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Jam made from fresh seasonal ingredients is an amazing treat. This quick pan jam makes preserves easy to whip together without Monica Geller taking over the whole kitchen with cases of fruit, jars, pots, and sticky, sugary mess. The spices can be changed up according to what you are jamming and sugar can be adjusted to taste. So, start your day with a big spoonful of special preserves on your yogurt or toast, slather your lunchtime BLT with tomato jam, and end the day with an amazing cheese platter adorned with your unique condiments.
These jams were inspired by my own home habits to make a little jam with seasonal things here and there to preserve and keep on hand and quickly grew to over 10.
Here are the basics:
Yield 1½ cup (varied per jam type)
¼ - ½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 cups fruit, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ - ½ tsp spice (adjusted per blend)
pinch of salt
In a small heavy bottom sauté pan, cook the sugar and water to an amber caramel.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to boil.
Boil for 20 minutes or until the fruit is cooked and the jam is sticky and shiny. You can lower the heat to medium or low if needed to avoid scorching.
Remove from heat and store.
Resist the urge to stir the caramel or the fruit just after adding to the caramel pan. The sticky mix will harden on your spoon instead of staying in the jam. Once the fruit has boiled a little and combined with the caramel, it will be good to stir with a heat resistant spatula, scraping the sides of the pan as needed.
The recipe can be multiplied to make a larger batch, or to pack as gifts! I would still recommend cooking it in a shallow sauté pan type pan as the hot caramel and quick shallow cooking contribute to the color, flavor, and texture of the jam.
If you are not sure how much spice to put, cook the jam as instructed and when the jam cools to room temperate, stir in your spice of choice to taste. Keep in mind that flavors taste more muted when cold and spices can bloom as they hydrate in the jam.
Variations and Ideas
Feel free to change up the acid in the jam. Some fruits are best with lemon but lime works well with blueberry. Butternut squash would go great with cider vinegar and may need a little water towards the end to help the squash cook through.
The jam can be served warm on top of desserts and ice cream, served next to delicious cheeses, and as a cranberry side for turkey. Kiwi Chios is sweet, tangy, and minty for lovers of mint jelly and lamb chops.
Here is a quick reference chart:
Enjoy the gallery of possibilities
Fig Dessert Rose
Tomato Pepper Pierre Poivre
Honecrisp Apple Sri Lanka
Green Grape Massalis