Are you lost under a mountain of figs, pears and other late summer produce? Looking for ideas to use up the tart, sweet fruits of the inevitable citrus boom? These cookbook authors and food bloggers have your back. Whether they’re preserving the last summer fruit or using the bounty of autumn produce, these foodies are fanatic jam makers. Here, they share their favourite jam and marmalade recipes – and provide invaluable tips for the home canner while they’re at it.
So, what are you waiting for? Bring on the weekend jam sessions!
Dulce De Higos
Sarah Owens – James Beard award-winning cookbook author and owner of Ritual Fine Foods
“From my book Toast & Jam, the recipe for these figs poached in syrup is based on that of an Ecuadorian family I have come to know, whose grandmother passed along some advice: Ecuadorians often soak their figs in water with baking soda before and after boiling them – a laborious process meant to eliminate the milky sap from the fruit before cooking them in syrup, ensuring that they are soft rather than tough and rubbery. I soak the figs once overnight in this recipe and find them to be of a pleasing texture. Sweet, dark-skinned cultivars such as Brown Turkey, Italian Black or Papa John are best suited for this recipe, but the sweeter green-skinned selections such as Green Ischia will yield pleasing results.”
Get the recipe for Dulce de Higos.
[Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo]
Helene – Blogger and world traveller behind Masala Herb
“Banana jam is a sweet little secret treat. You never knew this was a thing? Well, you have been missing out! I discovered this jam on our travels to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Local friends would make the jam from scratch with fresh bananas – in fact, they have countless banana varieties to choose from.
“The jam is super simple to prepare from scratch. You need to cut the bananas into slices and cook them with an appropriate amount of sugar. The jam is then cooked down further until setting point, which can take about 30-50 minutes. The recipe includes all the details on how to recognise when the jam is set, with useful tips and tricks to check without a thermometer. You can even enhance your banana jam with some real Caribbean rum. Just imagine a slice of bread in the morning with tropical banana jam flavours. It’s paradise on earth, don’t you agree?
Get the recipe for Banana Jam.
[Photo: Masala Herb]
Strawberry Cucumber Freezer Jam
“Most people know me as the creator and maker of Marshall’s Haute Sauce – a line of craft hot sauces that I make in Portland, Oregon – and so they expect just about anything that comes out of my kitchen to have at least a little kick, even jam. And it’s true, I love to surprise people with both unexpected heat and flavour combinations.
“I originally developed this easy strawberry cucumber freezer jam recipe for the kids’ preserving classes I teach at our local library. It’s super simple, so it’s a great way to get familiar with the basics of putting up seasonal fruit for the winter, and also get kids to eat their vegetables. Strawberries and cucumbers may sound like an odd combination, but they actually complement each other beautifully. Thai peppers add a subtle, contrasting heat and make the jam just a little more interesting. Making freezer jam is a fun family activity involving measuring, stirring and lots of berry smashing, and it’s a wonderful way to familiarise yourself with the delicious world of preserving.”
Get the recipe for Strawberry Cucumber Freezer Jam.
Peach and Habanero Pepper Jam
Helen and Billie – Founders of miakouppa.com
“Living in Canada, we experience the four seasons in extreme ways. From the crisp autumn air to frigid, snowy winters and the wet, rainy days of spring, we appreciate them all. Summer, however, is our favourite time of year, and we try to hold on to it as much as we can, even when it’s over. A great way to do that is with fresh produce that we either freeze, dehydrate or preserve so that the taste of summer stays with us even during the coldest, darkest days of winter.
“This jam, which celebrates gorgeous Ontario peaches, is like spreading sunshine on your bread. Paired with the fiery heat of habanero peppers, the delicate sweetness of the peaches is balanced with just enough kick to make this jam something special.
“Habaneros are very hot peppers, and a little goes a long way. The amount of habanero peppers called for in this recipe will give you a jam that is undeniably hot, but certainly not intolerable. If you would prefer a milder jam, however, it’s as easy as using fewer habanero peppers. Either way, it’s delicious spread on toasted baguette or crackers and topped with some fine cheese, like a brie or a camembert. Such an amazing appetiser! You can also enjoy our peach and habanero pepper jam served alongside a savoury dish of roasted pork loin or grilled chicken breasts.”
Get the recipe for Peach and Habanero Pepper Jam.
Orange Cinnamon Marmalade
Beeta Hashempour – Founder of Mon Petit Four®, providing French recipes and French lifestyle tips
“While sticky, sweet marmalade has always been a favourite jam of mine, I spent years trying to make it at home with less than successful results. The marmalade always tasted too bitter, even though every recipe I had tried called for more sugar than I had ever used in any homemade confection.
“After discovering a special trick from Chef Jacques Pépin for treating the orange rind, I was able to create a homemade marmalade recipe that would make even Paddington Bear himself giddy! The best part is that this marmalade recipe doesn’t require your entire stock of sugar, nor does it contain any trace of bitterness.
“My tip for those who are new to jam-making is to use the frozen plate method when testing your jam for readiness: Simply pop a plate into the freezer while you cook your jam, then when you’re ready to test it, add a drop of jam onto the frozen plate. Tip the plate sideways, and if the jam stops dripping halfway through its tracks, then your jam is ready. If the jam continues all the way down to the other side of the plate, then you need to keep cooking your jam for another few minutes before retesting.”
Get the recipe for foolproof Orange Cinnamon Marmalade.
[Photo: Beeta Hashempour]
Quince Jam with Port
Rowena Dumlao-Giardina – Founder of Apron and Sneakers, and the food stylist, photographer and co-author of US-published book The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from around the Globe
“Quince is a fruit that I only learned about last decade when our supposed apple tree that we bought (tagged apple) and planted in our garden started bearing strange-looking fruit. It comes from the same family of apples and pears, has a golden-yellow skin and very hard pulp. Strangely, it’s a fruit that’s only edible when cooked – and that’s when the beauty of this delicious fruit comes out. While cooking, it emits a very nice, delicate perfume, turns pinkish and softens.
“When dealing with jam-making at home, I only have a short time frame to deal with the cooking because I use only freshly picked mature fruits from our garden. The key is to use only sterilised jars and lids in an equally sterile working environment, and to determine the shelf life you want in order to understand how much sugar to add. The ratio of 1:1 sugar to pulp is the most recommended amount to avoid the settling of bacteria, enabling you to keep the jam longer, or lessen the sugar to just 1/4 like I do for a not-overly sweet jam but with a shorter shelf life.”
Get the recipe for Quince Jam with Port.
[Photo: Rowena Dumlao-Giardina]
Bam Bam Pomegranate Jam
Debra Clark – Food blogger behind Bowl Me Over
“This exquisite jam is sweet and tart with just a tiny bit of heat. It’s the perfect topping for an English muffin, but it’s pure heaven in a PB&J sandwich. Homemade artisan jellies and jams make wonderful holiday gifts, too. I use this jam to flavour salad dressings, glaze pork tenderloin, and so much more! You’ll find easy step-by-step instructions that will have you making jam in no time!”
Get the recipe for Bam Bam Pomegranate Jam.
[Photo: Debra Clark]
Azlin Bloor – Culinary instructor and food blogger behind LinsFood
“Simplicity itself, this pineapple jam is used for filling our much-loved Pineapple Tart (or Kuih Tart, as it’s known locally), the personification of the festive cookie in Singapore and Malaysia. I have so many fond memories of making this as a little girl in my granny’s kitchen in Singapore. We used to do it on the old-fashioned grater, so it would take ages to get it done, unlike today’s food processors!
“This jam is so easy to do, and can be used in so many different ways, but to me, it was made to be used with pastry. All you need are fresh pineapples, sugar and cloves for a hint of spice. If stored in a sterilised jar, the jam will last for up to a week in the fridge. However, give it a water bath, and it will keep for 6 months, and makes the perfect foodie gift.”
Get the recipe for Pineapple Jam.
[Photo: Azlin Bloor]
Tangerine and Rosemary Jam
“When I think of jams, I automatically think of grandmothers. I think of those homemade sweets, the thick-bottomed pot, the semi-burned wooden spoon caused by years of experience and adventures in the kitchen. I think of those fruit sweets harvested by trees and plants, delicately served in glass jars with caps made of fabric scraps.
“I have memories of my grandmother’s fig jam and my mother’s grape jelly. This is why, as a humble tribute to the most important women in my life, I came up with a tangerine and rosemary jam. The process is very simple and includes easy-to-follow steps, and the result is a homemade, preservative-free jam with the unique flavour of rosemary. In my recipe, I also teach readers how to know when a jam is ready and offer tips on preservation methods, in order to achieve a consistent product over time.”
Get the recipe for Tangerine and Rosemary Jam.
Decadent Vanilla and Rosemary Orange Jam
Nina – Cofounder of Two Sisters Living Life
“Jams are like the famous cherry on top: They can elevate simple desserts, breakfasts or sometimes savoury dishes to something extraordinary. They are so versatile in their use.
“I love combining fruits with herbs, like in this decadent orange and rosemary jam. The fresh rosemary adds such a beautiful and complex flavour. I make at least 40 jars of that flavour every year, because everybody in our family and friends circle is always so happy when I leave them a couple of jars when visiting.
“The advice I give people when cooking jam is: Make sure to use jam jars with screw lids, and boil them in water for 10 minutes before filling them with jam (into the cooled glasses). The boiling makes sure that no germs turn the jam bad.”
Get the recipe for Vanilla and Rosemary Orange Jam.
[Photo: Two Sisters Living Life]
Small-Batch Mixed Berry Jam
Helen Best-Shaw – Food writer and photographer at Fuss Free Flavours
“I love preserving and will make a batch of jam, jelly or chutney most weeks. It’s a rewarding, relaxing and fun hobby, and one that your friends will certainly appreciate, as you will certainly make more than you can eat and need to give some away.
“We only make small batches – 3 or 4 jars at the most – as it’s quicker, you can make them in a regular saucepan, there is more scope to play with flavours, and the more preserves you make, the better you will become at it. No one needs 20 jars of the same type of jam!
“The hardest part of the process is getting a good set; with experience, it’s easy to judge when a jam will set from its appearance when boiling, but I recommend that a novice or first-time preserver invest in a digital probe thermometer, which will tell you exactly when you are at setting point (they are supremely useful for all sorts of other kitchen jobs).
“This easy recipe for mixed berry jam will make three small jars, and uses a bag of frozen mixed berries along with sugar and lemon, and will be ready in about half an hour!”
Get the recipe for Frozen Mixed Berry Jam.
[Photo: Helen Best-Shaw]
Jenny Gomes – Blogger behind The Domestic Wildflower
“More savoury than sweet, this tomato jam is herbal and rich in flavour. It’s amazing when paired with meat, goat cheese, pasta and salty snacks. Any fresh tomato will do for this recipe, and the addition of the other ingredients will make your tomato flavours sing! Romas, a paste tomato, are a popular choice, but any ripe tomato will do.”
Get the step-by-step tutorial for making Tomato Jam.
Orange and Ginger Marmalade
Andrea Garzón – Chef and food photographer behind A Kitchen Obsession
“If there’s something I love to eat but sometimes underestimate, it’s jams. I eat them almost every day, but I usually never make them myself, which is why I am very excited to share this recipe. It’s made with orange and ginger, and it’s amazing because it has the sweetness and bitterness of the orange, but also the zing of the ginger that makes it vibrant and interesting.
“I’ve looked everywhere for a ginger jam because it goes deliciously well with paté, but I’ve never found one that I really like, and there aren’t a lot of options at the supermarket – so it’s great to know that this recipe is so easy and delicious. From now on, I’ll always have one ready.
“I made fried brie cheese and put the jam on top with a little rosemary, and I can’t believe how delicious it was. Wow, it’s my new favourite jam!”
Get the recipe for Orange and Ginger Marmalade.
[Photo: Andrea Garzón]
Alex – Food blogger behind It’s Not Complicated Recipes
“This recipe has been in our family for several generations. It is, in fact, a recipe that was handed down by my great-great-grandmother in her handwritten recipe book!
“The recipe is different to many others, in respect to the quantity of sugar and water – they’re higher than the average recipe, but the soaking of the fruit in water allows the maximum flavour to be infused into the marmalade. We soak the fruit overnight, and then boil the following day. This helps to yield a larger quantity of this delicious preserve.
“This Grapefruit Marmalade is made with beautiful, in-season produce, and will bring you joy all year round. If you enjoy the zesty and tangy flavours of citrus fruit, you will love this marmalade. It makes a fantastic gift for loved ones, and can be used in so many preparations, both sweet and savoury.”
Get the recipe for Grapefruit Marmalade.
[Photo: It’s not Complicated Recipes]
“I love making boozy jams; mixing fruit and liquor is a naturally delicious combination. Even though most of the alcohol cooks off in the jamming/canning process, the subtle flavours still linger and mingle with the fresh fruit for a unique and surprising flavour combination. Some of my favourite recent combinations have been fig and rosé wine, peach and bourbon, and strawberry and tequila (with agave and a little lime, it’s just like a strawberry margarita). These boozy jams are amazing served on a fancy cheese board, as a meat marinade/glaze, or (my favourite use) slathered between melty layers of a grilled cheese.”
[Photo: Lindsay Landis]
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