Pump up the jams
August 6, 2011 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Canning mefites, lend me your wisdom! The fruit in my neighbourhood grocery store is delectable and cheap, and this year I want to experiment with slightly more interesting jams and jellies than I usually make. So far I am considering strawberry-basil, peach-ginger, cherry-vanilla, and plum-cardamom jams, but that has about exhausted my creativity and I am eager for new inspiration! What are your most delicious unusual preserves?
posted by bewilderbeast to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Habanero and dried apricots. Strawberry/basil pesto.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:43 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Kiwi jam. Use the same proportions of fruit:sugar. The color is alarming (nuclear green), but it is delicious. It will darken (but some lemon juice will help that).
posted by plinth at 5:44 PM on August 6, 2011

Your tolerance for risk may be higher than mine, but I'd encourage you to have a look at the well-tested recipes contained in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and, in particular, at its lengthy chapter on soft spreads.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Rhubarb and Blueberry Jam is yummy. In the midwest both are u-pick right now. This is the recipe I use.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 5:46 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Ooops, posted before adding these good-looking suggestions contained in Ball: Blueberry Lime Jam; Mango-Raspberry; Sweet Cherry-Loganberry; Kiwi-Daiquiri; Orange-Plum; Rhubarb-Orange.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:47 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Oh and if you're making plum jam, plum with ginger is pretty awesome.
Peach goes well with cinnamon and clove, or just about any stone fruit and a lesser proportion of blackberries is fantastic win (like 8:1, peach/apricot/plum/nectarine:blackberry)
posted by plinth at 5:49 PM on August 6, 2011

blood orange cardamom is my most favourite jam right now.
posted by elizardbits at 5:55 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Cherry-rhubarb is my current favourite. Maybe not terribly unusual. But delicious, just the same.
posted by Badmichelle at 6:01 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: I do a lot of putting up of whole fruit, so I make lots of jams and jellies that mostly use waste products.

- peach pit jelly (a jelly made from the juice obtained by boiling/steeping peach skins and pits) is electric pink, with a deep, pure peach flavor. It would be fab with cardamom.

- pear conserve with vanilla (mostly juice obtained from boiling pear skins and cores; a few whole pears added for body) is lovely.

- sweet tomato jam (mostly cooked-down skins and pulp) with citrus and cinnamon is unexpected and freaking awesome, either as a sweet spread or savory (with, say, goat cheese on a cracker, or in a grilled cheese sandwich).

- herb jellies are very nice, delicate and floral. Experiment with basil, mint, sage, etc.
posted by peachfuzz at 6:06 PM on August 6, 2011 [10 favorites]

Best answer: A jam-obsessed friend of mine makes raspberry rhubarb and mango jalapeno. Both are delicious, the latter especially so with goat cheese.
posted by clavicle at 6:12 PM on August 6, 2011

Meyer lemon, orange, rosemary and black pepper.
posted by trip and a half at 6:49 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: I've made peach-poblano jam for the last few years, and everyone goes wild for it.

Blackberry-sage jam is pretty wonderful, too, assuming that you like sage.

I've not made it myself, but was once given a very delicious jar of strawberry balsamic jam.

Peachfuzz, I would be very grateful indeed for your peach pit jelly recipe--that sounds delicious, and I was planning to put up some gingered peaches in the not-distant future.
posted by MeghanC at 7:21 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Take a look through Punk Domestics. Tons of inspiration at least.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 7:33 PM on August 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Outstanding ideas so far! Thank you, everyone! I am pretty well taken care of on the citrus front thanks to a week of frenzied marmalade-making at the end of the winter, and the berries and peaches here are like a dollar per million, so I am especially pumped up about those ideas. Internet, you are cordially invited to my house for tea and toast with preserves in a couple of weeks.

The Violet Cypher: this is a goldmine of ideas, holy hell.
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:39 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: Strawberry balsamic black pepper
Sour cherry sage
Sour cherry almond
Quince vanilla cinnamon
posted by novalis_dt at 7:53 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: This peach oolong jelly is great. I made it with nectarines and just plain Lipton and it turned out very nice - had some problems with it gelling completely but it's still great stirred into yogurt and seltzer water.
posted by rossination at 7:59 PM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've made a whole lot of recipes out of the Ball book, and one standout is Pear Ginger Lime Marmalade. Looks like someone posted it online (scroll down). Very unusual and a huge hit as gifts.

Also wonderful if you're tired of eating sweet peach things is this peach chutney recipe. There are lots of recipes for plum chutney, too, though the peach wins hands down for me.

Have fun!
posted by queensb at 7:59 PM on August 6, 2011

Glad to be of service. I made a apricot chutney from the Ball blue book last year and it was dynamite. Might be worth a try with peaches.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 8:05 PM on August 6, 2011

Best answer: In the big ball yellow book of home preserving:

--Rhubarb-orange jam is very good
--Gingered zucchini marmalade is excellent
--quick raspberry jam is easy and good

Do you know about the national center for home food preservation? You can search for tested recipes, typically from extension services.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:53 PM on August 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The blog Food in Jars (here is the recipe index) might have some ideas.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:06 AM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: If you're not opposed to adding alcohol, I made Strawberry Margarita Jam and it was awesome.
posted by scrute at 8:37 AM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: The Violet Cypher's excellent site, above, just posted Herb Up Your Jams.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:45 AM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: I just rescued some nasty mealy peaches (smelled and looked so very good - sawdust inside BOO) by cooking them into some sort of jammmish stuff seasoned with a bit of lemon juice and garam masala. Wow, good.
posted by Corvid at 11:40 AM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: There are some unusual and intriguing flavor combinations in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Mes-Confitures-Jellies-Christine-Ferber/dp/0870136291
posted by Lycaste at 11:51 AM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: Might want to check out the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. I have been buying her jams at farmers markets in the bay area for a while and there are some really great combinations - ie. Strawberry Masala with Rosemary.
posted by bradbane at 1:04 PM on August 7, 2011

Grapefruit-rose-vanilla marmalade
posted by emeiji at 5:04 PM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: I was just thinking about tomato jelly - transparent one - like tomato consomme, only with pectin. I bet it would be awesome in sandwiches in the middle of the winter.
posted by leigh1 at 5:21 PM on August 7, 2011

Best answer: MeghanC: Here's my copy/pasted recipe for peach pit jelly:
    Bring peach pits and skins to a boil with enough water to cover. Simmer for half an hour or forty five minutes - long enough for all the color to come out of the peach skins. Turn into a colander lined with unbleached muslin and walk away - don’t press on the skins or pulp. For every three cups of peach juice extracted, measure three cups of sugar and one box of pectin. Bring the pectin and juice to a full rolling boil, stirring all the while. Stir in the sugar, bring back to a full boil, and cook for a solid minute, still stirring. The mass triples in volume at this stage; it’s better to start out with a much-too-large pot than to deal with boiled-over sugar syrup. Take off the heat. Skim foam quickly. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath (ten minutes for half-pint jars at a mile above sea level).
And here's a picture. The color is fantastic.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:18 AM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Peachfuzz, many days later, you are my *favorite*. Thank you so much! I'm going to make that tomorrow--I'm making quite a lot of peach-poblano jam, and this will be a wonderful use for the trimmings.
posted by MeghanC at 1:50 AM on August 14, 2011

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