We were on the road by 7:30AM.  We picked 30 lbs of blackberries and blueberries.  We were done by 10:30.  Thank goodness we started early because the dog days of summer were here.  Our 4th wasn’t traditional, except for the ribs and the s’mores, but we thought we’d share our day.  It started with the picked and ending with canning.  It was supposed to end at the fireworks but by then we’d retired to our separate houses and were sound asleep.


Blackberry Chutney:

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 2 large shallots finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tblsp. unsalted butter
  • pinch salt & pepper

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add shallots and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add blackberries, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until you have a syrupy consistency and berries start to burst.  Serve over porkchops or pork roast.

Sauteed Swiss Chard:

1 large bunch of kale, chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
crushed red pepper flakes

Separate the stems and ribs from the greens.  In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add a couple big pinches of salt and the stems and ribs to the pan. Stir continuously until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the greens until the color gets bright green, and they start to wilt, 3-4 minutes.  Thirty seconds before you remove from heat, stir in the garlic. Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat,  add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed, and serve.

Gramma’s Favorite Blueberry Pie:

  • baked 9″ pie shell – we only know two people who can make pie crust and we aren’t those two people.  Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts are the closest we’ve come.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tblsp. lemon juice
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Mix together sugar, cornstarch, water, salt & 1 cup blueberries in medium saucepan.  Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Remove pan from heat and add butter, remaining 3 cups blueberries, lemon juice & cinnamon.  Cool and pour in to prepared pie shell.  You can top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  By cooking only one cup of the blueberries, the berries retain the texture and flavor of fresh picked berries.

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10 Responses to JULY 4TH IN THE EMPTY NEST

  1. those berries look luscious

  2. Louisa says:


  3. lillianccc says:

    Those berries are beautiful! Too bad I live in a place where getting them at the local supermarket is already next to impossible…. In any case, the recipes (and that pie!) look fantastic.

  4. Summertime berries are just amazing. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  5. One more question. Are you on twitter—I can’t find you. I want to tweet your photos and recipes so tell me if you get on, okay?

  6. no, we’re not on twitter yet. maybe soon. we’ll let you know when we are. thanks so much.

  7. debbie says:

    The blueberry pie looks yummy i cant wait to make it !!!!!!!!!

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