Have you guys heard about food swaps? Apparently they’re the cool new thing. People all over the country are whipping up delicious things in their kitchens (or growing them in their backyards) and then swapping for other tasty goods with like-minded individuals. So when our library director put a food swap on our calendar, I was really excited to participate! The only thing: I wanted to bring something a little bit different.
A few years ago I nabbed a Better Homes & Garden canning magazine. It had a recipe for carrot cake jam that I fully intended to make and enter in the Dutchess County Fair. I don’t know what happened, but I never got around to it. Until yesterday.
Now, before I share this recipe, be warned: there is a ton of sugar in it. But it’s jam. And that’s the way it goes. I did use no-sugar pectin so in theory I could have reduced how much I used, but I didn’t.
OK. So, the first thing you need to do is start your water bath and sterilize your canning jars, new lids, and bands.
Next, combine 1 peeled diced pear (I used my food processor to make the pieces really tiny and save time), 2 cups of shredded carrots, a 16 oz. can of crushed pineapple in 100% juice (NOT heavy syrup), lemon juice (when canning, use bottled because it has a consistent pH), cinnamon, and nutmeg in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.
Then, take the pot off the heat and sprinkle your pectin over the mixture. Stir it in.
Now add your sugar. Just look the other way and dump in 4 cups of white granulated sugar and 2 cups of brown sugar. (Remember, you’re not eating massive amounts of this! Although then again… you might want to.) Stir it all up again.
And like magic… you have jam!
Bring it back up to a rolling boil and stir constantly for one minute while it’s boiling. Next, take it off the heat and add 1 Tsp. vanilla and (optional) 1/4 c. flaked coconut or raising. Because I am a wild woman, I added both.
Then ladle the jam into your sterilized jars, add the lid, snug on the band, and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
IMPORTANT: Remember that processing time starts when the water returns to a big, angry boil. It does not start when you just put the jars into the pot.
I like to slather some cream cheese on (preferably homemade) bread and top it with the jam. I think it would also benefit from a sprinkling of walnuts.
This jam has been taste-tested and approved by my two boys, ages 7 and 10, so you know it’s good!