It’s the latest obsession with staying power. Put anything in a jar and create instant appeal!! Studio 5 Contributor, Emily Bradley, shares new goodies and gifts you’ll want to package up in a mason jar.
Citrus fruits are fantastically fragrant – lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc. You can even use just the peels – or freeze a bunch until you’ve got a good collection and create a jar!
Herbs and other plants (mostly conifers – think pine) are wonderful combined with fresh citrus. Rosemary holds up well and smells great. Thyme is one of my favorites – I have been inspired to plant a plentiful herb garden this next spring!
Spices, both ground or whole, make great companions with the above ingredients. Cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg are my favorite. Whole cloves give off a great scent as well.
Vanilla, almond, mint extract – they all make everything smell even better! Whole vanilla beans are pricey but look great in the jars and smell SO good.
Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
Oranges, whole cranberries, cinnamon, cloves
Lemon, rosemary, vanilla
Grapefruit, vanilla, basil (the basil doesn’t look too great after the first burn but smells great!)
Lime, thyme, mint and vanilla extract
Pine, bay leaves, nutmeg (microplane the outer surface then throw the rest in)
Rosemary, lavender and vanilla
There are all sorts of ways to heat your subtle scents. The most powerful method is on the stove top. Dump jar contents into a small saucepan and let the ingredients simmer. Just keep checking on your water level and top it off regularly! A mini crock pot set on the low setting is another great method. Just leave it uncovered. Electric mug warmers and ceramic electric candle warmers give off a very light fragrance – they’re great in a bathroom or in the corner of your cubicle. Pop your jar in the microwave (remember to take off the lid!) to warm the ingredients and then set the actual jar on top of the warmer.
These make a beautiful centerpiece all lined up on your table. You can pop the lids on and send a jar home with each guest – lucky them!
Caramel Apple Jam
6 c. apples, diced and peeled (I use my apple peeler/corer/slicer making this step a breeze)
1 c. water
1 T butter
1 package powdered fruit pectin (1.75 ounces)
2 ½ c. sugar
2 ½ c. brown sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground nutmeg
Combine apples, water and butter. Cook over low heat for 1-2 hours until the apples are soft. Stir regularly. (I covered my apples in between stirring so they cooked a little faster.)
When the apples are about ready, boil a large stock pot of water – your jars need to be covered by at least 2 inches. Place a towel on the bottom of your pot so your jars won’t break.
Stir in the pectin and bring the mix to a rolling boil.
Add the sugar and return to a rolling boil. Stir your mixture constantly until everything is incorporated – about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and spoon the jam into clean jars. Leave about a quarter of an inch at the top of each jar. I like to use a funnel for this part to reduce my mess. Clean off the rim, place a sterile new lid on the jar followed by a ring. Turn the ring just until you begin to feel resistance. I got six 8 ounce jars out of the mixture. There was just enough for a ladle on top of some vanilla ice cream – YUM!
Carefully place the jars in the stock pot of water and boil for 10-12 minutes. The lids will depress as they cool. If any of them don’t make the “click” then it will need to be consumed first and kept in the fridge. You won’t mind. J
This is a very sweet jam that is especially delicious on pancakes or scooped over vanilla ice cream (as mentioned above…)
Thanksgiving Harvest in a Jar
Don’t knock it until you try it! As you’re packing up your Thanksgiving leftovers after the big feast, layer a few jars with your various delicious dishes. I like to start and end with mashed potatoes. Yams, corn and/or peas, turkey mixed with generous amounts of gravy, stuffing, etc. all make yummy layers. It’s almost like a mini casserole in a jar. You will love this idea when you get home from Black Friday and need a little energy before your nap or to pass out before the big game. Pop off the lid, warm each jar in the microwave and enjoy your leftover individual portions. Happy Harvest!