16 Jam Recipes to Preserve Fresh Fruit Flavors

Variety of homemade jams and preserves


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Variety of homemade jams and preserves


We once took for granted the sweet confection we spread across toast in our morning meals, and for most of us, knowledge of jams and jellies didn't go beyond what was at the local grocery store. Then last year, when the coronavirus stuck us at home for months on end and brought shortages of some foods at grocery stores, many people rediscovered the pleasures of home cooking and canning. Jams and jellies are easy to make, as well as a good way to hold on to flavors from one season into the next.

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The Basics: What You'll Need

The Basics: What You'll Need

If you don't want to make a pantry full of preserves, you won't need too much — just some glass mason jars 12 for $9 at Target). The recipes here are for several jars of preserves, but can be reduced to make just one jar. While some recipes call for sterilizing jars, most can be made without this process — simply store the jam in the fridge for several months. And if you prefer chunkier jams, don't process the fruit quite so long in the Cuisinart or chop it too fine. 

Related: Thinking About Home Canning? Here’s Everything You Need to Get Started

To Pectin or Not to Pectin

To Pectin or Not to Pectin

Pectin helps fruit set, giving preserves that gel-like quality, and it occurs naturally in fruits — but not all fruits have the same amount or quality. Apples have a lot; strawberries, not so much. How much you cook a fruit can also alter the pectin content. We've put together some recipes with and without supplementary pectin.

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Lemon Marmalade (Pectin Free)

Lemon Marmalade

(Pectin Free)

Luscious lemons, sugar, and water are all you need to make this delicious marmalade. This recipe can be spiced up by adding a bit of vanilla, rosemary, cardamom, or cinnamon during the first stage of cooking. Just remember to remove any whole spices before adding the sugar.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Plum Jam (Pectin Free)

Plum Jam

(Pectin Free)

With their high sugar content, plums are a perfect fruit for jam. Tip: You can make the jam thicker by boiling five or six times instead of three, but the boil-and-cool method already can take a bit of time.

Recipe: Natasha's Kitchen

Related: 12 Foods You Don't Have to Refrigerate

Peach & Lavender Jam

Peach and Lavender Jam

You may think of lavender as fragrance for soaps, but it is an excellent complement to the sweet taste of peaches, and there's something innately light about the combination. If you don't want little bits of lavender in your jam, create a "lavender tea": Boil to reduce the liquid and simply add the lavender essence to your cooking.

Recipe: Craving Something Healthy

Related: 20 Cheap, Delicious Peach Recipes

Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam (Pectin Free)
Kiwi-Pineapple Jam

Kiwi-Pineapple Jam

This recipe calls for just kiwi, pineapple, sugar, and pectin. We found that increasing the pineapple by one-third cup brings a denser jam — but if you're using canned pineapple, best to get it unsweetened and use it drained.

Recipe: Food.com

Wild Blueberry Jam (Pectin Free)
Dejan Kolar/istockphoto

Wild Blueberry Jam

(Pectin Free)

There's more to blueberries than you'd guess from this mind-blowingly easy recipe of just blueberries, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and sugar (and only a half-cup of sugar, at that): They are nature's only naturally blue food, high in antioxidants, and safe for pets.

Recipe: Real Simple

Banana Jam (Pectin Free)

Banana Jam

(Pectin Free)

This caramelized banana jam is as great on biscuits, toast, and scones as it is on ice cream and desserts. There's no pectin, but there is a secret ingredient: lime juice. The limes add just the right amount of pectin and the citrus brings pH levels down, which prevents bacteria — so don't skip this step and this delicious confection will hold up to a month in your fridge.

Recipe: The Café Sucre Farine

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Whisky And Ginger Marmalade (Pectin Free)

Whisky and Ginger Marmalade

(Pectin Free)

Traditionally a Scottish treat found with oatcakes and scones, but a winner on everything from pancakes to crackers and a strong, heady cheese. The recipe uses oranges and lemons and takes a bit of time, as the ginger root takes time to soften. As for the whisky, feel free to use your favorite brand or experiment with different ones.

Recipe: Larder Love

French Apple Jam

French Apple Jam

This jam calls for cardamom pods — a versatile Indian spice with a strong, pungent aroma. It's often used in combination with cinnamon when baking sweets and in Scandinavian apple pie, and gives this apple jam a hint of exoticism. Apples have a lot of pectin naturally, so if you want to skip the pectin here you can.

Recipe: The View From Great Island

Related: 25 Creative Ways to Enjoy Apples This Season

Raspberry And Chocolate Jam (Pectin Free)

Raspberry and Chocolate Jam

(Pectin Free)

There's something insanely delectable about this flavor combination, and neither of the ingredients compete for the palate, but rather complement each other perfectly. This jam also pairs well with a goat cheese, brie, or smoked gouda for a late night snack.

Recipe: Love & Olive Oil

Salted Honey Cantaloupe Jam

Salted Honey Cantaloupe Jam

If you haven't tried cantaloupe jam, you're missing out. While this recipe calls for one cup of water, the trick to getting this at just the right consistency is to mash the fruit like a potato and use slightly less water. Add natural vanilla bean during the cooking to enhance the flavor.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Beer Jam

Beer Jam

Yes, jam made from "beer." You can make it with just about anything, so why not? You'll need pectin, vinegar, and a high-quality stout, resulting in a jam that is excellent with summer sausage, pumpernickel bread, and a sharp cheddar cheese. The recipe provides the fruitier flavors of hops without a bitter aftertaste.

Recipe: Men's Journal

Related: How to Pair 12 Beers With Food

Rose Petal Jelly

Rose Petal Jelly

This is a delicately scented, floral jelly. Cooking with rose petals is common in India and the Middle East — here, rose petals that are edible and safe for cooking can be bought online from Spices Inc. or Amazon, while rose water should be found at a local grocery store. Liquid pectin is needed for this recipe.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Spicy Cherry Chutney (Pectin Free)

Spicy Cherry Chutney

(Pectin Free)

This slightly sweet and semi-tart flavor gives meat — such as a grilled buffalo or turkey burger — just the kick it needs. If the habanero or jalapeño peppers are too hot for you to handle, leave 'em out. Look for this chutney to thicken after 45 minutes of cooking.

Recipe: Jessica Levinson

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