven't made jam in ages. Frozen fruit up here is outrageously expensive in the stores around me. 7.99 for a really small bag. They used to be 3.49 and the bags were bigger but now they reduced the amount and doubled the price. Grrrr to grocery stores. Anyway, I've been buying fresh picked berries at the farmer's market. Way cheaper. Was toying with the idea of jam making, but not up to it right now. But you've given me a scathingly brilliant idea -- I can buy a ton of the cheaper fresh berries and freeze them myself and then still make jam later when I have more umph...Woot.

    Love your porch, Ruthy. Do you sit and write out there? Catching the cool morning breeze? Or would you be eaten alive by mosquitoes? I'd love a porch. I fantasize about a porch. Might just have to make do with the balcony kind if I move to an apartment. That would work too.

    Happy kid wrangling and baby cuddling!

    1. Come visit me and we can sit on the porch together!

      I don't write out there often because either farm customers will spot me and want to chat or it's dark and in the middle of the night! But every now and again I'll sneak to the side porch and work. I'm not as visible there, and Kav... I can't ignore people who want to chat about pumpkins or tomatoes or squash or weather. It feels so rude!!!

  4. Life is definitely good at Ruthy's place!

    Thanks for the frozen fruit idea for the jam! My problem isn't time as much as lack of fresh berries. But we have Sam's and I have canning jars. Sounds like a match made in heaven!

    And your pristine porch reminds me that the weeds have gotten out of hand. Again. Every weekend lately has been filled with helping somebody move or we're out of town. But I should be able to squeeze in a couple hours of weeding this Saturday...

    Enjoy the kids and babies! I can tell they enjoy you. :)

    1. I have learned to plant things just far enough apart that a spritz of round-up helps keep it in order. There's no time with all that we're doing in summer to be on my hands and knees weeding all day, so that spritz is my time-saver! And with the drought, we've been hand-watering acres (and by "we" I mean Dave and Seth and Jon and two teen helpers...)

      Jan, buying huge bags of IQF fruit has become such a huge timesaver. I freeze my own rhubarb and zucchini shreds for zucchini bread, but I am out of the berry picking business for jam.


  5. Forty lb bags of sour cherries??? I'm moving! They're as rare as gold here.

    And LOVE the porch. I want a big porch like nobody's business. WE keep saying we're redoing ours (and the back side) but we just never get around to it. Maybe because it hovers around 100F all summer? It's just not nice outside, and cold winters, too. But that leaves Spring and Fall!

  6. Ruthy, I want some of that jam!!! Sounds amazing.

    Thanks for sharing the photos of the farm and town! You amaze me with house much you accomplish!