I love winter. I love the warmth brought on by thick chunky sweaters, roaring fireplaces, warm mulled wine, and intimate conversation in the corner of a dark bar.
These simple things are also reflective of the holiday season. It’s the small impromptu gathering of old friends you have not seen in a few years and taking the time to make grandma great’s fudge because she loves it so. Winter and the holiday season bring about a comfort that soothes my soul. Fortunately for me, it is a happy, joyous time.
It used to be a stressful time for me. Somehow, I got it in my head that gifts should be handmade. So I would try to make elaborate gifts for my family. They were rarely completed and often never as great in real life as I had planned in my head. Many of you know what I’m talking about here.
This was my dilemma until I began giving edible gifts like strawberry jam I had made from the berries I picked in June or homemade tomato sauce from my homegrown tomatoes. What I find enjoyable about giving these gifts, is reflecting on the time I spent making them throughout the year. As those cold Ohio winters seep in, I recall those sunny days in the field. I was already stocking my pantry and now when the holiday season arrives I simply attach some greenery, a label and gifts my gifts are complete.
These days, I also look forward to making other festive treats such as apple cider caramels, or mixing up different spice concoctions like a marjoram, rosemary, and oregano rub for a roasted turkey, a special mustard made with local Platform Brewery beer or even grandma great’s fudge.
This year I will be making jars of my apple bacon jam. It’s the perfect winter warmer slathered on thick cut bread with melted cheddar cheese. Here is my recipe for apple bacon jam. Make it and enjoy gifting away.
Apple Bacon Jam
1 pound bacon
4-5 medium apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Cook bacon. Add apples, onions, and garlic; cook until apples are soft. Then use an emersion blender to blend mixture. Add Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Cook for 1½-2 hours or until reduced to dark brown color. If the jam begins to stick, add water and continue to reduce mixture.
Once complete, place in jar. Will last in refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Want to celebrate Solstice with Kelli Hanley Potts? She’s throwing a Solstice Dinner that promises to be a perfectly memorable evening. Reserve your seat today.