Wedding favors are a tricky business. At the same time that you, the bride and groom, are trying for something original and memorable, you also don’t want a sizable portion of your wedding budget to be spent on little trinkets that your guests may or may not accidentally leave behind in their hotel rooms. Which is to say that we’re looking for something small and inexpensive, but that packs an original and expressive punch.
Moreover, the best wedding favors will not only reflect your wedding’s theme, but, in turn, your personality as a couple as well. I don’t know about you, my dearest DIY-Foodie-Bride, but the first thing that popped into my mind upon considering all of these requisite characteristics was seasonally appropriate homemade jams!
Here are the pros of giving out seasonally appropriate homemade jams as wedding favors:
Since we’re in the height of winter wedding season, I decided to make use of the piles and piles of beautiful citrus fruits currently available at the grocery store and make orange-cranberry marmalade. The recipe is incredibly simple, but does take a tiny bit of planning.
After bringing the ingredients to an initial boil, you must let them sit overnight, before boiling them again for two hours. After that, however, you simply jar the marmalade and store it. I’ve added cranberries because they’re wintery and look lovely in the jar; orange marmalade straight-up would of course be delicious, too. Bonus if you use some kind of marmalade glaze in your DIY banquet, and then alert your guests to the fact that they’re taking home a featured ingredient.
Makes about six favor-sized jars; can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled…
- 4 navel oranges
- 2 lemons
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 8 cups granulated sugar
- 8 cups water
- candy thermometer
- large stainless-steel pot
- 6 small glass jars
- labels and ribbons, to suit your taste
Step 1: First, slice the citrus fruits into very thin half-moons by first slicing them lengthwise, and then across. If you are making very large batches of marmalade at a time, invest in a mandoline slicer, which will make this (the most involved) step go extremely quickly. Place the slices in a large stainless steel pot along with the cranberries, and cover the fruit with the water. Bring to a boil.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat, and add the sugar; stir until completely dissolved. Let the pot stand, covered and at room temperature, overnight. The next morning, submerge the jars in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil to disinfect. Remove from the heat after about five minutes or so, and allow to cool.
Step 3: Bring the fruit mixture to a boil again, and cook until a candy thermometer inserted in the liquid reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the marmalade into the clean, hot jars, and seal. Allow the jars to come to room temperature before refrigerating.
Step 4: Decorate the jars with ribbons and labels listing ingredients.