I have tried several new recipes in the past few weeks, some have been successes, some not so much...but my favorite thing has been making marmalade & jam! I spent part of last fall lamenting that I hadn't canned any jam that summer due to moving, and trying to make orange marmalade that never totally jelled. I knew I should try again, but I had no desire until I actually felt I had to buy some jam since we ran out of apple butter, and I had nothing besides the "marmalade" and my boys don't love it like I do.
Then comes the discovery that Alton Brown has 2 winter jam recipe possibilities! Spiced blueberry jam from frozen berries & cranberry jam from cranberries! How exciting. :) Unfortunately, we'd already eaten all the cranberries I bought and there aren't any more at the store, but frozen blueberries were quickly obtained at the bulk store for a decent price.
His blueberry jam is flavored with freshly ground star anise & nutmeg. The anise smells like licorice, and adds a fun twist to the jam recipe. It is delicious jam and he wrote the recipe fairly thoroughly. The recipe can be found at this link.
Then one of my favorite food bloggers, Mercedes, wrote about a Grapefruit marmalade with vanilla and I had to try it. I have never had grapefruit marmalade and she raved about the flavor that the vanilla added. It was a long, slow cooked marmalade, and came out wonderfully. But the vanilla flavor was a bit odd to DH & I, so I made another batch without the vanilla, and the differences are fascinating. While the vanilla flavored marmalade is almost too sweet, but delicious in a unique way, the one without is delicious and full bodied from the long slow simmer. I really like it and think I will adapt the idea of it to orange marmalade. It is an excellent way to use all the awesome local grapefruit and oranges we have here in TX.
The result has been some satisfying restocking of the jam supply in our home, and my boys are delighted with the blueberry jam. I will have to make more soon I'm sure!