By Engrid Winslow
If you are questioning whether making your own jams and preserves is worth the effort the answer would be absolutely “YES!!!!!” If you’ve never made your own jam before check out the tutorials and instructions on these two websites:
Here are some ways that you can boost the flavors of your jams to heights that are extraordinary:
- Use the highest quality fruit at the peak of their ripeness. To do this plan to visit a pick-your-own farm (visit http://www.pickyourown.org/ for a list of farms in your area), frequenting the Farmer’s Market and buying locally whenever possible. Most farms and Farmer’s Markets have organic fruit available.
- Use a low sugar recipe which really makes the fruit flavor front and center instead of a sugar bomb. Check out recipes at https://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes-low-nosugar/ and use either Pomona’s Pectin or SURE-JELL’s Low Sugar Pectin (http://www.pomonapectin.com/ and http://www.kraftrecipes.com/sure-jell/recipes/less-no-sugar.aspx
- Mix more than one fruit together! Peaches and raspberries make a great couple not to mention the classic old-fashioned strawberry & rhubarb. Try other mixtures too and be surprised by the flavor profiles you can create.
- Add a surprise element. Consider adding herbs or spices to your jams like strawberry with basil, apricot with rosemary, lavender and peach, pear with vanilla bean, cherry and jalapeno, pear butter with ginger, or even lemon zest and juice to your blueberries, strawberries or blackberries to make Blueberry Lemonade, etc. Or make limeade with lime zest and juice
- Speaking of additions, some recipes call for lemon juice and some don’t but you will find that adding lemon juice and a bit of salt really brighten and intensify the flavors.
- Check out some amazing books for even more great ideas.
So now you are all set and can get creative and make delicious preserves and jams to give to family, neighbors and friends. Homemade jam and a package of scone mix is also a great hostess gift. Share your ideas and creations with us here.