I have fallen in love with making homemade jams and fruit butters. The adventure involved in discovering flavor combinations matched with the high success rate make creating my own preserves to eat and to share a favorite rainy day ritual.
During the winter months, however, finding fresh fruit isn't easy. Farmer's markets have turned to cold weather greens, root vegetables and herbs.
Fortunately for us jelly and jam-lovers, sweeter-tasting root vegetables are perfect for preserving. Beet marmalade and sweet potato butter are just a few ideas for stocking your shelves.
My favorite so far is Carrot Cake Jam. With a texture like marmalade, this preserve is perfect smeared on toast or just eaten by the spoonful, which I fully admit to doing.
The ingredients are similar to carrot cake, except without the cake part. But the main ingredients remain – carrots, pineapple, spices – with the addition of diced pear to add a tart sweetness.
Simply put, Carrot Cake Jam is pretty much a perfect preserve.
Carrot Cake Jam
Makes 8 half-pints
- 1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
- 2 ripe pears, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 package powdered fruit pectin (1.75 oz.)
- 6 cups organic cane sugar
Combine the first seven ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Sterilize your jars while your waiting on these to boil. Set aside to air dry.
Once your carrots and spices come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pears are tender.
Remove from heat and add pectin, incorporating completely.
Place back on heat and bring back to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in sugar, returning to a third full rolling boil.
Let boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and skim off foam.
Ladle the hot mixture into your sterilized jars.
Make sure to leave at least ¼ inch headspace at the top.
Place rings and lids on jars until they just tighten and process in a hot water bath for at least 15 minutes.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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