Holiday Gift Guide Ideas from Sunchowder’s Emporia

December 7, 2011

With the holidays approaching, and the flurries of gift guides that are appearing, I wanted to put together a little gift guide of my own featuring some of my most popular products! Lots of love and care go into each jar and my preserves and chutneys are made the old-fashioned way, slow-cooked in French Copper Pots. I don’t use commerical pectin, corn syrup, colors or preservatives and I strive to feature local Florida fruit in many of my products. Driscoll’s berries are used in all of my products whenever my berries cannot be sourced locally.

I am so proud to share with you that my Apple Butter was featured this year in the Food Network Holiday Gift Guide!

My most popular crate sold for the holidays features a reusable hand-crafted wooden crate that is built by a fabulous company in Maine called The Neizenscot Guild. They provide employment to people with developmental disablities, traumatic brain injuries, autisim and mental illness and I feel really great about being able to feature their work. This gift comes in three flavor combinations, Exotic, Spicy and Artisan and also comes in two sizes, both my four ounce sampler size and eight ounce traditional jar.

Trio Gift Crate

The spicy jams are fabulous served over cream cheese with crackers and wine or used as glazes for Chicken, Fish, Pork or Beef. The Raspberry Pepper Jam in particular is wonderful when used as a glaze for salmon and I have many customers and fellow bloggers that have used this jam as a filling for cookies! The Artisan Trio features my Strawberry, Spiced Pear Butter and my Raspberry Chocolate–I use Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate and finish that one with Chambord, it is really wonderful to spread onto puff pastry or use as a sauce for poached pears. My Strawberry Jam is macerated overnight using the french methods I learned from Christine Ferber. The Exotic Trio features local Tangerine Ginger Rum Jam (using Tangerines from a friends grove in Apopka that do not spray their trees), Zucchini Ginger Jam and Pineapple Tangerine Jam. The Zucchini Ginger Jam makes a fabulous quick bread which I will feature on the blog and is amazing when used with sour cream as a vegetable dip. To order a gift crate trio: Sunchowder’s Emporia

Gift Box

The second most popular gift is the simple gift box which is a lunch-boxed size cardboard box that features either two 4 oz jars or 8 oz jars. These make wonderful hostess gifts, teachers gifts, something for your hairdresser, I could go on and on! I can customize this box or it comes standard with Strawberry and Spiced Pear Butter. My Pear Butter features Boiled Cider Syrup and hand-ground nutmeg, cinnamon and clove with a citrus finish. To order one of these gift boxes: Sunchowders Emporia Gift Box

For that special someone, I also have a gift basket option. The baskets change with availablity and my plates change with availability, but the presentation is awesome! I can also customize this to fit your needs. Even better, you can think about getting gift tower boxes for those people that are simply too special for a normal gift basket!

Gift Basket


To order a gorgeous jam lover’s basket: Sunchowders Emporia Gift Basket

My single jars are wonderful stocking stuffers for the foodies in your life! The small jars have handwritten labels along with some of my seasonal flavors. The other jars have my standard labels which I designed for my retail stores. They each come topped with craft papers and either a rose bow or plain bow depending on the color combination.

Strawberry Jam

Don’t you just want to swim around in the jar?


Artisan Trio

This is a photo of the atrisan trio in the sampler sizes which comes bubble-wrapped as three individual jars. All of the trios can be ordered this way if you would like to use them as stocking stuffers.

Raspberry Pepper Jam

A gorgeous close up of an eight ounce jar. This photo credit needs to go out to: Brian Minnich Photography He believed in me and saw my vision for the company, fabulous to work with and located in Winter Park, FL.

I would love you to come and shop with me for the holidays or anytime! Stop by, post comments, I would really enjoy hearing your thoughts and getting your feedback on my products. You can join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to catch up on the daily and local musings. If you are local, you can find me at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and downtown Orlando at the Lake Eola Farmer’s Market on Sundays. My products are also featured at the Home Grown Co-Op in Downtown Orlando where I am involved with Slow Food and partnering with local farmers. You can sample all of my products at the farm booth and see what lovely jams, chutneys and pickles I have on display for the taking!


Sand Pear Chutney

September 14, 2010

I was so excited to find out that my friend Kristi’s Grandfather has two huge Sand Pear Trees in his yard in Lake Mary which is the next little town over from Longwood.  This is the only variety that grows in Central Florida and is similar to an Asian Pear, but has a lovely grain to it and is bursting with pear flavor. She has brought me about 50 pounds of them so far, and I developed this recipe to make a delightful chutney that pairs beautifully with cheese, pork, fish or chicken. This recipe was inspired by one that I found in one of my favorite books called Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard. The prep time on this is about 45 minutes and the cooking time is about 60 to 75  minutes.
6 lbs Peeled and Chopped Pears (1/4 inch cubes)
2 lbs Chopped Tomatoes (I used Plum, grape would be nice too)
2 lbs Chopped Peaches
1 cup Thompson Raisins
2 lbs Brown Sugar
5  cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Chili Flakes
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
2 oz Crystallized Ginger Chopped Fine
I have a 13 qt  Le Creuset Dutch Oven that I use for this recipe.  The mixture cooks down quite a bit, but if you use a smaller pot, you will have splatters everywhere.   Chutney is so simple in that you can bung all the ingredients in the pot at one time, give it a few huge stirs and set the fire going.  Bring this up to a boil and then turn the heat down a bit for a hard simmer.  Let this cook down until nice and thick.  This should take anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes depending on how hard you let this boil.  Stir at least every 10 minutes to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.   You will be left with a gorgeous, sweet chutney that takes so much of its color from the tomatoes.  The yield on this is about fourteen 8 oz jars.  Plenty for your winter larder!