Friday, November 14, 2014

Curly Girl Wedding: Homemade Jam for Guest Favors

For this week's post in my Curly Girl Wedding series, I'm sharing my recipes for all the homemade jam I made for the guest favors.  There were so many to choose from... nine flavors to be exact!  There was plum rhubarb with a hint of cloves, roasted peach jalapeno with lavender honey, strawberry rhubarb, red wine chocolate cherry, apricot peach with ginger and nutmeg, sweet cherry, roasted balsamic strawberry jalapeno, red wine seedless raspberry, and cranberry orange.  Oh, my!

If you remember, we drove to Paonia, Colorado for my birthday in July, our third trip to Paonia and always a favorite getaway that's just a few hours away from home.  After a relaxing three days of tasting wine, driving through the countryside, fruit shopping in Palisade and staying at the guest house at the Stone Cottage Cellars vineyard and winery, we reluctantly returned home, the car full of wine for the wedding, and boxes of peaches, apricots, cherries and plums for jam.

The fruit was so perfect, having ripened in the hot Colorado sun and picked when sweetest and juiciest, that I didn't have any time to waste in preparing the fruit.  So I spent a long evening blanching, peeling and pitting all the stone fruits, then weighing them and storing them in the freezer until the weekend, when I would make all the jam.

It took me almost two full days to make and can all that jam, and let me tell you, it was exhausting work.  Preparing the fruit, measuring out all the sugar and spices and labeling everything so I didn't mix up the recipes, sweating over boiling pots of jam, lifting jars out of boiling water while trying not to burn myself, cleaning up sticky messes...  By the end, I was so proud of what I had accomplished, but so, so tired.

The next weekend was the more enjoyable process of making all those little 4-ounce jars look pretty.  To start, I cut circle after circle of fabric, and measured out lengths of twine.  I had found the cutest little rubber stamp that read, "Uniquely Handmade: Limited Edition", which I stamped onto each fabric circle.

I typed the labels, printed them onto white card stock, and glued them onto bits of colored card stock I had saved from various other projects.  I loved that each label was just a little different.

And finally, the jars were finished.  I had only needed 85 jars for the wedding guests, but ended up with 150 decorated jars, so I took the extras to work and sold them for $5 each - they were sold out in a week, and I was thrilled to earn back most of what we had spent on the fruit and supplies.

About a month before the wedding, as we were thinking about details like tables and seating arrangements, I decided I wanted to assign the guest seats, rather than just assign guests to tables and have them sit anywhere, as it was a much better way to keep friends and family together at the tables.  I was perusing one of my favorite websites for party and baking supplies, Shop Sweet Lulu, and saw their adorable plain wooden demitasse spoons.  I thought they would be perfect with the jam, and serve double duty as a place setting.

The shop had so many lovely patterned spoons as well, but the plain ones were the most affordable.  To turn the spoons into place settings, I typed all the guests' names up in typewriter font and printed them onto brown card stock, and Jamie helped me glue the tiny strips of paper onto the spoons.  So simple, but so pretty.

The jam favors were quite the hot commodity at the wedding as people begged and bartered for their favorite flavor.  I even heard rumors of stolen jam, but you can't believe everything you hear...

This photo by Kathleen Rose Photography

This photo by Kathleen Rose Photography

A few tips for making and canning jam...

Homemade Jam Recipes
Note: I only have recipes for 7 out of 9 of the flavors I made.  Sadly, I seem to have lost the recipes I wrote for the Red Wine Seedless Raspberry Jam and the Red Wine Chocolate Cherry Jam.  If I find them later, I will add them to this post.

Apricot Peach Preserves with Ginger and Nutmeg

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Sweet Cherry Preserves

Plum Rhubarb Preserves with a hint of Cloves

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

Cranberry Orange Preserves

Roasted Peach Jalapeno Jam with Lavender Honey


  1. I think everything you made and did..was extra special.
    These are so cute.
    I love seeing your wedding series.

    1. Thank you so much. It's fun to experience the day again myself as I write this series. :)

  2. The beauty about this place is that it's not just a unique space in itself, but it's a full-service catering space as well, and the food at Banquet Halls is incredible.


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