Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Jam

As the holidays are quickly approaching, I wanted to share a great tip with you. For years I have set aside one day to make fresh jam. I know it is hard to believe, but it actually makes the holidays much easier. Let me explain why... I am prepared with a great hostess gift for a last minute dinner party. I can make a quick and thoughtful gift by adding a fresh basket of muffins for a neighbor or teacher. I am prepared with a quick and easy appetizer by pouring jam over cream cheese and serving with crackers. Unexpected guests are no problem, just warm up a little jam to pour over vanilla ice cream or even cheesecake. Homemade jam is something everyone loves and truly appreciates.

Not only is this gift for our friends and families, but this gift has really become a gift to me and my children. Traditions often happen without even realizing it, which is what happened when I began making jam. My children were always underfoot in the kitchen, so I would give them a little job they could do while watching me cook. Making jam was no different. They loved to make labels and decorations for the jars. We would spend the entire day together in the kitchen laughing and singing, making our gifts together. Today my kids could make jam all on their own, but they still look forward to this time together.

I have always felt that the kitchen is the heart of our home. The best gift we can give is one from our heart! Happy Holidays from our home to yours!

Cranberry~Peach Jam

7 Cups chopped Peaches
3 Cups fresh Cranberries, whole or chopped
1 Cup Jalapenos (optional)
6 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

In large stockpot, bring fruit to simmer on high heat, stirring often. Constantly stirring, add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time and bring liguid back up to a simmer.Add lemon juice. Continue stirring constantly and boil on high until liguid reaches 210 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly ladle into sterile jam jars. Once new sterile lids are tightly in place, turn jars upside down for 15-20 minutes to seal. Place jars right side up and cool completely before storing.

*Frozen peaches and cranberries may be used. Thaw fruit before cooking.

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