My friend and I had tried a fruity jam with jalapenos at a local vineyard and this is the version I created. At work there was a taste test comparing my different versions of the jam, and this one was voted a favorite. I like this fruity spread on crackers with cream cheese, on hamburgers or even grilled cheese. For extra heat, add the seeds of a few jalapenos to the jam.
With a hint of apple and cinnamon, this jelly spreads cheer from breads to bagels to muffins. Its rosy pink color looks lovely blushing through the food jars I save and decorate with fabric-covered lids. —Betsy Porter, Bismarck, North Dakota
This tangy sweet spread is "jam-packed" with lots of cherry flavor, plus a hint of rhubarb. My mother gives jars of it to friends during rhubarb season—it's so delicious on toast and muffins. —Faye Sampson, Radcliffe, Iowa
I have a passion for cooking, and it's probably my grandmother I can thank for it. She was a marvelous cook who could really stretch a food dollar.
All the same, I've had my share of trial and error over the years. Shortly after we were married, my husband and I were invited to a family picnic. I made the prettiest potato salad you'd ever hope to seen. There was only one problem with that dish I was so proud of—I hadn't cooked the potatoes!
Watching my grandmother can hundreds of jars of tomatoes, peaches and pears inspired me to first try making jams and jellies myself. I can remember, as a girl, going down into her cellar—all those jars on the shelves gave me such a warm homey feeling! This jam is one my family enjoys on warm homemade corn or blueberry muffins. The cinnamon's a bit of a surprise. —Barbara Burns, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
While my jam won a first-place pink ribbon at our local county fair, that may not be the highest compliment it's received. Two girlfriends that I share it with tell me if they don't hide the jam from their husbands and children, they'll devour an entire jarful at just a sitting! —Patricia Larsen, Leslieville, Alberta
My mother-in-law and I dreamed up this jam after we'd been picking blueberries one day. She wondered if blueberries, raspberries and strawberries would taste good together. So she made a test batch—and we quickly learned that they definitely did! Then I came up with my own version of the jam. I preserve everything from our garden! —Karen Maerkle, Baltic, Connecticut
Years ago, my in-laws had three pear trees on their acreage and gave us all the fruit that we wanted to pick. So I canned plenty of pears. Then a neighbor passed along this favorite recipe. I've given many jars of this jam as gifts. Day to day, we enjoy it on toast with ham and eggs or on hot rolls with a meat. —Karen Bockelman, Portland, Oregon