Niagara-on-the-Lake “Jam Queen” Kim McQuhae has done it again.
The proprietor of Gryphon Ridge Highlands brought home an armload of awards at the 100th anniversary Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
She entered the preserves competition as usual and won one first place award, two seconds and six thirds.
The winning entries were: first – Strawberry Honeyberry (Haskap) Jam; second – Kickin’ Kahlua Jelly and Redcurrant White Balsamic Chili Jelly; and third – Sour Cherry Blueberry Jam, Seedless Raspberry Jam, Pure Blueberry Jam, Mango Chardonnay Jelly, Maple Ginger Blueberry Jam and Blackberry Raspberry Rhubarb Jam.
More importantly, McQuhae said, she was chosen as one of the contributors for a Royal gift basket, “the first of its kind to celebrate the 100th anniversary.”
Her 2021 award-winning Heritage Jam-Calico Peach Pineapple Conserve is included in the basket.
It won in the Heritage Award category, sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Canada.
Recipes for that category must be from prior to 1967 and McQuhae’s came from her step-grandmother Pat Buterbaugh, who died in the 1990s.
“She had gifted the recipes to her daughter Dona Masters after her wedding in 1956. Dona in turn gifted them to me a few years before her death in 2020 after hearing that I liked making jams and jellies,” McQuhae said.
“I didn’t really go through them until the pandemic and entered Plum Nutty, which won champion in 2020.”
When she heard about being chosen for the gift basket, she only had a month to produce 200 jars by Nov. 1.
“Due to supply chain issues I couldn’t get my regular jars so had to drive to Toronto to get smaller ones and start jamming to get them done as well as my regular competition entries,” she said.
“A wee bit of stress there.”
McQuhae said she is “thrilled” that her Kickin’ Kahlua took second place.
“It’s espresso and Kahlua – great on hot buttered toast, on ice cream and excellent mixed with cream cheese as a fruit dip.”
She said she entered it in the Royal competition about 10 years ago since it was one of her best sellers at the NOTL Farmers Market.
“It was totally panned by the judges, one of whom commented that it wasn’t ‘agricultural enough’ even though the category it was entered in was Spirited Jelly (any jelly made with alcohol).”
Not so this year. It’s a winner.