Seven Gift-Worthy Winter Preserves
So you didn't stockpile a bounty of summer preserves to give out over the holidays? Neither did I. But it's not too late! Just because berry season is long gone doesn't mean you can't whip up a batch or two of homemade jam sure to please everyone on your gift list. From pears and cranberries to dried apricots and meyer lemons, here are our picks for perfect cold weather preserves.
Spiced Cranberry Cabernet Jam
This sophisticated jam combines the bold flavor of cabernet wine with spicy cinnamon and star anise. It packs a boozy punch, so it would be perfect for a decadent holiday brunch. It also makes a superb filling for linzer cookies.
Brandied Vanilla Pear Jam
Think of this luxurious jam as pear pie in a jar. If you don't have brandy on hand you can substitute spiced rum or bourbon. Serve with crumbly scones and plenty of sweet butter, or warm it in a saucepan over low heat and spoon it over slices of gingerbread.
Cranberry Port Jam
This brilliant red jam combines tart fresh cranberries and rich ruby port. A handful of dried cranberries add a chewy bite. It's a natural match for cornbread or pumpkin bread.
Apricot Honey Butter
My dad is an apricot fiend, so this year I'll be sure to give him a jar of this dried fruit butter with honey and crystallized ginger, adapted from the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Meyer lemons are surprisingly sweet—like a cross between a conventional lemon and a mandarin orange. This zingy marmalade is a must for any lemon lovers on your gift list. It pairs especially well with blueberry muffins.
This marmalade requires a bit of elbow grease (you have to seed a pile of tangerines) but the results are well worth it. Of all the preserves I've made over the years, this is my mother's absolute favorite.
Rosemary Pear Jam
Mellow, sweet pear and fragrant rosemary are combined in this beautiful jam. I like to serve it with cheese. It also makes a delicious and unexpected glaze for roast chicken.
About the Author: Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.