I came from a family that valued family time above all else. My dad was a dairy farmer and it made for long days that left little time for family. Sundays were honored and saved for family because dad was able to carve out more time for family.
Because of the value of family, we don’t put a lot of emphasis gifts. Even more specifically gifts that were bought. It’s not that we don’t exchange them, we do. I have one sister who is campaigning to forgo all gifts next year, generally we are supporting the effort. Although, we all agreed, homemade is okay and we have worked harder to give each other homemade gifts.
As the year goes, I try to look for things to give family and friends. At the end of last year, an idea dawned on me that I gleamed from none other than National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Probably because it’s on practically every night. It’s a one year subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.
Jacobs 2019 Jelly of the Month Club
January: Champagne Blush Jelly
Ring in the New Year with a new way of having Champagne!
Our one and only jelly without something from our garden or local.
Recommended: Consider adding this light jelly over cream cheese with a bit of crackers for a quick snack.
February: “Love Apple” Jelly
Celebrate February with love beyond Valentine’s Day with a little “Love Apple” or also known as, Tomato Jelly!
Recommended: Having hash browns at breakfast? Don’t add ketchup, consider replacing it with a little “Love Apple”.
March: Mint Jelly
Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of mint around St. Patrick’s Day?
The mint was grown in our garden.
Recommended: Add to lamb chops or medallions, by far best addition ever.
Lemon Rosemary Jelly
April: Lemon Rosemary Jelly
With the start of spring, add a little spring tastes to your food!
The rosemary was grown in our garden.
Recommended: A glaze for roasted chicken for a pop of spring.
May: Zesty Onion Jelly
Kick off BBQ Season with the best kept condiment.
The red onions were grown in our garden.
Recommended: Having a BBQ or pulled pork? Add it to the top of your pulled pork sandwich instead of your onions. Your taste buds will be left dancing.
June: Watermelon Jelly
What says summer more than watermelon? It’s a staple throughout the summer months.
The watermelons were grown in our garden.
Recommended: Include a watermelon and peanut butter sandwich to your next summer picnic.
July: Blueberry Jelly
Celebrate the fourth of July with a little red, white and blueberry!
Recommended: Every Independence Day picnic needs cookies. Why not bring blueberry jelly thumbprint cookies?
August: Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
The dog days of summer always seem hotter in August. Be sure to add your own heat with this jelly.
The basil, red onion and red chili peppers were grown in our garden.
Recommended: Toss grilled or fried chicken wings in this jelly.
September: Peach Jelly
Summer is over and the harvest is coming in, bring on the peaches!
The peaches were picked at Hillside Orchard in Portersville, PA.
Recommended: Add onto the top of vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone.
October: Apply-Peel Jelly
Enjoy the taste of fall with a bit of apple, cinnamon and spice!
Recommended: Add a little jelly and cinnamon to a toasted croissant or English muffin for a easy morning pastry.
Beet Jelly with Gorgonzola Cheese on a burger
November: Beet Jelly
You can “beet” enjoying the last bit of harvest with this root vegetable.
Recommended: Grill a burger one last time, add a bit of jelly on top with a strong cheese like goat cheese. The contrast will make your taste buds dance!
December: Jalapeno Cranberry
Celebrate Christmas with a little green and red in a sweet-heat way.
The jalapenos were grown in our garden.
Recommended: What better than placing this over brie and warming it in the oven for a holiday appetizer? Don’t forget the toasted bread or crackers for dipping.
We gave baskets with (12) jellies to family, friends, customers (of my husband’s) and coworkers. We explained that we were giving them a token from a years’ worth of hard work. The jellies each contain something from our property or a local provider, less one of them. We listed what that item was, or the local provider was. Each of the members of our family have provided some form of help in at least one of these jellies.
While you may be thinking, we don’t eat this much jelly! Rest assured, we thought of that. As you can see above, we provided a complete listing of the jellies, along with our best recommended recipe or use.
This was not an easy gift. We planned all year for this. And it was hard for us to determine how many we wanted to give. We ended up with a total quantity less than what we initially wanted. In some cases, entire batches required a start over, due to varying conditions. I had one jelly that I followed the recipe to the word, and the jelly would not set. It was thrown out.
There were times I questioned if I should continue. However, everyone realized the amount of time and effort that went into this gift. I was so proud of this gift. It stood out, and it said that we thought of you throughout the year. Because of that, we went beyond the normal.
We are already planning this again for next year. Which means I have another year of planning and prepping. We want to keep everyone’s favorite jellies, and exchange for some new ones. I’m looking forward to better planning on my end for this upcoming year and trying to find new favorites.