Shiro Plum and Basil Jam

Shiro Plum and Basil Jam

Shiro plums are such a lovely color of yellow and are one of the small plum varieties that I have seen at the farmers market in recent weeks. I had about a quart of them left and wanted to make some jam that highlighted their beauty and flavor but had a surprising, savory element too. Basil it was! Just three ingredients, and decidedly small-batch(!), this is beautiful, unique, and so darn good, I'm just eating it with a spoon.

Read More

Apple, Pear and Lemon Thyme Jam

Apple, Pear and Lemon Thyme Jam

The annual farewell to summer produce can leave jammers distraught. What can I put up now?! Although the fruit-based options are fewer and perhaps less dazzling in some ways (visually and otherwise), there is still much that can be done with fall's gems, especially apples and pears. Generally, I don't much like apple jams. I'd rather have a good applesauce any day. But apples love many other ingredients, and I enjoy pairing their sweet-tartness with more savory elements. Here, I macerate apples and pears with lemon thyme, lemon zest and juice, black pepper and sugar and then cook that mixture down to a crystalline spread, adding some pear brandy near the end. The result is a sweet jam with earthy undertones, just begging to be spread atop a good cheese and some crackers.

Read More

Strawberry-Cardamom Jam

Strawberry-Cardamom Jam

As many of you know, strawberry jam can be cloying, too sweet to be enjoyed. By and large this is because strawberries have little in the way of natural pectin so you really have to add a lot of sugar to compensate. As well, cooking strawberries seems to concentrate their natural sweetness, adding to the sugary taste factor. To compensate for lack of natural pectin, I added one grated apple per 4 cups of berries and cooked things until thick. What results is a beautiful, richly colored loosely set preserve whose sweetness is perfectly offset by lemon juice, cardamom and the slight tang of the apple. 

Read More

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

As summer bids us farewell and the cooler weather of fall rolls in, I feel slightly bittersweet because there is less fruit available with which to can. The berries and stone fruits are gone for the year; now is the time to make heartier fare like apple and pear butters. For a brief time though, you can still buy rhubarb at the farmers markets in our area. Rhubarb tends to be a secondary fruit, a supporting actress if you will, but such needn't be the case. Here, it's the main event, buttressed only by sugar, some fresh orange juice and a bit of crystallized ginger. Enjoy! 

Read More

Spiced Rhubarb-Apple Butter

Spiced Rhubarb-Apple Butter

An avid canner, I'm always playing around with new combinations of flavor and texture. And, I enjoy adding a savory twist to traditional sweet jams. I had a bunch of rhubarb in my fridge and a Ginger Gold apple leftover from making chutney. Allspice is one of my favorite spices and I thought it might pair nicely with juniper berries. What resulted was a really pretty, wonderfully rich, layered fruit butter.

Read More

Pepper-punch Plum Jam

Pepper-punch Plum Jam

Growing up in Louisiana, I came to love Tabasco pepper jelly. Spread over a Port Salut-topped cracker? Perfection! I also adore plum jam and wanted combine both  into a jam with the spice of the pepper jelly but the ease in making of the plum. This perfectly fits my bill. Love! 

Read More

Double Grape, Rosemary and Pine Nut Compote

Double Grape, Rosemary and Pine Nut Compote

When fall approaches, the canner in me starts to envision hearty sweet-savory compotes rather than summer fruit jams. This compote just screams out to be enjoyed with grilled or roasted meat on a cool evening, atop hot polenta and taleggio and would also be absolutely wonderful on your Thanksgiving table. The concord grape base nicely supports the addition of rosemary, garlic, black grapes and brown sugared-pine nuts and the flavors interplay in a truly sublime way.

Read More