Sunday, October 31, 2021

Autumn Fest Jam

Some jams are created simply because a combination of fruits and flavors sounds good to me. Other times I'm challenged to recreate a jam we've tasted while visiting local wineries, and still others are created from an ingredient label. The latter is the case with this jam, and you know they NEVER tell you everything on the label ... just "seasonings" and what have you. 

The label gets me curious, and my mind begins formulating what I'd need to make a nice chunky festive jam. It's always a process, and a bit of a surprise to see what finally materializes.

Now you can celebrate the season with this Autumn Fest Jam. It’s a cheerful jam full of figs, sweet cherries and tart cranberries. Warming spices round it all out with a touch of tawny port and brandy. It's perfectly spiced and ready for a place at your Thanksgiving table. Pair it with cheese on a charcuterie board, or serve it alongside roast turkey or chicken.

No pectin required, this jam cooks up like a marmalade. Simply cook it on your stovetop over medium-high to high heat, stirring often, until jam reaches 220 degrees on an insta-read thermometer. You don't even need to can it if you don't want to. You can freeze it or keep some in your refrigerated. 

2 cups cherries, pitted
2 cups figs
2 cups cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup tawny port
1/2 cup brandy

Chop the cherries and figs and add to a large stock pot along with the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, spices and sugar. Heat over medium-high to high heat stirring often being careful not to scorch bottom.

Cook until the jam reaches a temperature of 220 degrees (the gelling point); test  temperature with an insta-read thermometer. Add tawny port and brandy carefully OFF HEAT (be careful, jam will sputter).

Ladle jam into prepared half-pint canning jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jars with clean cloth and top with lids and rings. Process jars 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner.

Remove jars and let sit on a towel on your kitchen countertop 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't flex up or down. Store jars up to one year in your pantry. Open jars must be refrigerated.

Cook's note - If you are not canning the jam, store in refrigerator up to 3-4 weeks. Jam may be frozen up to 6 months.


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