Hope. Health. Joy.

A fitting sentiment. For this time of year. Or any time. But what makes this especially nice is that it is also the name of a newly launched company dedicated to giving back. This is the story of a woman diagnosed in 2010 with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, fighting to beat it back into remission, and starting anew.

Hope. Health. Joy. is the brain child of Julia Butera. After many years of traveling the world for her job in the fashion industry, she realized that all the money and prestige of working for a highly-recognizable brand were not anywhere near as important as being with her son. So after missing his fourth birthday due to a business trip, she called it quits. She bought a book on making jams, began experimenting with flavors, and gave samples to her friends and family, who encouraged her to sell them. And because of the hope and love she experienced at Hackensack University Medical Center while going through cancer treatment, she decided to focus her new business on helping others.

So now, on to the jams! Julia is constantly experimenting with new flavors, but always has at least five on tap. The flavors change with the seasons to complement what is fresh in the local produce, and they contain no preservatives. The jams I received as samples to write this article were just delicious. My favorite, I think, is the Cinnamon Pear – a delicate cinnamon taste added to ripe pears. I enjoyed it so much straight out of the jar that I immediately had to bake something to use it on! Now those of you who are regular readers and friends, know that I am not a fan of boxed baked goods. However, I happened to order a few months ago, a Cranberry Orange Brioche mix from the good folks at King Arthur Flour. And I thought that would be a perfect platform for the Cinnamon Pear jam (how right I was!). The plump cranberries, orange essence, and yeasty dough complemented Julia’s jam to a T.

The other flavors I was lucky enough to receive were Bordeaux Wine Jelly, Wild Fox Grape Jelly, Raspberry Brandy Preserves (hmmm, over vanilla ice cream was divine), and Red Raspberry Jam. Julia mentioned that the Red Raspberry is great slathered on a Thomas’ Cornbread Muffin (definitely on my shopping list).

Julia can create gift baskets for someone special on your list (think Valentine’s Day…), or how about as delightful and unique favors for an upcoming event?

Keeping her mission in mind, 75% of the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So you can know that you are helping others while enjoying these luscious jams. And at this time of year, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Hope. Health. Joy.

Terry Krongold is a life-long passionate baker. In addition to a full-time job in the pharmaceutical industry, Terry has been involved with food for many years, including co-ownership of a dessert catering company in the late eighties called I Love Cheesecake, specializing in fine cheesecake and unique desserts. Terry is the author of The Cook’s Tour, a blog focused on food, baking, and travel. When not working, writing, or baking, she spends time planning vacations around restaurants to visit. She can be reached at terry@cookstour.net.