July 4 Picnic: The Wrap-Up

June 29, 2015(updated on April 24, 2023)
picnic table side view

Last week, the lovely Madame Fromage and I shared the various components of summery 4th of July cheese and preserve picnic we made. Our hope was to create something that would help inspire all of you to open up your pantries, buy a few wedges, and invite friends over to celebrate.

open spiced blueberries

I started the week with a batch of spiced blueberries. Preserved in a syrup spiked with just a bit of apple cider vinegar to cut the sweetness, these blueberries were lovely with cheese. They would also be nice spooned over vanilla ice cream or angel food cake, should you prefer a dessert-y pairing.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, you can replace the vinegar with a little lemon juice, if you don’t love the assertiveness of the vinegar.


While I was writing about blueberries, Tenaya was sharing tips for making light, refreshing, cheese-friendly cocktails. The recipe she included was one that was made with gin and a bit of raspberry shrub, but could be made with any light spirit and tangy fruity syrup.

finished cherry chutney

The next day, my suggestion was to make a batch of sweet cherry chutney. This is a preserve I first shared last summer and is a very good one. When I’m not eating it with a slice of cheese, I like stir it into a bowl of warm couscous, chopped arugula, and a soft boiled egg.

graham crackers

One of the components that Madame Fromage made for our picnic was a batch of whole grain graham crackers. The recipe is one that Heidi Swanson first posted on her site more than a decade ago, but is well worth a revisit. These crackers are sturdy, slightly sweet, and once you eat one with a bit of crumbled blue cheese, you’ll never again be satisfied with a basic Ritz.

whole brittle

My final offering for this celebratory meal was a batch of spicy pecan brittle. Broken into shards, it was delicious with bites of cheese. In slightly larger pieces, it was eaten as a sweet treat at the end of the meal.

three cheeses

For her second to last post, Madame Fromage turned her attention to the cheeses. We made the choice to buy the cheeses for this series from Trader Joe’s, in the hopes of making our selections more widely available while also showing that there are some really great budget options available out there.

friends shooting the board

I hope you enjoyed our picnic as much as we did! Make sure to check out Madame Fromage’s wrap-up here. And once again, many thanks to Peg & Awl for lending us the gorgeous boards (I’m just sad we didn’t find a way to work this jar caddy into the shoot).

And now, a question for all of you. How are you planning on working your homemade preserves into your summer celebrations?

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3 thoughts on "July 4 Picnic: The Wrap-Up"

  • If you consider a shrub a preserve, then I’m buying more blackberries to make them with. I made my first one ever recently, and I’m hooked! I have a SodaStream so that makes a very handy, delicious, and healthy soft drink!

  • I read this post earlier this week and fell in love with the Sweet Cherry Chutney recipe. I found local cherries for $1.59/lb and did a double batch last night (well, I pitted the cherries the night before). It took three hours to cook down, but I was ready for that after reading all the earlier recipe comments. I got six pints and six half pints out of it. I had to swap something for the dried cherries, so I cut up dried apricots, along with the golden raisins. And OMG is this the best tasting thing EVER! I’m new to canning (and new to your blog) and this is my first fruit thing. It is so fantastic. I’ll make this every year from now on.

    I still have 4lbs of pitted cherries in the fridge. Think I’ll try the cherry-honey-rosemary one tonight!

    Thanks so much. I love your blog

    1. Dawn, I’m so happy to hear that you’re so happy with the chutney! I hope you like the rosemary honey cherries as much!