J is for Jars #AtoZChallenge

Canning jars decorated with fabric and jute. Mango rum chutney, pickled green tomato slices, green relishThese jars were Christmas presents for a few friends. I found the idea to decorate them online and was happy with the way they turned out.

Decorating and wrapping gifts are not my strong suits. I’m good at cooking, baking, and in this case, canning, but that final step before gifting usually gets overlooked.

This time I was happy to decorate. It was fun. I learned that the name of that kind of scraggly looking string is jute. (I would have guessed raffia.)

Ingredients for mango rum chutney in the pot
This delicious chutney is a treat to make.

The recipe for the ┬áHot Mango-Rum Chutney came from Better Homes and Gardens. It’s not actually hot, but the people I gave it to would consider it spicy so I labeled it to give them warning. The recipe can be made with papaya or mango.

The recipes for the Green Tomato Relish and Dilled Green Tomatoes don’t seem to be online, but if you have an older version of the Ball Blue Book, you’ll see them there. I did blog about making them in a post about relish a while back.


Mother’s Day Rum Cake

rum cake bundt pan
Rum cake for Mama!

I made a rum cake for Mother’s Day. I have made this recipe before, the first time for Christmas two years ago. It immediately became a family favorite.

rum cake bundt pan
This cake has an almond meal crust. I usually do pecan. Both are delicious.

The recipe, Carribean Rum Cake from King Arthur Flour, is a bit intimidating to people like me, who don’t often bake cakes from scratch. Not intimidating because it’s hard, it’s actually very easy, but because of the amounts of the ingredients. A stick of butter. A cup of sugar. Add another of each of those for the soaking syrup. Four eggs in the cake batter. A cup of rum overall. You just have to go for it and remind yourself that this is for a special occasion.

Heritage Bundt pan by Nordicware
Heritage Bundt pan by Nordicware

This was the first recipe I tried when I bought this Bundt pan (also from King Arthur Flour). I had never owned a Bundt pan before, and I loved this style. The brand is Nordicware, made in Minnesota!, and they have many beautiful styles of Bundts.

rum cake
The cake rises quite high while baking, but will sink down below the edge on the pan as it cools.

Part of what makes this cake so deliciously moist is the soaking syrup. Butter, sugar, rum and water are heated and poured on top of the cake after it comes out of the oven. The cake sits overnight as the syrup soaks in. This is a heavy cake.

rum cake bundt pan
The cake really will soak up all this syrup.

For all you moms out there, this slice is for you! I hope you had a great Mother’s Day.