My spicy jam is a recipe from my Russian grandmother, who had no written recipes and who gave few jars of the jam as gifts. I recreated the recipe from memory and think of her each time I prepare it. If you want to increase the yield, it's easy to double the recipe. I like to serve the jam on buttered toast or with cream cheese on toasted pita. The jars, which are dark red from the beets, make a welcome and unusual gift.—Susan Asanovic, Wilton, Connecticut
- 2-1/2 pounds fresh beets (about 10 small)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400°. Peel beets and cut into wedges. Place in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan; drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast 50-60 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, rinse two 1-cup plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Cut a thin slice from the top and bottom of the lemon; stand lemon upright on a cutting board. With a knife, cut off peel and outer membrane from lemon. Cut in half. Thinly slice half of lemon and remove seeds (save remaining half for another use). Place cinnamon and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.
- Place beets in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large saucepan. Add sugars, maple syrup, ginger, salt, sliced lemon and spice bag; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until thickened. Remove from heat; discard spice bag. Cool slightly.
- Fill containers to within 1/2 in. of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 12 months. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator before serving. Yield: 2 half-pints.
Originally published as Roasted Beet Jam in Country Woman August/September 2014
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