My silly thoughts about jam.
Don't you hate it when you open a new jar of jam, and the jam is neither great nor terrible. The jam is just OK. If it was terrible, you would throw it away or return it to the store. If it was great, you would enjoy it and it would disappear quickly.
The just OK jam sits in the fridge for months. While the potentially great jams wait unopened in the pantry.
Right now I have two just OK jams in my fridge: Crofters Four Fruit Conserve and Mediterranean Organic Peach Apricot Preserves. The Mediterranean Organic is too sweet -- the sugar overpowering the fruit flavor. The Crofters tastes fruity, but it has that baby-food flavor that sometimes occurs when you blend several fruits.
In my pantry waits a jar of homemade peach jam, purchased at the farmers market. Oh when will the just OK jam be emptied?
I go to Whole Foods and there are a zillion jams. Most of them are expensive. How do I know which ones are great?
I feel your pain, and am stuck in the same morass. I'd love to hear hounds' recommendations for great jams.
As for the too-sweet mediocre stuff--I've found that a great use is mixed in to plain yogurt. The sweetness is cut by and complements the tart yogurt. Yogurt, jam, flax seeds, and walnuts is my new standard breakfast, and I love it.
I would be happy to recommend some of the jams I like, but first I would like to know what do you like? Do you have a brand that you really like as a gauge?
And what flavors appeal to you?
It is great that we can test taste the jam at Farmer's Markets!
And guess what, you can also taste the jam at Whole Food.
Just tell them you've never had it before, and are tired of buying jams you don't like.
They will be happy to sample it for you.
Several uses for that jam:
I used it to concoct a homemade BBQ sauce
Mix with cream cheese to frost cupcakes
Use it in baked BBQ beans
I personally don't care for this, but I know alot of folks rave over them at parties:
Cocktail weenies, smoked sausage & meatballs in BBQ Sauce made with jam or jelly or just the jelly as a sauce. Google some recipes.
Also, my mama used to spread jam between cake layers while still hot.
My favorite jams and jellies right now are from Berkshire Berries - I buy them at the Union Square farmer's market in Manhattan, but they have a website as well - http://www.berkshireberries.com/ . I'm positively addicted to their Berry Golden Raspberry jam.
The cheaper jams that I tend to get are the Hero brand (Swiss) and the French brand, the name of which is escaping me, I think it has a checkered top?
Bonne Maman. I like all of their varieties that I've tried (which is not all of them), and the jars are nice for re-use. Crofters I find wildly unpredictable, have quit trying.
Not the same topic, but my pet peeve with jams is the tall narrow jars so many brands are using, that you can't get to the bottom of without an iced-tea spoon.
Agreed re: Crofters! Some have been good, some not - but can't remember which was which, so just stopped buying that brand.
Great ideas on how to use up the mediocre jams. My frugal side often won't allow me to throw out foodstuff until they have become candidates for biology experiments.
i try to get rid of such jam so that i may move on to better jam.
for instance, i once hid some terrible grape jam in a blueberry pie. noone knew the difference. the apricot one i would think may be nice made into a danish with cream cheese. and the jam cake solution is also tasty.
You can also use up mediocre jam in swedish meatballs and meatloaf glaze. My typical meatloaf glaze is pepper jelly and ketchup and perhaps a little horseradish, but really, anything works. And there's that swedish meatball recipe that uses a jar of grape jelly, but again, anything but mint works there, too.