SPICY PEAR BUTTERI wasn't sure letting my Puerto-Rican friend, C, make the spice paste for this bold pear butter was the best idea I'd had. But once it cooled down, and I spread it on some whole wheat bread, I was convinced: the spices are perfect. The classic quartet of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and cloves serve as the base for playful, fiery cayenne and ancho chile. Serve it with a sharp cheddar, and let the spices work their magic. The pears are from Leedstown, VA.
PEAR WITH VANILLA AND BOURBONThis is everyone's favorite jam. It hardly needs a description. Luscious pears. Rich and warm vanilla. Sharp bourbon. All delicately balanced in a perfect, flavorful jam. People ask me what I use this for, but I've got to be honest: I eat it out of the jar, with a spoon.
LOVE IS SWEET
Cranberry + Lemon Jam
This jam takes 8 months to produce! First in the spring I make a tart, loose Lemon jelly with my parent's Meyer lemons (lovingly sent cross country). In November this jelly is paired with little jewels: organic cranberries. A tart, bright jam, in jubilant red, LOVE IS SWEET is perfect for breakfast on Christmas morning.
SPICED FEDERAL BLUEBERRY
Colonial blueberry jam recipes added cinnamon to make a warm, spicy preserve, more like a cozy fireside dinner than a bright summer day. I took this to the next level, adding all those fall baking spices (clove, ginger, allspice, as well as cinnamon). This is rich and dark and warm and so so good.
RASPBERRY + ZAVORY PEPPER
One of the prettiest jams I've ever made -- a brilliant jewel-tone magenta -- and it just kicks: Zavory is a not-too-hot pepper, that gives gentle heat to this stunner. This jam has seeds! Because seeds are the best!
The classic Cranberry + Pear combination is enhanced with some ginger. A holiday favorite.
BLACKBERRY WITH MINT
These were the tartest, largest, juiciest blackberries I'd ever seen. (Seriously: one was as large as my thumb!) I paired them with fresh mint, to create a height-of-summer fresh seeded blackberry jam.
The name is not glamorous, but this hearty, spicy chutney is to-die-for delicious. My favorite English jam-cookbook has a recipe for "compost" jelly: she takes any odd bits of fruit (when there's not enough to make a full batch) and freezes them. Then makes a jelly out of it. Well, I upped the ante, and turned it into a rich, spicy chutney, paired with dried fruit, my entire spice cupboard, fresh apples and onions.
FIG JAM WITH SHERRY
Not too sweet, this fig jam is the perfect accompaniment to roast meats and cheeses. These figs were grown by one of my neighbors, right here in suburban Virginia! They are divine.