Unusual Jams & Jellies

Need a recipe to get that "OMG!" reaction? Check out this collection of Unusual Jams & Jellies--Perfect for your Fancy Pantry!

Banana Nut Bread Jam

10 ripe bananas, pureed (need 3 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, minced
1 box pectin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional

Mix bananas, walnuts, lemon juice and powdered pectin in large kettle. Stir while bringing to a full rolling boil. All at once add sugars. Stirring continuously, heat until full rolling boil. Continue to heat 1 minute. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 pints.

Apple Pie Jam
Turns any ol' pancake or waffle into an apple pie!

4 cups tart apples, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
4 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 (1 3/4 oz) box dry pectin
1 tsp. butter

Measure apples in a measuring cup, and then add in the same measuring cup water to fill up to the 4 cup line (with the apples in it). Put into a heavy saucepan. Add pectin, butter, spices and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.

Add sugars and bring back to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Put on lids, and process in water bath 10 minutes.

Rose petal jelly

1 dry quart rose petals
1 quart water
juice of two lemons
4 cups sugar

Pick one quart of scented roses. The original recipe suggests dog roses, but as they're now over, mine was a mixture of the beautiful English rose Noble Antony (David Austen), Tuscany Superb, Gloire de Dijon, a pretty little unnamed pale pink rambler by the front door, and Compassion. I don't spray my roses (or anything, come to that), so they're okay to eat.

Pull the petals off the stalks. Check for insects - I put several earwigs back into the garden, as well as a couple of small grasshoppers. Put the petals in a stainless steel saucepan with a quart of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. They will completely lose their color, and the water will turn a murky shade of reddish-brown, deliciously scented. Strain this into a glass bowl and cool.

Next you add the lemon juice, and a magical thing happens - the murky brown suddenly becomes a beautiful and bright pink. Pour this back into the pan, and add 4 cups of sugar. When the sugar has disappeared, turn up the heat a little and bring to the boil. It will take 10 minutes to reach setting point, test the gel.

Leave it to cool a little before bottling - if you do this, you'll find that much of the scum disappears. Skim it off or leave it--it doesn't hurt the flavor. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Put on lids, and process in boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 half pints.

Cactus-Date Conserve

2 cups prickly pear cactus, thinly sliced
1 1/2 dozen dates, stoned and cut into pieces
Juice and grated rind of 1 orange
2 slices pineapple, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, broken

Cook slowly until of desired consistency. Five minutes before removing from heat, add nuts. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 pints.

Cantaloupe Jam

Cantaloupe (very ripe)
3/4 pound granulated sugar per pound of cantaloupe
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, mace and cinnamon
per each pound of cantaloupe

Peel cantaloupe and remove the seeds. Weigh and chop very fine. Put sugar and cantaloupe into a kettle with a little water. Cook slowly until fruit can be mashed. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until thick. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Carrot Jam Recipe
Like a marmalade, this sweet jam uses carrots, providing extra dimensions of texture and flavor, for a fun topping.

1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)
1 orange, juice and finely chopped zest
1 lemon, juice and finely chopped zest
1 lime, juice and finely chopped zest
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Have ready 4 half-pint jars with suitable lids, if planning to process in a water bath. If not, any container(s) totaling 1 quart will do. Remove zest and then juice the fruits. There should be about 1 cup total juice.

Heat all ingredients together over low heat until sugar has dissolved, 3 - 4 minutes. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thick, about 30 minutes.

Spoon jam into containers. If processing, leave 1/2 inch of headspace in the jars and process while hot. If refrigerating or freezing, cool to room temperature first.

This jam will keep, refrigerated, for weeks, but for longer storage, freeze or process in a boiling water bath: 30 minutes for half pints or pints.

Although the jam can be used immediately, the flavor improves after a few days.

Grand Marnier Marmalade

2 cups thinly-sliced kumquats
2 cups navel oranges, seeded and chopped
7 cups water
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3/4 cup Grand Marnier
Sugar equal to cooked fruit

Place kumquats, oranges, and water in glass bowl. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours.

Pour fruit mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a full, rolling boil over high heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon and Grand Marnier. Measure this mixture and add equal amount of sugar. Again bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes. When mixture begins to gel, remove from heat. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes 6 1/2 pint jars.

Kool-Aid Jelly

1 package Kool-Aid, any flavor (no sugar added)
1 package Sure-Jell
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water

Mix water, Sure-Jell and Kool-Aid together. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Stir and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a large metal spoon. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with two-part lid and ring. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Lavender Jelly

Source: The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery

2 1/4 cups bottled apple juice (the clearest you can find)
1 cup lavender flowers
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 (4 ounce) bottle liquid pectin

Place apple juice and lavender in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then strain.

Return 2 cups of this juice to the heat, add the sugar, and stirring constantly, bring to a full boil. Stir in the liquid pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, skim off the foam, and pour into jelly glasses with a sprig of lavender in each glass and seal. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.

Makes about 5 half pints.

Port Wine Jelly

You can use any wine you like for this jelly. Just substitute your favorite, and eliminate the cinnamon sticks.

2 cups good-quality port wine
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
3 ounces liquid pectin (Certo)

Prepare canning jars according to manufacturer's directions. Combine port, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in a heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Stir to help dissolve the sugar. Boil vigorously for 2 minutes; remove the pan from the heat, and immediately add the pectin. Spoon the jelly into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Place a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar. boiling water bath: 10 minutes.