Category Archives: preserving

Whatever-cello – another fruit+booze story

I made too much limoncello last year. Yes – really - REALLY – it is possible. I used my entire Lemon Ladies large flat rate box’s worth to make limoncello. After I made lemon curd, kiwi meyer lemon jam, preserved lemons, an incredible lemon tart, raspberry meyer lemon preserves, and more… they all went into TWO half gallon jars of vodka. So yes – a gallon of limoncello. After lots of adult lemonade by the pool and then lots of gifts at the holidays – I am just finishing up the last of it. And while it’s crazy good – I am so over limoncello.

This year, I am one upping my -cello. I may not live in California where rare citrus is all over the place like Shae or be close enough to Eataly like Autumn to grab some bergamots on my way home from work – but I am close enough to a Food Co-op that is well stocked in organic citrus. There are no rangpurs or mandarinquats, but there are limes, cara cara oranges, grapefruits and kumquats. Perfect to grab a couple, make some citrus tom collinses and have the rind leftover.

Part of the reason that meyer limoncello is so great is the lazy factor. You can use the whole rind without stripping the zest, i.e. – just toss it into the booze. The bitter pith is so thin on meyers that meyer-cello is next to no work. Meyers + alcohol + simple syrup + time. Kumquats are thin enough to just slice. With other citrus though, you really have to strip the zest and discard the pith. You can use a microplane, but then you would have to strain your -cello. I found my vegetable peeler made quick work of the other citrus, but – oh man – it was a whole other step from last year.

I’m going to let this batch sit for a week or so – shaking when I remember to – and I’ll probably leave out the simple syrup. I can always add it in later. Plus, that way – I can infuse the simple syrup. I’ve been scheming up a citrus-infused cocktail with black pepper and bay simple syrup. We’ll see what this summer brings, when I am screaming for an icy cocktail instead of shivering under my lap blanket on the couch. But remember – its not blood-orange-lime-kumquat-grapefruit-meyer-cello, its whatever-cello. And its delicious. And you should make it right now to enjoy later this year.

Whatever-cello
Method: Add citrus rind to your favorite glass vessel and cover with alcohol. You can use grain alcohol, but I prefer a lesser bite and use vodka. Plus – I’m a sucker for any alcohol with a snowflake on the label. Ahem. Add more as the citrus to the vessel season progresses. Keep everything covered – infuse for up to a month – but the first stage should be good after a week or so. At that point, add an equal part simple syrup to double the volume. Its easiest if you start with two jars of the same size – divide the batch in half when you add the syrup. Infuse another week to finish. Remove the zest and store in the freezer for up to a year.

If vodka isn’t your thing, and you are more tequila-inclined, check out Kaela’s Meyeritas. Or a citrus shrub. Or if citrus isn’t your fav, you can always try a pineapple infusion. If all else fails, make bitters!

Winter Blues + Lemon Ladies Giveaway

What a strange winter we’re having. It’s snowed only twice. I mean, actual accumulation on the ground snow – not wintry mix quasi flurries freezing rain stuff. Twice. Once during Snowtober, once last week. Its a running joke that I have reverse seasonal affective disorder – but not in 2012. I’m just as cranky as the rest of you this year.

Cranky for a bunch of reasons, but also cranky because of my pantry. It’s the same old story – too much jam. Too many pickles. Not enough other stuff. Typical, but still frustrating. Luckily, I stashed away some fruit in the chest freezer. (It even survived Irene!) I’m even luckier, as I have the California secret weapon to eliminate all winter crankiness. Its guaranteed to cure what ails ya this time of year. I dare you to breathe in the scent of fresh-picked meyer lemons and not feel instant relief from the winter blues.

I was introduced to Karen’s fabulous lemons last year, and I am as hooked as ever. Before I order this year’s batch, I’ve promised myself to finish last year’s. That’s right – lemons I ordered a year ago – preserved in salt and spices since last February. Smoked paprika, cayenne, sugar, cinnamon, salt, peppercorn and bay leaf have worked their magic and transformed the meyers into something completely different. These lemons are my favorite use from last year – they bring an an amazing amount of flavor. Blueberries and lemon are one of those epic combinations – and this compote is no different. Best served over ice cream or yogurt, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Winter Blues Compote
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries
Rind of one whole preserved lemon (4 quarters) chopped fine
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients over medium-low heat. Cook until it reaches desired consistency – but be careful – blueberries will set up quickly. If you’re feeling impatient (ahem) mash the blueberries to speed up the process. Remove cinnamon to serve. This will keep well in the fridge, though I am equally sure it would transition well as a shelf-stable recipe with the addition of a little lemon juice.

To help cure your winter blues, Lemon Ladies Orchard has offered a meyer lemon gift bag to one SK reader. Let me know how you beat winter crankiness – leave a comment with a valid email address below to enter. Giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Saturday February 4.

Pimp That Preserve 2011

Tis the season… for gifting your preserves! And if you are going to go through the trouble to preserve the best of the season and design a label for it – why not go one step further and decorate the jar? If you are in need of some inspiration, Joel and Dana from Well Preserved are hosting Pimp That Preserve again this year. The idea is straightforward: dress up your preserves for a night out on the town. Use anything that doesn’t affect the contents of the jar and let your imagination run wild! They have some ideas up already to help get your creative juices flowing – I LOVE their pickled garlic label. Note to self: pickle more garlic next year.

After the PTP finalists are selected, the winners will score some awesome prizes. Kate Payne donated an autographed copy of her book The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking. Another winner will take home a copy of  We Sure Can by Sarah B. Hood that features many fellow preservers. The last prize is an archival print of the Periodic Table of WaterBath Preserving from Joel and Dana themselves (the one I’ve got my eye on!)

[slideshow]

I like to dress up jars with the flavors of what’s inside. I made a Plum Cardamom Almond Conserve in October with plums from Easy Pickins Orchard. It was a great year for Italian Prune Plums, and the flavor of this one was nicely enhanced with cardamom and cinnamon and a handful of crushed almonds. Hence the cinnamon stick, almond and cardamom garnish – just dont sneeze or the almond might fall out! For actual giving I am going to have to tie it in better.

I always make a lot of cucumber pickles. Too many, in fact. This year, I made a bunch of sweet zucchini pickles with brown mustard and fenugreek to try and mix it up a little. They were nicely spicy but still had enough zip to be interesting. Have you heard of the German pickle ornament tradition? Whether its true or not, its fun to gift a gift of pickles with a pickle tradition that goes along with it. Just dont try to hide the pickle up the angel’s skirt – that one’s been done before.

My favorite entry this year is naturally the snowflake themed one. Not that you would know its wintertime by looking outside… I think you guys know by now that I am a fan of winter. I bought the wooden tags on Etsy last year, but got overly attached to give them out on gifts. Then it dawned on my how great they would look on a jar. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Good luck to all of those entering PTP this year – the deadline is Monday December 12 at midnight!

Asian Pear Cranberry Relish

We don’t have Thanksgiving. We have Thanksgivingses. On Thursday, its off to a familial location with a few side dishes in tow. I get to skip the stresses of hosting (though I suspect it will change in the future) and spend all day eating and Skyping with those who couldn’t join us. On Saturday, we have a bunch of friends over for a potluck Thanksgiving Redux. No leftovers allowed. This one we usually host, but it’s carefree and relaxed, with plenty of nostalgia and lots of… ahem… alcohol.

Where does that hosting Thanksgiving pressure come from anyway? I have no problem doing the turkey and gravy. I am one of those people who think knowing how to roast a whole chicken or turkey should be a kitchen requirement upon moving out. When friends bring side dishes, bread and pie – hosting a Thanksgiving is as stress-free as it gets. Our house is full and noisy and loud. And messy. But joyful. I fully admit to the fact that I will never be Martha Stewart. In fact, I particularly suck at table setting. We might even break out tablecloths this year (!) and I might decoratively pile some candles and butternut squash on the table, but that’s about it.

Truth is, I have different priorities. Like a lot of you, it’s all about the food. If the turkey is dried out – I’m going home. Well, not really. But the thought will cross my mind. That’s why its important to a) for the love of God – use a meat thermometer! and b) don’t take on too much. It’s very, very easy to go overboard.

As of Tuesday night, here is my Thanksgiving To Do List:
Family Thanksgiving: 
Cranberry Relish, Rosemary Squash Side Dish (Thanks Kaela!), Brandied Cherry Crostata
Thanksgiving Redux:
Appetizers – Hummus (Caramelized Onion? Preserved Lemon? Roasted Tomato?), White Bean Rip with Rosemary, Bacon & Apple Bruschetta, Assorted Pickles, Cheese, Mustard, Bread.
Dinner – Dry-brined Dry Rubbed Turkey, Polish Holiday Kielbasa, Mushroom & Thyme Gravy, Sausage Apple Cornbread Dressing, Cranberry Relish.

I’m hitting publish and starting on the crostata dough. Tomorrow I bake off the crostata as well as the rosemary squash side dish. Friday is shopping (anything needed is on sale!), brining, making the dressing and dips. Everything else is for the day of. And the cranberry relish? Made this past weekend.

We never really did the canned cranberry sauce growing up, so I don’t have those great memories (and great plates!) like Marisa. She makes excellent points about all the reasons to skip traditional jellied cranberry sauce – high fructose corn syrup and BPA, to name a few. She leaves out the nasty, nasty hidden pesticide use by the cranberry industry. The Pesticide Action Network reports that conventionally farmed cranberries have multiple carcinogens, hormone distruptors,  and neurotoxins. Moreover – the pesticides are toxic to honeybees, which is a whole other problem unto itself. Need any more reasons to make your own? No? Good.

This recipe really is spectacularly easy. Something to make on the back burner while cooking other things. Definitely my kind of project. The dried cranberries deepen and enrich the flavors and texture. I happened to have some of Easy Pickins Asian Pears in my kitchen, so in they went too. Apples would also be a lovely add in in a pinch.

Asian Pear Cranberry Relish
One pound ORGANICALLY FARMED cranberries
5 large/10 small asian pears, cored and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup spiced rum (I like Kraken)
Juice & zest of an orange
1/4 cup candied ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of kosher salt

Rinse the cranberries well and pick out any bad ones. Add the water, cook over medium heat until the cranberries start to burst. At that point, add everything except the ginger and orange zest and cook until it reaches the consistency  you like – about 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger and the orange zest, and then spoon into your glass jar of choice. Serve at room temperature and never think of the industrial stuff again.

PS: As far as putting this in jars – I suspect it would transition well to a waterbath recipe with a splash of lemon juice as the pears are low acid. After the usual prep, process in pints or half pints for 10 minutes.

Pear Pepita Pomegranate Chutney

I went to my local food co-op last week to pick up a few ingredients for some green tomato chutney. Our co-op has a fantastic selection of dried fruit, and I might have gone a little crazy. Does that ever happen to you? You go to a place that’s a little out of the way and you end up treating it as a special trip and coming home with way more stuff than you intended? Yeah. Totally guilty.

So I came home with the dried raisins that I needed – the only ingredient I went in for, of course. And I came out with dried cherries, currants, apricots, mangoes, roasted & salted pepitas, cashews, coffee, organic lemons, oranges, red pears, kiwis and two pomegranates. A little crazy in the bulk foods and fresh produce sections. It happens.

Have you made a chutney yet? You really ought to. It’s pretty much perfect with cheese and equally great paired with your Thanksgiving turkey. And I love that it can be precisely planned out or made spur of the moment with whatever’s lying around. A preserver’s best friend, really. So make this, you wont regret it.

Pear Pepita Pomegranate Chutney
3 red pears, cored and cubed in small chunks
1 Granny Smith Apple, cubed
Aerils of half a pomegranate – about 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1/2 cup roasted & salted pepitas
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper

Combine all the ingredients together except for the pomegranate aerils. If life happens, like it tends to happen to me, you can throw everything together and toss it in the fridge for a day or two before processing. The dried fruit and spices rehydrate in the vinegar and honey – just make sure you stir it a couple of times to prevent browning. Don’t let it go more than a couple of days, though. If you have a day job – chopping up the fruit the night before and processing after work the next day works well. Cook on low for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour until it reaches the consistency you like. Add in the pomegranate aerils last – they will stand up better that way. The chutney will keep in the fridge for about a month. For a shelf-stable jar, pack hot chutney into hot jars to 1/2 inch headspace. Bubble jars, wipe rims, top with hot, wet lids and process for 15 minutes.

This recipe is squarely on the sweet side of chutneys. It’s definitely got a punch of yellow mustard and some subtle heat from the black mustard. If you want more heat, this could certainly benefit from a diced jalapeño or habanero if you’re more adventurous. I didn’t happen to have any chiles in the house so I left them out. Ginger could be a nice touch too. Just don’t overcomplicate it.

Reflections Take Two & Pears in Tea Syrup

This wasn’t the way this year was supposed to be.

2011 was going to be great. I was going to preserve a whole bunch of things I had yet to try. Pickled peaches? So there. Homemade maraschino cherries? You bet. I was even going to explore new worlds of foraging, fermentation, dehydration and pressure canning… except it didn’t really happen. More jam and cucumber pickles in the larder. Sigh.

I was going to go pick cherries and peaches and blueberries and apples and pears for days on end. I got in some picking, but Irene and Alfred (I guess that’s what we’re calling this recent mess) took much of the produce this year. Connecticut farmers are hurting – the final day of the biggest farmers market in the state was cancelled this weekend due to the unexpected snow. Buying local is more important than ever and financially its harder than ever.

I was supposed to get a decent paying job after graduation. Not a “good” paying job – just enough to pay my bills and start paying back my mountain of student loans. I paid my dues, I passed all the tests and I got three degrees. The job didn’t happen.

It’s not all as bleak as I am making it out to be. Good things have happened. For a start, we can call ourselves CSA-ers. Without a doubt, we are now committed to Community Supported Agriculture for life. Once finances change, we will move into meat, fruit and other CSAs. Pre-paid veggies really saved our asses this summer.

I tried this whole preserves business thing. The jury is still out over whether it will continue into next year, but for now I have no regrets. I suppose you cant ask for more in a startup business.

Oh – and lest I forget – I do have a roof over my head, a pantry full of mostly local food, and I am able to scrape by financially. And – somewhat of a rarity these days – I also have electricity, hot water and heat.

So, that’s life isn’t it? Playing the hand you’re dealt. Sticking with the things that work, and learning from your mistakes. This recipe I made for the first time last year, and its definitely a keeper for the long haul. So grab your ice cream out of the snowbank – these pears are great heated through on your Coleman stove and poured over some vanilla.

Bartlett Pears in Lady Grey Syrup
4ish pounds of Bartlett pears
3 cups of sugar
4 cups of water
3 Lady Grey tea bags
1 vanilla bean
1 whole cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves

Set the syrup to boil over medium high heat – keep an eye on it, burnt sugar is a giant pain to clean off of your stove. Once the syrup has come to a boil, add the tea bags, split and scraped vanilla bean, cinnamon and cloves. Let steep at least 3 hours – or even overnight.

Once you’ve tasted the syrup and you feel it’s up to your satisfaction, start on the pears. Peel, core and halve the pears. You can take the stems off, but I like to leave them on to grab the pears out of the jar. Cold pack the pears in jars – feel free to add new cloves and cinnamon to each jar if you like. Re-boil the syrup, and pour over your jars. This is a recipe that does require bubbling, though not as much as a fruit butter. Top with hot, wet lids and rings and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yield approximately 3 quarts.

Smoky Pickled Green Tomatoes with Garlic

Does anyone else feel like they need a day off just to stay on top of all of the things (ahem, produce) in their kitchen? Ah, shoulder season… wait – still? Is it still shoulder season? It must be because there are still tomatoes on my counter. It should have slowed down by now, but somehow in mid-October due to the ridiculous weather we’ve been having, I am still struggling to stuff summer in a jar. Of course the apples and pears won’t be around forever, so I can’t put them off much longer either.

In these rapid fire days, the time and effort to work through a recipe and – frankly – to actually take a non-shitty photograph is rare. So, as you might have noticed, I have been a slacker about the blog. Once things slow down and the frost comes (read: and there’s not a whole lot else to do but blog in these snowy parts) I will be back in force. I hope.

In the meantime, here’s a recipe I threw together with the last of the green tomatoes from our CSA. It’s got garlic and pimentón, and while I haven’t cracked a jar yet it smelled pretty delicious putting together. I plan to crack it open in the dead of winter with some braised-all-day roast pork or beef or chicken. Probably in a full on nor’easter while dreaming of the crazy times we call shoulder season.

Smoky Pickled Green Tomatoes with Garlic
5ish pounds green (and some pink on the inside) tomatoes
one small white onion, sliced into slivers
six cloves of garlic, chopped/sliced
smoked paprika/pimentón (The good stuff please.)
black peppercorns
bay leaves
Brine: 1.5 quarts white vinegar, 1.5 quarts water, 6 tablespoons kosher salt

First thing’s first – turn on the canner and give your jars of choice a dunk to sterilize. Because its shoulder season and the canner hasn’t left the stove – you’re already halfway there. Bring a half vinegar-half water brine to a boil in another pot. I had leftover brine with this ratio, but no matter how much I try, I always seem to have leftover brine no matter what I do. Core and chop the green tomatoes into small chunks and toss with the garlic and onions. Add them to your hot jars. Top with smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon for doubters and 1 tablespoon for true believers. By true believers – I mean people who just can’t say no to putting it in everything. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet – you will be. Top with just off the boil brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Add hot, wet lids and rings and process for 10 minutes. Enjoy in a few months, when you’ve bottled up as much of summer’s bounty in your pantry as you can and you’re finally relaxing a little. If you can ever bring yourself to relax, that is…

Sungold Thyme Bam

Like everyone else, I love heirloom tomato season. But unlike everyone else, I get sick of the massive knotted juicy ones in about a week. I know. I construct a couple of BLTs, whip together a caprese or two, enjoy a panzanella salad with Farm to Hearth bread and then I’ve about had it. For a month or so. Then I usually go tomato crazy again right as the season ends, conveniently just before all of the seconds/bulk deals dwindle off.

It might have something to do with the fact that I am the sole tomato eater in the household. Its not that Jon doesn’t like them – like most guys his age he’s rarely met a tomato sauce/pasta combination he doesn’t inhale. However – raw tomatoes? Verboten due to allergies. So when I grab a couple of big beautiful heirlooms at our farmer’s market or from our CSA, its up to me to eat it all.

Photo Credit: Sue Muldoon/CRFM Market Roots Project (click for more info)

So I tend to reach for the cherry and grape-sized tomatoes when I can – they last longer! Its easier to have a few one day, then wait a little bit, and use them in something else a few days later. Our CSA operates as a fill your bag with your choices program, and I am 100% guilty of grabbing up to 6 quarts of small tomatoes. I eat them like candy at work. I slow roast them at 200° for 5 hours and then freeze them for winter soups. But I was looking for something new.

Enter, a bam. I believe it was Kaela at Local Kitchen who coined the term bam - not quite a butter, not quite a jam, something uniquely awesome unto itself. This recipe was particularly because it cooked in the background while I did about fifteen million other preserving projects and provided a snack when done. I am all about multitask preserving.

Sungold Thyme Bam
Inspired by Local Kitchen’s 10 Minute Sour Cherry Bam and Food in Jars’ Yellow Tomato and Basil Jam

4ish pints of small tomatoes – sungold, cherry, grape, pear
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1-2 tablespoons fresh if you have it)
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 fresh red chile – diced finely (optional)

Throw the tomatoes into a saucepan. Cook down over medium/medium low heat for several hours – mashing and stirring occasionally. A lot of water has to cook out here – so its going to take some time. You could always roast them and strain them to speed up the process, but this way worked best when I had other things going on in the kitchen. Once they reach the consistency you like, add the rest of the ingredients and cook another few minutes. Your mileage may vary on the sugar – you can probably get away with less when using super sweet sungold tomatoes but I like the glossy consistency the sugar lends to the bam. It will keep for a week in the fridge, but you could also waterbath it: ladle hot bam into hot jars, top with hot wet lids and process for 10 minutes.

This bam/spread/condiment/whatever you want to call it is all over the place. Right up front you get sweetness of the tomatoes and a nice hit of thyme, and then a warming bit of heat comes in at the end from the chile. It would make a great compliment to a smoked gouda burger and sit equally well alongside some baked chicken. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to add to eggs of all kinds either – scrambled ones at breakfast or quiche/frittata at lunch or dinner. My favorite way, though is one of the simplest – crack open your beverage of choice and serve alongside some sharp cheddar and crackers.

Peach Jam for Peggy

Ok, I’ll admit it. I make a lot of fancy jam. Jameson Ginger Peach, Sour Cherry Lime Rickey and Apricot Pimentón to name a few. So I’m not surprised when I get requests for ”plain” jam from friends and family. Dad asked for “just strawberry” for father’s day. Though it may not be kicked up with other flavors, there’s still something great about “plain” old strawberry jam – especially when it’s made with first of the season local strawberries. I might have snuck some limoncello in Dad’s “just strawberry jam” though – don’t tell.

Jon’s grandmother is turning 90 this weekend, and the whole family is down in Florida to celebrate with her. 90 is a special milestone, and Peggy is a particularly special lady. She is full of fantastic stories and wont hesitate to share her wisdom even if she’s meeting you for the first time. Mariachi players always compete for her attention at our local Mexican restaurant. She is the only 90-year-old I know that will beat your pants off at Dr. Mario on Super Nintendo. And then ask you why you set your level so low. She will also unapologetically kick your ass at cards – and we love her for it.

We couldn’t make it down to Florida this time, but we did send some homemade jam in our stead. “Plain Peach” as requested. Happy Birthday Peggy – sending you lots of love from Connecticut.

Peach Jam for Peggy
4 cups peaches
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon low sugar pectin
Juice & zest of one lemon

Combine mashed peaches and sugar over medium heat. Skim off any foam, cooking for approximately 25 minutes. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn When it reaches your desired consistency, add the pectin and cook for 5 more minutes at a rolling boil. Ladle into hot jars, top with hot wet lids and process for 10 minutes.

Jameson Ginger Peach Jam

This weekend, Kaela commented that all preserving blogs are sporadic this time of year because we’re all in the kitchen. Well… she’s half right in my case. It does seem like my canner hasn’t left the stove. I’ve put up mixed squash and onion pickles with saffron and thyme, pickled hot peppers, marinated poblanos, and roasted red bell peppers with garlic. This week at the market I picked up 20 lbs of canning tomatoes and 10 lbs of tomatillos. Next week, it looks like a flat of fall raspberries, Italian prune plums and more plum tomatoes. We haven’t even gotten to apples, pears and quince yet. Sigh.

Clearly, it’s the perfect time to get in a rut. Irene took a lot out of me. More than I want to admit, I think. I remain financially and emotionally exhausted even though we’ve had power back for over a week now. At the end of the day, I’m cranky. I just don’t want to come home and stand over the canner for hours. I worked a 9+ hour day with a long commute – I just want to put my feet up and (usually) have a drink. That very exhaustion made this weekend’s visit from Kate and Kaela (and Tai) not only fun but also surprisingly restorative. It’s because these people are the kind of like-minded friends who make you feel at home even though you’ve never actually met them in real life. I mean, we hadn’t met each other, but we did know each other. In a 21st century kind of way.

And man, are these good friends to have.  They come bearing gingery watermelon rind pickles, smoked paprika peach jam, sugar plum crumble preserves, and the most addictive seedy brittle that makes you swear the future diabetes will be worth it. Not to mention the great conversations we had. Oh, and wine. These are damn talented, damn inspiring folks, that for some crazy reason came from very, very far away to hang out with me.

But truly, the best part about this weekend is that I actually enjoyed this weekend’s preserving for the first time in a while. I wasn’t just going through the motions. Maybe it was because this recipe was one of my favorites from last year, and for good reason. Inspired by a Jameson & Ginger at your favorite Irish pub, but with double the ginger and a peach base. In this year’s batch I added a bit of lime zest, which I think added a nice twist. Make sure to add it at the end. And then share it with all of your friends.

Jameson Ginger Peach Jam
4 cups peaches
1.5-2 cups cane sugar
1/4 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp candied ginger
pinch of salt
zest and juice of one lime

Combine chopped/smashed peaches and sugar in your favorite jam pot and bring to a boil. Let cook down for about 20 minutes, scooping off the foam until most of the water evaporates and it becomes glossy and thick. Add half the whiskey, ginger(s), salt and lime juice. Bring to a rolling boil for another 5ish minutes or until it reaches 220°. If you want to add a teaspoon of pectin, you are welcome to, but this jam does just fine without. The set is loose, but still structurally sound enough for toast or scones. And hey, if it doesn’t set up, you can always throw a few spoonfuls in a glass with some seltzer, ice and more whiskey. Just before taking it off the heat, stir in the lime zest and rest of the whiskey. Pack in hot, wet jars with 1/2″ headspace and process for 10 minutes.