This is a great topping for ice cream, and—since it's thicker than sweetened berries—it's nice over sponge cake or shortcake, too. My family especially enjoys spreading with sour cream and plain yogurt over waffles. In fact, no one ever asks for maple syrup anymore! —Katie Koziolek, Hartland, Minnesota
This recipe came from my mother-in-law. It's very old-fashioned—in fact, the friend who gave it to her used to cook it up on an old wood stove.
With all the cherry orchards here in Bitterroot Valley, I make two batches of these preserves each summer. (I get the cherries from a nearby cannery by the gallons!) My family likes them on fresh bread, muffins, pancakes and even ice cream—the consistency's similar to a topping. I have to be careful, though, and ration the jars out or they'd be the first thing to disappear from the root cellar!
Both my husband and I serve as 4-H leaders. We have three children—girls 16 and 14 and a son who's 12.
Years ago, my in-laws had three pear trees on their acreage and gave us all the fruit that we wanted to pick. So I canned plenty of pears. Then a neighbor passed along this favorite recipe. I've given many jars of this jam as gifts. Day to day, we enjoy it on toast with ham and eggs or on hot rolls with a meat. —Karen Bockelman, Portland, Oregon
August is the busiest month of the year on our small farm—that's when we're harvesting sweet corn, pumpkins and pickling cucumbers for our stand. But I always make time to put up this jelly. The apples come from our old-fashioned orchard, while the blackberries grow wild along our creek...and the jelly's usually gone by January! —Liz Endacott, Matsqui, British Columbia
My mother-in-law and I dreamed up this jam after we'd been picking blueberries one day. She wondered if blueberries, raspberries and strawberries would taste good together. So she made a test batch—and we quickly learned that they definitely did! Then I came up with my own version of the jam. I preserve everything from our garden! —Karen Maerkle, Baltic, Connecticut
The thing I like best about this jam is the way the plums stretch the flavor of the raspberries. I make it when plums are in season, and we enjoy it all winter long on toast or homemade bread.
For a few years, my husband and I had a small acreage with chickens, rabbits and sheep. Although we now live in town, our hearts still belong in the country! We have six children—three of them grown, two teenagers plus a girl who's 10—and two grandchildren.
Watching my grandmother can hundreds of jars of tomatoes, peaches and pears inspired me to first try making jams and jellies myself. I can remember, as a girl, going down into her cellar—all those jars on the shelves gave me such a warm homey feeling! This jam is one my family enjoys on warm homemade corn or blueberry muffins. The cinnamon's a bit of a surprise. —Barbara Burns, Phillipsburg, New Jersey