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Honey Sweetened Cara Cara Orange Jam

Back in mid-February, my husband and I made our quarterly trek out to Costco. We got necessary items like toilet paper and dishwasher tablets, as well as a number of not-so-necessary things like 96 ounces of dried blueberries and ten pounds of Cara Cara oranges.

I adore Cara Caras for their pink flesh and sweet/tart flavor. But as the sole fruit eater in my household, ten pounds is a lot to move through in a timely fashion. A preserving project was in order.

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Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite holiday-time projects was making pomander balls.

My mom would put out a bowl of oranges and give both my sister and me small dishes filled with cloves. We’d use toothpicks to pre-prick the oranges with patterns and then would poke cloves into those spots. When they were all done, we’d roll them in a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and then set them around the house in small saucers.

10 oranges in a bowl

They were time consuming, but I loved making them. Nothing smells quite so much like the Christmas season to me than the combination of orange and spice.

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Honey-Sweetened Apricot Thyme Jam

Every July, I buy a 25 pound box of apricot seconds and spent the next week scurrying from one recipe to the next.

It’s a race again time to get all that fruit cooked into jams, chutneys, mustards, and other preserves before they begin to soften, brown, and develop moldy patches.

Some might question this behavior, but when you love apricots as much as I do, it is imperative to squirrel away as many pounds of this sunny, short-seasoned stonefruit as is possible when they’re available.

apricots

One of my very favorite apricot preserves is a honey-sweetened jam, gently flavored with something herbaceous. It’s a really good trick, because it takes a basic preserve and transforms it into a perfect pair for cheeses, roast meats, and other sweet-and-savory applications.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Honey Jam on www.simplebites.net #DIY #jam #homemade

Strawberry-Rhubarb Honey Jam Recipe (sugar-free)

My rhubarb plants have been benefiting from the cool summer weather (okay, not this week, but June was awfully rainy) and are still producing at a terrific rate.

As Danny recently wrote, we’ve been frequenting our local strawberry u-pick,  and so it was only a matter of time before these two ingredients were married in a classic jam combination.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Honey Jam on www.simplebites.net #DIY #jam #homemade

Strawberry-rhubarb jam just might be my favorite flavor pairing, and I make several big batches (and a few tiny) every spring. This year, however, I attempted two variations on a sugar-free version, substituting honey instead.

If it works for strawberry jam, why not its sister variety? We go through a lot of jam over the winter, spooning it into homemade yogurt for quick breakfasts, slathering it onto sandwich bread for school lunches, and spreading it on pancakes for a lazy weekend brunch.

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