Raisin jam? Really? Yes, really! Imagine, just imagine …………… an amazingly delicious, totally unique condiment …………….. sweet, savory, spicy, sticky and seriously …………… SENSATIONAL! Perfect for a fabulous appetizer on the run, a delightful finishing sauce on top of grilled chicken, pork and fish, a flavorful sandwich spread, a yummy compound butter and …………….
…………… a myriad of other wonderful culinary inspirations.
And guess what? Not only can it be made ahead, Sweet & Spicy California Raisin Jam w/ Orange & Ginger is super simple to make; just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer away. Twenty minutes later, you’re done …………… that’s it! Stored in the fridge, it keeps for weeks; IF it lasts that long. I have a feeling that once you take the first little taste, you’ll be hooked, as well as your family and friends. Don’t be surprised if your treasure begins to disappear faster than you can say, “California Raisins”!
I love to serve this for a quick and easy appetizer; I warm some of it on the stovetop or in the microwave and pour it onto a pretty serving plate. A log of creamy goat cheese can be placed atop and a shower of chopped cilantro and finely zested orange peel is the beautiful crowning touch. I serve it with crisp crackers or crostini and it’s a sure crowd-pleaser. Cream cheese is a wonderful alternative to goat cheese and the jam is also phenomenal dolloped over melting Brie.
The inspiration for this recipe came from a parcel that was delivered to my door last week from California. The box had two huge bags of plump California Raisins (golden and natural) and an assortment of fun kitchen utensils from OXO*. It was sent out as a culinary challenge from Eat Write Retreat, a food blogger’s conference my husband/photographer Scott and I will be attending in Philadelphia at the end of May. The challenge was to create and post an original appetizer recipe using “the secret ingredient”, which for me, turned out to be these delightful raisins.
I love raisins and their natural sweetness, so creating a recipe with them as the star was a fun and intriguing challenge. These little guys are fat and cholesterol free, loaded with antioxidants, and are a great source of dietary fiber and iron, which makes me feel good about adding them to our diet.
My imagination was whirring as I contemplated my task. I enjoy making jams and jellies, and after much thought, decided to use my stash of raisins to make a sweet and savory jam with a bit of an Asian twist. I used both varieties of raisins along with honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, finely chopped shallots, fresh ginger and oranges. A splash of Sriracha and a dash of coriander were the finishing touches for a bit of heat and zip.
I know you’re going to flip over this yummy treat. Make a batch today and you’ll be all set for any guests that come your way. Oh, and you might want to make an extra copy of the recipe …………. I like to keep you prepared ………….
*P.S. I had fun trying out my new Fine, Medium and Coarse Graters from OXO that were included in my gift box. I loved how they make zesting an orange so simple and quick with the different size graters giving totally different results. After trying them all, I decided on the medium grater which was perfect for my orange zest garnish.
Sweet & Spicy California Raisin Jam w/ Orange & Ginger
1 ¼ cups golden California Raisins
¾ cup natural California Raisins
fine zest of 1 orange
2 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1. Place all ingredients except orange zest in a medium, heavy bottom pot. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes, or until just beginning to get syrupy. Mixture will thicken as it cools, so don’t cook too long.
2. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest. Ladle into clean, dry jars. Cover and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
3. Will keep in refrigerator for 4-5 weeks. Can be kept up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw before using.
Suggestions for use:
~ Warm ½ to 1 cup jam on stovetop or in microwave. Pour onto a pretty serving plate. Spread slightly with the back of a spoon. Place a log of goat cheese on top of the jam. Sprinkle liberally with chopped fresh cilantro and finely zested orange peel. Serve with crackers or crostini.
~ Drizzle warm jam on top of grilled poultry, pork or fish.
~ Combine 2 tablespoons Sweet & Spicy California Raisin Jam w/ Orange & Ginger with 8 ounces of softened butter in a food processor. Transfer to serving bowl for a delicious compound butter. Serve with warm rolls or bread.
~ Use as a sweet and spicy sandwich spread with sliced cheese and deli meats.