4 Amazing Jam Recipes

| Comments
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneBuffer this page

This summer I decided that it was time to mash up fresh summer berries and finally learn to can my own delicious jams!


I had always told myself that canning would be really hard work. I would get burnt with sticky syrups and it would take days to clean the sugar off of my floors (I’m really messy when I cook).  And what happened if I didn’t seal the cans correctly? What if my jam downright tasted like dirt?


Lies, I tell you. All lies!

I was inspired to take the plunge after purchasing the book The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila. I had been reading wonderful reviews about this book for quite a while, and when I was walking around Powell’s looking at a few gardening books, there it was. One flip thru the first few pages and I knew it was coming home with me.

The canning instructions in this book are thorough and make the whole process much less scary. I started off using Alana’s strawberry jam recipe, and tweaked it a tiny bit by adding a little vanilla to the berries. She does a really nice job of explaining the entire process in a very friendly way, and after re-reading the canning section about five times, I told myself to go for it.


I waiting for something terrible to happen as I watched the jars in the stock pot. Surely one was going to burst and I would be covered in lava hot jam at any moment (yet my face was still hovering over the jars- reeeeally smart). I was nervous during my whole first batch, but as soon as I started to hear the jars *ping* and let me know they were sealed, I was elated! I held a celebratory kitchen dance party right there and then.

Since then I’ve gone on to make another 6 batches of jam. The strawberries that I used were all purchased at the farmer’s market, but the other fruit was…eh… stolen?

Let me explain. A house a few doors down from us is abandoned and about to be demolished. It has a good-sized garden in the open yard near an alley that has been ignored for at least as long as we’ve lived here. Last year I watched all of the raspberries and rhubarb go bad because no one was interested in them, and I couldn’t do that again. When we heard that the house was going to be dozed, and the garden would go with it, we hopped down there with a few large bowls, a wheelbarrow and a shovel.

The amount of huge, red, perfect red raspberries Rob picked was incredible. I had to make two batches of jam, because every few days he’d head down there and come back with another bowlful. We told a few other neighbors to go pick berries, but no one was very interested. Have you ever eaten golden raspberries? I’d never had them before, and they were so ripe they were falling apart as you tried to pull them off of the bushes. I saved a few of them to make a single batch of golden-only raspberry jam, and I love it.

The rhubarb was growing like crazy. I had never seen such large plants, and I pulled out a large armful of stalks. Rob dug up half of a plant and it’s now planted in our backyard. After making a big rhubarb crumble (I maybe should have made another rhubarb custard meringue pie), I had a ton leftover, so I of course made more jam.


Jam recipes I used:

1.)  Strawberry Rhubarb Jam – This is AMAZING. It’s probably my favorite one so far, and everyone who’s tried it loves it as well.

2.) Strawberry Jam (added a hint of vanilla)- Recipe found in the the book The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila

3.) Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam– So easy and soooo good. Mixing the two kinds of raspberries really kicked it up a notch.

4.) Rhubarb Orange Lemon Marmalade– I changed this by adding in some chopped candied ginger. I read a lot of other rhubarb jam recipes that had ginger listed as an ingredient, with a lot of positive reviews. It’s the only jam I haven’t tried on toast yet, but the small amount I had on a spoon was delicious. The only thing I’d maybe change (besides adding the ginger) is to probably not add in as much liquid pectin. I know marmalade is more jelled than other jams, but I think this may need to be practically chopped up before you can eat it. The verdict is still out!

Jam-jarsDo you have any favorite canning recipes or good preserving books to recommend? I’ve got the itch to make blueberry compote, peach chutney and pickles!

  • Amber Clark

    OK, no real recipe since I just winged it, but last year I made a killer cranberry rhubarb compote. Super easy, only three ingredients (plus a little water). You could probably can it, but I opted to freeze mine.

    Cut up rhubarb into chunks (size doesn’t matter particularly since it cooks down) and throw it in a heavy pot with a bunch of frozen or fresh cranberries (I’m guessing 1/2 and 1/2 or 2/3 rhubarb to 1/3 cranberries?). Put in a little water and maybe 1/2 c sugar to get it started and cover. Cook on medium low until everything gets soft and starts to cook together. Add more water if needed and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. If it gets really soupy, remove the lid and let it blow off some steam. Once it starts to get thick, you’ll want to turn it down and add sugar to taste (my daughter adores this really tart). Basically, you want to cook it down to a nice, consistent thick texture and then you’re done. Don’t use a masher, it’s all about letting the steam and stirring do the work.

    Have fun!

    • That sounds AWESOME! I’m going to have go steal some more rhubarb! Thanks, Amber!

  • Amber Clark

    Also, this (http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/09/homemade-dill-pickles.html) makes the most amazing pickles. We get the gherkin size ones from The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie or I slice larger ones with my mandolin. I skip the pickling spice and instead add (per quart) an extra 1t dill seed, 1-2 t mustard seed, 1-2t celery seed, and about 5 cloves of garlic. Sooo delish and crunchy too. The method that she uses really keeps them crunchier than any other recipe that I’ve ever tried. Few things are worse in my opinion than mushy pickles…

  • Amber Clark

    dang it! now I look like I stalker, but that last link didn’t work. http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/09/homemade-dill-pickles.html

  • Kathy-Anne

    I make freezer jam and just use the recipe in the Certo Light box. It works every time and is a little taste of summer in the middle of winter. It’s great on ice cream. I just made 19 jars of strawberry freezer jam on Tuesday.

    • I made a batch of freezer jam last year, but it never set very well. Granted, it was really good (I agree, a taste of summer in the winter is wonderful), but I wanted something that wouldn’t take up space in my teeny tiny freezer. I’m wondering how a bit of blueberry freezer jam may work though, since half of it ends up as an ice cream topping around here anyways!

  • Oooo! These sound really good. I agree, mushy pickles are disgusting. I like the idea of skipping the pickling spice. I can’t wait to make them- thank you again, recipe queen! 😉

  • Haha- you do not! I appreciate the link.

  • KA

    I can attest to the deliciousness of the strawberry rhubarb jam gifted to me! More please 🙂

    • Thanks! 🙂 Maybe I’ll bring you a new kind to try. Marmalade?

      • KA


  • Ellen

    You should go dig up some of the raspberry stalks too. Red and golden before they are gone.

    • We dug up one golden raspberry, but I’d love to go get a few more. There’s a huge red raspberry bush by the front porch of the house, but for some reason that feels off-limits. I know it’s just going to be dozed, but it feels weird to be messing in the bushes of the front yard of the house in broad daylight. I should probably get over that and dig it up before it’s too late!

  • sandyja

    Hi Amy, I just discovered your wonderful blog! You are looking for good pickle recipes? This one is just like the pickles you get in Jewish delis. These are addictive!

    Fresh Refrigerator Pickles

    Pickling cucumbers or Persian cucumbers, the smallest you can find
    Kosher salt
    Garlic cloves
    Fresh dill weed if you have it, or dried
    Dill seeds
    Mustard seeds

    Put a about tablespoon or two of salt in the container. Dissolve salt in about a cup of water. Add the rest of the ingredients. These are ready after two days. If they are not salty enough, add more salt.

    I like to slice the cucumbers and put them in a flat container. These keep well in the refrigerator for two or three weeks.

    • Thank you so much, Sandy! After reading your recipe, I had to go raid the fridge for a pickle! These sound really, really good. They are definitely on my list to make once I can find some good pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market. Thanks again!

      • sandyja

        Hi Amy,
        You’re welcome! It’s the least I can do after learning so much about making a pattern from you 🙂
        Please let me know how they come out.

        • I will! I hope you’ll let me know how the pattern turns out too (as soon as I post the rest of that series, that is). The back pattern instructions will be up soon! 🙂