Spread the Love – Hometown Berries & Basil Jam

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Success! This is my favorite jam recipe thus far. It’s a mix of sweet fresh berries and a subtle hint of basil. I call this Hometown Jam because I recently went back to Pennsylvania to see two close friends’ hometowns. When I’m visiting a small hometown, getting to know someone’s family, I don’t like to just pickup a store bought card and one of those tacky fruit bouquets (for the record – store bought greeting cards are almost as shameful as box cake mixes). Speaking of fruit…strawberries tend to thin out jam, so this recipe uses pectin. Anyway this is the real deal, this is the stuff you make when you really want to spread the love .

– 1 lb of strawberries, stemmed and chopped

– 1 pint blueberries

– 1 pint raspberries

– Juice from 1 lemon

– 8 large fresh basil leaves

– 1 box of Sure-Jell pectin

– optional: can replace any of the berries with blackberries.

Directions:

**before anything, start to prepare your jars. Heat your oven to 500 degrees and place four glass jars on a pan inside the oven. Put the sealing tops and metal rings into a bowl of very hot water***

1) Stem and chop strawberries a little smaller than you see in the picture above. Add crushed blueberries. Now add whole raspberries and lemon juice. Toss in a bowl. Add chopped basil. Let sit for 1-2 hours to let the juices mix.

2) After soaking, place mixture in a pot over medium heat.

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3) Heat mixture and continue mashing up within the pot. Let mixture come to a boil, turn the stove to medium-high. Stir occasionally to avoid the bottom burning.

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4) Skim the top of the pot with a small spoon or knife to remove foam. Continue to let boil until the bubbles become less frequent. Add 1/2 box pectin.

DSC_04385) After about 40 minutes total, this is what the jam will look like. Much darker and less volume than before. Don’t be concerned if it is not “jam” like yet, the consistency changes a lot when it cools. Add 3 more WHOLE basil leaves right before you jar the jam.

6) Turn the stove to low and take the jars out of the oven. Using an oven mit and a ladle, pour hot jam into each hot jar leaving 1/4-1/2 inch space on top.

7) Wipe the rims of the jars and make sure there is NO extra jam. Next, place the sealing top and ring on the jar. Secure the top, but don’t use allllll of your strength otherwise you will be very frustrated when you can’t open your jam. As the mixture and jar cools, the grip will naturally tighten.

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Enjoy!
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Despicable Me 2 Minion Cupcakes

These suckers are the farthest thing from homemade. I made the cake from a box (still getting settled in the apartment kitchen) and we all know twinkies can’t be replicated, so I bought those. The eyes are made of smarties and the hair is brown sprinkles. Yes, unless you can find a baking store near you, you have to separate the brown sprinkles from the other colors. The dots on the eyes and glasses are royal icing, although gel piping icing from the store will do the exact same thing. I think I had to make something homemade just for my conscience….

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Sorry, I can’t help but include this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EurAr59_8TA