We’ve been harvesting a lot of carrots this week…And even though I really can go through all of them fresh without any problems (carrot soup with coconut and ginger), I made a few jars of things to stash away for later, the most important of which is this carrot cake jam.It’s kind of a ridiculous recipe; I made it last year on a whim just because I had a ton of carrots and kind of didn’t think much about it at the time, but it’s one of my little brother’s favorite flavors that I make. He’s crazy about it, so I made more this year.
The original recipe is one of these charming, vaguely retro recipes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It’s got a great color and a surprisingly delicious flavor that does taste vaguely reminiscent of carrot cake. With six cups of sugar, canned pineapple and powdered pectin all on the ingredient list, though, it was due for a bit of updating. I tried two different ways, one with low-sugar pectin and the other with no pectin in at all (for a looser, less jello-y set on the finished jam). After tasting them both, I actually really prefer the one with low sugar pectin. The set is much firmer than I’d ordinarily like, but the longer cook time on the no-pectin version made the whole thing basically just taste like pineapple. (Which is okay, but if that were the plan, I’d rather just make a jam from pineapple without a bunch of other junk in it.)
I almost never buy fruit from the grocery store, but you have to compromise your morals every once in awhile. Please note the plastic tag attached to the pineapple, a telltale sign of incredibly high quality produce. *ahem*
If you have a bounty of carrots, you should absolutely give this one a try…. It’s great on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, as an ice cream topping, and as a super unique filling for pb&js.
CARROT CAKE JAM:
Cook Time: an hour or so, if you including washing and grating carrots
Makes: 5 half pint jars
- 1 1/2 c. grated carrots
- 1 3/4 c. diced fresh pears
- 2 c. diced fresh pineapple
- 1 tbs. lemon juice
- 1 c. water
- 1/2 c. sugar + 2 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 box of sure-gel low sugar pectin
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.
Combine the carrots, pears, pineapple, lemon juice, water and spices in a large, nonreactive pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 min. on low to soften everything up. In a separate bowl, stir together 1/2 c. sugar and the box of low-sugar pectin. Stir the pectin mixture into the carrot mixture and bring to a full boil. Quickly stir in the 2 1/2 c. sugar and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute, stirring to prevent the carrots from sticking, then remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Ladle hot jam into hot, clean jars using 1/4″ headspace. Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.