Envision plums, cherries, jam These delightful treats can dance in your kitchen for the holidays

Posted: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Strawberry, nectarine, mango and plum are some of the jams you'll find neatly tucked inside Jim Clayton's Rose Hill Plantation kitchen cupboard. Clayton, who has been making jam for 20 years, has some pear and cranberry-pear jam ,too, made from the plethora of pears given to him by Yemassee, S.C. gentleman farmer, James Denmark and his wife, Ethel.

Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
Pictured in his Rose Hill Plantation kitchen, "jam master" Jim Clayton (in blue shirt, upper left), offers some jam making pointers to good friend, Don Hurst. The men, who are members of Bluffton's Church of the Cross, will team to gift new members of the church with a jar of homemade jam. Jams, as well as other homemade treats, like scone mixes, coffee creamers and liqueurs, make perfect holiday gifts that are a pleasure to give and a joy to receive.

Clayton's enthusiasm for making jam is contagious, and once you catch it, impossible to cure. Clayton's friend, Don Hurst, of Bluffton who likes to call Clayton "jam master," has not only embraced the craft Clayton taught him, but has begun to create jam blends of his own, like cranberry-orange marmalade. And, for Clayton, the joys of making jam with a friend he calls "brother," a deeply rewarding experience.

Fast friends since meeting at Bluffton's Church of the Cross four years ago, Clayton and Hurst express gratitude to spouses, Rose Money and Karen Hurst, for sharing the family kitchen, where, says Hurst, "good things happen and where people are returning to the "basics."

With the blessing of Church of the Cross rector, The Rev. Chuck Owens, those good things encompass the pursuit of a jam-making project that will allow the men to gift new church members with a jar of their homemade jam.

The homemade gifts we receive during the holidays from family and friends are filled with the same generous spirit. Should you be lucky enough to receive a homemade gift this season, look at it closely and savor its sweetness. Your gift has been made with care and given in love, and no gift will taste better than this.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

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